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2003-06-27 | 4:13 a.m.

I look in the mirror and I'm shocked by what I see. I look like I'm pushing sixty. I look old, disheveled, bedraggled… now I understand my sister's best friend, who, upon reaching her late thirties, invested her savings in braces, a new nose, and an extra cup size. Maybe it is past time I looked into having my red cheeks resurfaced, my skin tags burned off. No reason I ought to go around looking like a homeless wretch. Back in 1982, when I started at Berkeley, there were always homeless people on Telegraph Avenue, but we didn't call them that. The term was only just beginning to gain currency as the preferred usage. We called them street people. (Except for Beowulf, who called them "dirtbags." He's not like that anymore. Now he's nice and menschy and takes salsa lessons.) I like it better, "street person"; it seems more dignified somehow, putting the emphasis on what they have rather than what they lack. But a homeless activist might say I am missing the point. I am romanticizing their plight.

It is not what a practical person should do, staying up until three-thirty in the morning taking a serious bite out of Order of the Phoenix. I should be going to bed early and getting up early to exercise, instead of staring at my frightening reflection in the mirror, brushing my teeth gingerly and thinking about exercising. I think about exercising all the time, come to that. I think about typing up a sheet for each individual exercise and putting them all in sheet protectors in a three-ring binder, so I can consult it as I do the workout. I have been planning this for two years. I honestly believe I will get to it this summer.

David Kipen thinks I'm a ninny and so does that whoseywhatsit at the New York Times, but I don't care what they say. They doth protest too much. I'm reading it because it is Fun and I Like It. I want to find out What Happens Next. What is so terrible about that? Terrible lowbrow. What do I care? I've always been a sucker for plot. Doesn't mean my brain doesn't work right. I can't think of a single intellectual I know--okay, I'm not the membership secretary of the faculty club, sure, but I get around--who doesn't have a jones for some kind of cheap thrills. What color is your cotton candy, baby? Life is short. Lacan is the French word for "vampire." Judith Butler will have you looking up words.

I was a terrible English major because I liked to read for reading's sake. One time in class--I was caught up on the reading even, what a shock!--this blowhard was talking about the end of the play, and I asked him (nicely) not to give away the ending. Well, he turned on me with all the contempt he could muster and informed me that such things were beneath the interest of a genuine literary mind. He was so mean to me, the fuckwad! Fuck you, you fucking dingleberry, wherever you are! I hope you got your precious tenure at Eastern Podunk State University, where you ruin the endings of everything on your syllabus, thus encouraging your undergraduate victims to hate reading forevermore. Bravo.

Oh boy, it's after four a.m. I think I'll sing a little Faron Young now and toddle off to bed.

It's four in the morning

and once more the dawning

just woke up the WANT-ing in me…

Last night we broke up, this morning I woke up

and for the tenth time, I'm chang-ING my mind!

I saw more love in her eyes when I left her

than most foolish MEN will ever see!

now it's four in the morning

and once more the dawning

just woke up--the WAAAANT-ing--in me!

Some people just never could like me. I gave up trying to figure it out. Maybe it's a fucking pheromone, I don't know. I try to keep things moving right along, and mostly, it works. But sometimes I sit still for a minute, like now, and I just feel so lonely.

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