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March 2, 2012

I Feel a New Life Growing Inside Me





No, no--not that kind of life.
I spent last week on a most-expenses-paid junket to Hawaii with six girls from my university, all of them in the smoldering to smoking range. Yes, sunscreen was sprayed on my back by a bikini-clad Japanese college chick. Yes, I spent hundreds of dollars of my retirement savings feeding and otherwise contenting them. Yes, I spent every minute away from them masturbating furiously and pathetically—and archaically, as I made the blunder of traveling without my Rolling Fella Bomber—in my hotel room.

That’s all well and good, but that’s not what I came here to tell you about today. I came here to tell you what happened the next day after we came back. For on that fateful evening, I went back to the campus of my former employer, NU, for the first time in five years.

NU, Muggins completists will recall, was the primary producer of the titular doom-provoking chicks in my debut work, How To Pick Up Japanese Chicks And Doom Your Immortal Soul. The occasion was the fiftieth anniversary of NU’s Association for the Study of the Pronunciation of English Vowels (fake name), a student club that I advised throughout my seventeen years there.

The minute I set foot in the door of the building where the festivities would take place, I was greeted with a reedy “Long time no see!” which emanated from a personage that I recalled as a geeky flat-topped stutterer, now NU’s head of admissions. “I sweet,” he said to me, which did not particularly surprise me, as he had a history of curious English utterances.

“Sweet? Yes, I suppose you are.”

“No. I sweet. On Switter.”

“Ah, you tweet! I see.”

After a discussion of our respective activities on social media that had not existed last time we spoke, I explained my recent activities since fleeing NU into exile at RU, concluding with a heartfelt, “I want to come home,” to which my now confident, non-stuttering friend said, “Please, come home.”

I proceeded to the NASPEV event space where no sooner had I removed my coat than there arose a familiar feminine cry of “Muggins!”

It was Megumi, freshman class of ’99. Therefore, I said: “Megumi!”

“You’re here!” she said, exercising those keen powers of observation that I had helped nurture in her some dozen years ago. As if to persuade herself of the veracity of her statement, she marched inside my space bubble and stroked my arm.

“Megumi…” I said weakly. She was tiny and bubbly, and the way she gazed into my eyes felt like a turkey-baster of cocaine.

“You look just the same.”

“Well, I haven’t changed my hairstyle.”

“I shaved your head once. Remember?”

“Sorry about that.”

“What? Why? It was fun!”

We had been joined by another old acquaintance at this point, and Megumi set about explaining the entire head-shaving scenario to her friend.

The two hours unfolded along similar lines, with other girls doing the same space-invading, arm-stroking number on me. I had forgotten how touchy-feely NU girls had always been with me. Perhaps RU girls can be counted on to lather on the sunscreen for you if you take them to Hawaii and buy them dinner, but otherwise they keep their distance. All this free physical contact was more than I had bargained for.

And there were tales of others who couldn’t come to the event. One girl, whose name meant nothing to me, had transferred to the International Relations department on my account lo, those many years ago. Someone else was getting a master’s in TESOL owing in part to my example. A girl I had helped gain admission to UC Berkeley was unable to attend due to her duties in New York at the UN! On and on it went. The maelstrom of attention and arm-rubbing fairly made me woozy.

I had spent so much of the past five years trying to blot NU from my mind, because to compare my past and present professional situations would be too, too hideously painful. I had shoved NU to the farthest recesses of memory. It had become a place cloaked in dense mists that haunted my dreams, a place locked away inside a book that I finished writing a long time ago and had marketed as “fiction.”

But now, suddenly, I realized it wasn't a dream. It was a place, and this chick, and that chick, and all these wonderful chicks—now vibrant and confident working women—were here. The Auntie Em of my subconscious assured me that “we dream lots of silly things,” but no, Auntie Em, NU is a real, truly live place. And I remember that some of it wasn't very nice. But most of it was beautiful. And all evening long, all I kept saying to everybody was, “I want to come home.”

So I spent the following day trying to concoct some scenario by which I could leave RU, my employer of five years, and get back to NU. It would involve rebuilding some burned-down bridges. It might easily entail some groveling—and not just your run-of-the-mill, hat-in-hand groveling, but some nitty-gritty, down-on-the-knees aerobic groveling. It would almost certainly involve a massive salary cut. And moving house yet again at my own expense. And of course, the love of all these alumnae would do me little good with the current students, among whom I would have to rebuild my reputation from scratch in my late fifties.

Gradually, that warm glow emanating from my recently stroked-by-authentic-NU-chicks arm started to fade, as I realized what a physically and emotionally daunting ordeal a return to NU would be. By the second day after the NASPEV reunion, the embers of the dream were dying.

No, you can’t go home again. But sometimes, you can recapture a chunk of it. I know, because I’ve done it before. Here’s how you do it: You do it by writing.

So the time has come to write another book about my experiences with young Japanese ladies at NU. Not so much a sequel to HTPUJCADYIS, mind you, as a companion piece.

The moment of conception is still fresh, and yet I can already feel all these old anecdotes and sketches and set pieces roiling around inside me, growing, multiplying, taking form. Soon they will clamor to be pulled forth and laid out on paper.

It’s going to be the easiest 60,000 words I’ve ever produced. It’ll be funny; it’ll be naughty; it’ll be quirky; but ultimately, it’ll be tender and gentle and warm, because it’s NU chicks, don’t you see, the elixir of life, the Ruby Slippers of my soul.

To the vanity press, fast as lightning! And woe to those who try and stop me!