Cigarette On Wednesday

How marketable is your mom? Send resumes and 8 x 10's to Ryan Sim at [email protected]

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This week is story time. These are memories that remind me that I am in college and that I am me. This will be a chance for me to step down from my social soapbox and join the ranks of useless, paper-wasting columnists by ranting about stupid people and telling even stupider stories in no particular order. Enjoy.

In the beginning, when I was just a freshman, I was sitting on the steps of Sproul. There was a completely asinine madman who claimed to be a preacher of Christianity. He declared great wisdom like, "All gays and fornicators will go to hell." Being the shy person that I am, I started replying to some of his bass-ackward remarks. After ten minutes of verbal abuse from me, the gentleman singled me out for a question. He asked, "Do you masturbate?" I froze. After another five minutes of the preacher harassing me to answer the question, I finally shouted, "Hell yeah, I jerk off!" To my surprise, the crowd started clapping and cheering. Later he revealed that he had no qualms about putting a belt to his children.

The following day I walked by and shouted to remind people that he beats his kids. The preacher's reply was, "Look everyone, there goes the masturbator." Which again drew a round of applause from the hundred or so people watching. Thus began my short preaching career on Sproul, which was anchored by The Masturbator's motto, "Better I beat myself than I beat my kids."

I once walked into a room and saw two girls having sex. Here's the punchline: they were in my bed.

This is one of my favorite Berkeley stories. It was April 20, a semi-random Thursday, and Sproul Plaza looked like a circus. First, as you walked onto campus from Telegraph there were grad students striking because the university treats them like ass. About ten feet away, there was a rally and exhibit against domestic violence and sexual assault. From there you could see the fountain, which looked like a cesspool. On Lower Sproul, there was a jazz band playing. On Upper Sproul, there were some hip-hop dancers dancing. There was a "testament of faith" by Sather Gate as some passers-by jokingly said, "Hey, we should throw rocks at him. Huh, huh, huh." Oh yeah, and everyone was blazed. I love Berkeley.

One time, at an ASUC Senate meeting, I said the word "compromise" and people actually started laughing. The ASUC has its fair share of resume-builders and powermongers, but there are also many strong student leaders. It's mostly true that people in the ASUC want to improve our campus, it's too bad they can't agree or compromise on how to do it. It's on their resume now, I hope they earn it.

Sometimes, I go to class just a tad bit late and there are 20 open seats dispersed throughout the middle section of desks, but there are still people sitting in the aisles, on stairs, even outside. Why does this happen, you ask? Because there are selfish morons that want to sit by the aisle, some of whom get there early and barge in before the previous class has even left. If class was a transatlantic flight, I could understand wanting to sit on the aisle, but it's not, so have some damn courtesy ... please. It's OK to sit next to other people, this isn't UCSB and 75 percent of the students don't have cooties. So please, wait a reasonable distance from the exit, and once you do get a chance to sit down, move all the damn way to the middle. If people have to walk over you and hit you in the face with their backpack, then it's your fault.

Last year, I was part of an AmeriCorps program that coordinated tutoring for third through eighth-grade students. While I was shopping on Shattuck, one of the students jumped out of a clothing rack and gave me a big hug. I couldn't help but feel good and feel like I actually made a contribution to this community. I think everyone should try community service at least twice in their lives. It feels good and you do good. No, it's not volunteering, it's a social responsibility (maybe even a graduation requirement).

One time, I was a columnist and someone completely missed the purpose of my commentary. This person actually counted how many times I used a specific word. This made me think that he is either extremely bored or extremely bored. Moral of this story: get a life, then enjoy the hell out of it.

Another time, I was still a columnist and someone thought I was preaching to the converted. I wanted to remind some and inform others to think about the repercussions of their actions. I didn't want to nag people. I cannot make people change their habits, I can only change my own. Instead, I hoped that people would at least acknowledge their disregard for the environment and the notion that every environmentalist isn't a militant member of Greenpeace - one step at a time, people. Writing a column is not true action. True action speaks louder than wit and much louder than misplaced anger.

Excerpt from a conversation I have at least once a month:

Friend: Hey, Sim, what's your last name?

Me: Sim.

Friend: Whoa! Your name is Sim Sim?!

Me: Yes, my mom stutters.


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