The Boothie in the Rye

After recruiting ended I started hanging around the Winter Garden a lot, especially on days when I just had a class in the morning. Now morning classes were a waste of time, if you want to know the truth, but sometimes that was all that was available thanks to the old bidding system at Booth. I’m not kidding. Sometimes you’d bid about a million points for a class because you heard it was an interesting subject or the professor was good, but then you didn’t get in because some idiot bid two million. And then he has the gall to complain about it because he’s sore about spending two million points. So why did you bid two million, for Chrissake? Some people are unbelievable.

Anyway what I’d do was, after morning class I’d go up to the Winter Garden and sit in one of the armchairs they had there. The chairs themselves weren’t fancy or anything. They were kind of shaped like cubes with a notch cut out for you to sit in and covered with fabric that had a design like motel wallpaper. But they were comfortable and all. Anyway I used to grab one in the corner that faced the rest of the Winter Garden and just kind of watch all the phonies mill about aimlessly during lunchtime. You’d see everybody acting so goddam friendly to each other, even to people they hated. It was usually good for a laugh.

One time I was talking to this phony from my cohort and he couldn’t even look me in the eye because he was busy rubbernecking. You can always tell when someone isn’t interested in what you’re saying but they’re still trying to be all charming. Since this jerk is being so goddam rude and all, I turn to see what he’s gawking at. And what do I see? Everyone’s rubbernecking, trying to be charming, but not actually interested in their conversations. Finally some girl notices his stares and comes over. You should have seen the way they said hello. You would have thought they’d taken baths in the same bathtub growing up. The funny part about it is they probably met each other at some phony party. It made me want to puke.

This girl Joan, I liked her a lot. I mean she was okay, for a college girl. When I asked her to go around together, she told me she was dating Mark. “Mark?” I asked her. “Why are you dating that show-off bastard?”

“Mark isn’t a show-off bastard, he just has an inferiority complex.”

All girls say that. It never occurs to them that maybe he has an inferiority complex and he’s a show-off bastard. Boy, she was depressing me.

There was one guy Hugo that everybody hated. He was from Nicaragua or Nigeria or one of those countries, but that’s not why people hated him. Hugo was the type that he’d always be competing over something stupid. I don’t know if his ego was too big or too small. Anyway I remember I had an accounting class with him and in that class we used to get our homework back in our mail folders, with the score written on the front. Well one day I see him at the mail folders looking through other people’s folders to see their scores. Now I didn’t think that on its own was a big deal, because who cares what interests people. Some people think private wealth management is the most fascinating career for Chrissake. Like God Himself is probably in private wealth management. And that’s fine with me because that’s their opinion. The trouble is, Hugo figured out who did worse than him and went around asking them what score they got as if he didn’t know. Now that burns me up. As a matter of fact, he asked me what score I got, and I told him I hadn’t checked yet, not that it was any of his goddam business. He knew my score, but I denied him the satisfaction of saying he did better. Pompous ass.

I always got bad grades in that accounting class because the professor hated me. He was in love with accounting and hated anyone who wasn’t. That was true for most of my professors. I could’ve gotten the grades for high honors, if you want to know the truth. I was smart enough. But I wasn’t going to pretend like I was fascinated in the material. It makes me sick when people do that. I swear I was the only one with convictions. Everybody there acted so goddam noble, like they wanted to learn and get a job that “made a difference.” But really they were phonies who just wanted grades and money to inflate their egos.

That’s all I’m going to say. I could probably tell you a lot more but I don’t feel like it. One thing I will say is don’t ever tell anybody anything like this. Once you do, you start realizing how much you’re going to miss everyone.

Warren and Lauren both enjoy dystopian novels, phony conversations, and “rye” humor. They will miss everyone, for Chrissake.