Klugman: ‘Answers represent the establishment!’

At the Pierson senior registration meeting last Tuesday, a meeting I did not attend because I am not a senior and will not be graduating this year and can stay at Yale for as long as I want, Dean Fabbri informed all those in attendance that we were the “keepers of Yale’s traditions and secrets,” steeped in hard-won knowledge about EVERYTHING. When he asked for questions, we didn’t have any because we know what QRs and SCs are, can spell our own names, and have finally located our Student ID Numbers on our IDs (It’s the number right UNDER the bar code, not the other number, you’re welcome). Kings of the world, in a non-gender-normative sense, we seniors have mastered one of the things Yale wants you to master: the answer. We can answer essay questions about readings we never did; we can answer awkward questions about our summers when our summers were maudlin and awful, and we can condense onto index cards the reasons we HAVE to get into some seminar. I’m not that great at any of this but I am SURE I was worse three years ago.

I took an improv class this summer (my email address is below if you want to ask me out) and one of the central tenets of this theory of improv (hahaha, throw up, everyone just throw up) was not to ask questions in scenes. If you ask “Why are we at this store, again?” or “Hey, who is that?” you are putting the onus on your scene partner to make a decision for you, instead of just making a strong choice and TELLING them why or who or what have you. I got pretty accustomed to doing this and eventually was allowed to pass the class (GENTLEMEN) but jeez, it did not come very naturally to me. Questions are great! Remember, Gertrude Stein, that fun and really short lesbian writer who looked like Kathy Bates, famously said while dying, “What is the answer? Well, then, what is the question?” to her partner Alice B. Toklas. Well, she said something like that, apocryphally, and the point is, questions are important too. I mean that in the hippiest possible way. Chill out and don’t worry about the answers, man. Answers represent the establishment! In that vein, I am going to spend the rest of this view asking some questions that have been plaguing me, and not bothering about the answers.

Is “Alice B. Toke-less” a funny nickname for somebody who should smoke less marijuana, or is it a little too subtle?

What major is the best major? Why do I feel the need to define things like majors in absolute terms?

In the Joni Mitchell song “River,” why does she say she wants to “skate away on” a river, but also mentions “teach[ing her] feet to fly”? Is the river frozen or is she walking on it like Jesus? Also, is my mother correct that Judy Collins is a technically better singer than Joni Mitchell? And which one of them do you think is better to listen to on the highway at midnight and feel 100% alone to, I’m wondering?

Why does my asshole roommate say I am “too self-aware” in my columns? Is that a bad thing? In your answer, please take into account the fact that this same roommate recently MapQuested the time it would take him to walk from the Lynwood to TD. Just a fun fact.

And to that particular question, here’s one answer: It takes 12.3 minutes to walk from the Lynwood to TD.