20-something

August 31, 2001

If you love it, why don’t you marry it?

Because I took the “road less travelled” (read: the 5-year college plan), I didn’t actually graduate until December 1994, and subsequently hung around Yale for the rest of the school year. Chicks dig that.

I returned home during the summer of 1995 to teach Marine Biology to junior highschool kids at Punahou. This was after they had rejected me as a full-time teacher. I was terribly bitter for many years about this rejection, but things always happen for a reason, don’t they?

Summer school was trying. I love teaching and I love kids, but those little brats were helions. I would usually start the day off by performing the dance from TLCs “Waterfalls” or my impression of Forest Gump running as a child while his braces break away from his legs (“Run Forest, Run!!!”). They thought that it was pretty funny to see a grown man look like a retard. Some things haven’t changed.

But kids are funny. They thought it was funny to sneak into the room everyday and hide until I walked in. I’m not sure exactly what kids find funny about that, but I vaguely recall doing the same as a teenager. Kids think it’s funny to look up your pants, or hit you in the balls. What is up with that? Damn MTV.

2007 insertion: It’s really weird when you show up to a Punahou alumni event 12 years later in New York, and are chatting it up with an attractive young Harvard graduate, and she looks over at your name tag and says, “Did you teach Marine Biology in Summer School?” and you say “Yes…” and she says, “Oh my god, you were my teacher! I was in 7th grade! We called you Mr. Musubi-yashi.” Those damn kids.

I moved to New York City in the the August because many of my friends from Yale were already there. Opportunity seemed to be abound. Despite my desire to live by myself, it was clear that that was prohibitively expensive. I ended up living with Josh, whom I swore I would never live with. We got a quaint little one bedroom in Normandy Court in the wasteland that is known as the upper eastside. The natives lovingly referred to it as “Dormandy Court” because of the abundance of recent college graduates.

Having no job was quite a bummer. I signed up with approximately six temp agencies figuring that I could at least get a job as a typist because of my blazingly fast typing skills, but no such luck. Six weeks later, I was feeling sorry for myself. That is when I received the phone call that would change my life forever.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “this is the part where he talks about the internet thing, yada, yada, yada.” And then you’d be absolutely wrong.

Ring, ring.

“Hello?”

“Hi Allen. This is Elise from the agency. We think we have an opportunity for you, but we have a question for you.”

“Sure, go ahead.”

“Does nudity bother you?”

Does nudity bother me? Hm. Let’s pause to think about this for a while…Let us ponder the existential ramifications of such a question. Let us dissect the query into its component parts to discover an underlying meaning. Perhaps she means “naked” and not “nudity,” and perhaps by “naked” she means exposed in a philosophical sense — like a child in a new classroom, or an ingenue at the ball.

“Uh, as long as it’s not me.”

“Great, we’re sending you to Penthouse Magazine.”

I don’t think I need to explain to you how a 22-year old feels when he is told that he will be working at Penthouse Magazine. That he will be paid money to work for such a fine literary journal. That he will be able to associate himself to such a quality figure as Bob Guccione. That he will have access to the Penthouse font that includes the “keys” symbol and the “penis” symbol that they use to rate pornographic movies. Oh yes friends, this is nirvana.

I arrived for work promptly a few days later and after waiting for a few minutes, my supervisor, Mitch came out and greeted me with a sigh of relief.

“We’re so glad you’re here! Follow me.”

I followed him back into a dark room filled with a computer and a scitex drum scanner which is used for production quality scanning — and which i explicitly stated I had no experience with.

“Maggie, show him.”

Mitch’s assistant, Maggie, brought over an 11×17 color match print of a woman sitting spread eagle. He pointed to her crotch area and said, “You see how the color is kind of distorted there? There’s something about the scanner…”

A normal man might have cracked under such intense pressure. But I was a recent graduate of Yale University. The finest University in the world depending on which year you read US News and World Reports, and I wasn’t about to give up.

I would give it the old college try.

“Well, yeah, it looks as if the calibration of the scanner is slightly off…uh, let me go ahead and check the rolling mechanism and the power source next to the dilithium crystals.” Mitch and Maggie left me alone with the computer, scanner, and the installation software. I wasn’t deterred, but I was a little concerned that I would not be able to do anything useful. About an hour later, Mitch returned with a look of embarrassment on his face.

“Allen, I’m sooooo sorry. I thought you were the Scitex repairman. Your job is much easier.” He led me back to the publishing area where I sat at a desk. On that first day, there was no work for me, but there were two years of back issues. I thought it would be the responsible thing for me to investigate exactly the quality of journalism that I would be tasked with creating.

Still here? Still want more?