Scarlet Letters

The not-so-private thoughts and rants of Elizabeth Donald, journalist/author and founder of the Literary Underworld.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Snippets and revolution

Monday was the First Amendment Free* Food Festival at the university, organized by the school newspaper and Mass Communications department and cosponsored by the St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists.

Basically, they give away free food to the students and staff in return for temporarily signing away their First Amendment rights to enter their little “country.” If you’re wearing a religious emblem, they make you take it off. If your shirt says anything subversive, you have to cover it up or turn it inside out. They make you sit where they say you can sit (freedom of association) and make you talk about the subjects they deem appropriate. The coordinator wears a little dictator hat. Here, have a video about it from last year…



Jim attended this year, since I was still in Kansas City and was unable to do so. Also, free pizza. Beforehand, he texted me.

MAN: Call me before I go to Pizzassian.
ME: I think it was MassCommistan, but Tammy can confirm.

Later…

MAN: I’m free!
MAN: Tammy said I was a very good compliant citizen.
MAN: Until I stepped out of the “country” and yelled, “Viva revolution!”
ME: You owe me a keyboard.
MAN: Sorry.
ME: Are not. Did you have to give up anything for your pizza?
MAN: She tapped me on the shoulder and said, “You are being quiet and compliant. We like that in our citizens.” I kept quiet and obeyed all orders. I just thought of myself in the military again.
ME: Oh, that’s going on the blog.

Jim reported that it was actually a little intimidating, knowing that you didn’t have rights. “It was fun, but kind of scary at the same time,” he said. He was ordered to talk to a girl he didn’t know about earrings. She was wearing earrings, Jim has an earring, therefore all they were allowed to talk about was earrings. Awkward. “It’s kind of weird, living in fear,” he said. 

After he shouted in protest, he was ordered to “take (his) democracy elsewhere.”

———

ME: I think you should know that Mike (the landlord) is taking down the Christmas lights.
MAN: Oh. 
ME: And it’s not even Memorial Day yet.
MAN: Sorry.
ME: It seems I might have mentioned something about this…
MAN: Shit.
ME: I give you the Wife Side-Eye of Impatience.
MAN: Ohhh.
ME: If you would just have let me do it myself….
MAN: No.
MAN: No.
MAN: No.
ME: What.
MAN: No going on the roof.
ME: I do as I please.
MAN: No.
ME: Oh yes I do. Have we met?

———

Man proceeds upstairs to print something in my office.

MAN: HEY!
ME: What.
MAN:You have Hershey’s chocolate eggs in your desk!
ME: Stop snooping through my desk!
MAN: Chocolate hoarder!
ME: Yes. And?
MAN: Share!
ME: No!
MAN: I love chocolate eggs!
ME: Me too. And remind me, who got an Easter basket full of yummy sweets this year? And who did NOT?
MAN: …
ME: Uh huh. Who sees that Man and Boy both get a lovely surprise from the Easter Bunny each year, and never gets any chocolate herself? And does the same at Christmas, and Valentine’s Day, and…
MAN: Well. Um. I remembered Valentine’s Day!
ME: And so if I run out the day after Easter and stock up on some yummy half-price treats, I’m gonna hide them in my desk so I actually get to EAT them!
MAN: You hoard chocolate.
ME: In this house? You’re damn right I do…

For the next several days…

MAN: (mutters) Chocolate hoarder…

------

ME: So. Tired.
MAN: Well sleep, hon.
ME: Had to unpack.
MAN: Sleep.
ME: Yes master. As my husband you command me in all things.
MAN: No, I just want you to rest because you are tired.
ME: Well, I'd like to, but somebody messed up my bed. Covers are all catawampus, pillows in the wrong place.
MAN: Oh.
ME: No ohs. Be specific or be quiet.
MAN: Oh.
ME: You are disobedient.
MAN: Yes.
MAN: Viva revolution.

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