If you remember from two weeks ago, and assuming that you care, my girlfriend “D-Town Dana” left me earlier this month, citing irreconcilable differences based on the fact that I have neither ambition nor future prospects, and because a senior audit informed me that I wouldn”t be graduating until, even by the most generous of estimates, winter 2004.

Paul Wong

Yes, it hurt I”m not made of stone. I pleaded with her to consider keeping me, sending her a bunch of pathetic e-mails that were all a variation of “I can think of worse fates than having a college boyfriend for another three years. Most high school girls would kill for that.” D-Town remained unmoved, citing her status as a “gold-digger,” and invariably, in her infrequent reply e-mails, repeating her mantra: “If you want to make it better, you gots to bring the cheddar.” “Cheddar,” of course, being urban youth slang for money. As I soon found out, the five-year earning potential for 21-year-old men who are slated to spend the next three years (at least) in school, still dependent on their parents and who have no idea what they”re going to do if and when they do graduate, is witheringly low.

But instead of crying about it, I decided to get proactive, and that”s when things started coming up Goldstein. Figuring that there must have been some kind of mistake if after eight semesters (including one spring term) of classes, I had only accumulated 66 credits, even with all the AP credits I had brought to the University (this was what the senior audit was, in effect, telling me), I strolled (being as it was a lovely day) down to the LSA building to see what the fuck was up. A cursory check of information revealed that the information I had been sent was not mine, but that of another Ben Goldstein, a sophomore from Providence, R.I. A philosophy major. A snot-nosed feeb.

Well this was certainly news I could use! There was still the matter of my total lack of requirement-fulfillment in physics, the concentration I had randomly selected during my sophomore year, but the kind, pleasantly plump and gracefully aging woman in the Registrar”s Office told me that if I passed all my classes this semester and retroactively modified two film classes I took with Prof. Peter Bauland (“Famous People I”ve Known and Loved,” “Interior Vision: The Subjective Camera in Pre-War Stag Films”) from film to English credit, I could, technically and hypothetically, be an English major. What serendipity! Me, a person to which English is their third language, to be an English major? The idea tickled me to death, and I stood there in front of the old fat lady, chortling madly, vindicated.

The first thing I did, of course, was share the news with the ex-girlfriend, D-Town Dana, that old ball-and-chain. I e-mailed her with the subject as “INSTANT $$$-MAKING OPPORTUNITY!!!” she had recently stopped opening my e-mails altogether, but I was pretty sure she would be lured by the dollar signs. Anyway, I just wrote to her that I would indeed be graduating on time, with a lucrative degree in English no less, and if she wanted to meet to discuss the implications of this, and what benefits this might have for her, I would be at the Outback Steakhouse off of Ann Arbor-Saline Rd., at 8 p.m. the following evening.

She showed up, as I knew she would, on time and looking scorchingly hot. Dana has this absolutely dynamite body, and a kind of “full-figured and flaunting it” attitude to her style of dress that most white women, frankly, can”t pull off. She sauntered over to my booth and sat down. There was silence for a good three seconds it was tense. Finally, D-Town spoke: “Baby, take me back. I made such a big mistake. It”s you I love. I”m a fool. Do you think we could ever work things out? Huh, Beebee? Hmm? Do ya?” Our waitress came over and Dana ordered the Melbourne (“A 20-ounce porterhouse it”s bonzer!”) and a side order of Kookaburra Wings.

I was still stinging from the past rejection so I kept a tight poker face, not letting her know what I was really feeling. “What about Rolf?” I asked. Rolf was this filthy Canadian international student she had started seeing immediately after my senior audit went public (it”s a small campus, these things spread quickly).

“Rolf is dead. I tore his head off and ate it one night after we made love.”

I couldn”t help but smile. “No, Dana, seriously.”

“Well, let”s just say things didn”t work out. We were incompatible, emotionally and spiritually. And sexually, definitely sexually. There were things things that he wanted me to do for him.”

“You can spare me the details.”

“He wore a diaper to bed, and called me Mumma.”

“Really, Dana, you don”t have to tell me.”

“He wanted me to “nurse” him, and change him when he got “poopie-woopie”.”

“OK, enough!” I felt rage and hatred for the vile, twisted Canadian, but underneath it all was the feeling that maybe D-Town Dana had gotten what she had deserved.

We stared at each other for a long time. She said, “I hope this doesn”t destroy everything we”ve worked so hard to build. Do you think you could ever forgive me, little wee-wee? Do you think we could rekindle our love and have a future again?”

“Yes, Dana,” I said. “Yes.” And with that, I got out of my seat, got down on one knee in front of her. I pulled a ring box from my pocket and looked into her eyes. “Open it,” I said.

Her gasp was audible. She raised her hands to her face and her eyes rolled around wildly in her head. After a moment of stunned silence, she moved her shaky hands over to the ring box and opened it. And that”s when a dozen, multicolored, spring-loaded novelty snakes jumped out at her, shooting every which way in an orgy of hilarity. She was crushed, openly weeping, the emotions of savage disappointment and insult placing her far beyond the realm of caring what the other patrons of the Aussie-themed steakhouse thought of the display. And I, still kneeling, couldn”t stop myself from laughing, laughing, laughing.

Revenge, unlike the steaming pile of Kookaburra Wings that arrived at our table just seconds later, is a dish best served cold.

Ben Goldstein can be reached at bjgoldst@umich.edu.

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