My loyal fans already know that this is my one-year anniversary column.
(Note: I have exactly one such loyal fan: my puppet MacKenzie. Every other Friday, I read my column aloud while MacKenzie says things like “Delicious turn of phrase!” or “Didactic, yet amusing!” For these comments, he is rewarded with the gift of life. Hello there, MacKenzie! Of course you may have an apricot.)
To prepare for the creation of this momentous document, I decided to wander down the shadow-halls of memory and reread all my creations from the past 12 months. Like so many precious gems held up to the light, each one revealed some new and brilliant facet that even I had not seen before. I laughed, I gasped, MacKenzie wept at one point (bless him) and we were satisfied.
Satisfied, that is, with one exception. At the terminus of our journey, MacKenzie hid his face for shame: My first column, published exactly one year ago, is something we do not speak of. Like an illegitimate child swiftly put up for adoption, it is something we wish never happened or at least had not been the first thing that came up when you Googled “Steven Kochevar” for several months afterwards.
You don’t need to go back and read it. Really, I would rather you didn’t. Suffice it to say that it contained the phrase “Have as much sex as you can; that’s what liberated pandas do,” in addition to many other pearls of wisdom about the manufacture of bongs from lawn ornaments and the health benefits of rampant sex and drug use. When I wrote it, I believed that it was not only the funniest but also the best thing I or most people had ever written.
I think it somehow slipped my mind that other people would be reading the column. My parents, for instance. Three weeks later my father Googled me (why was he doing this?) and then sent me some version of the following e-mail (I don’t remember it exactly):
Light, cordial niceties dispensed with quickly. General logistical comment about coming home for spring break. Something about the weather. Oh and by the way, what the hell is this YDN link I found about you smoking out our Labradoodle? Are you insane? Angry angry angry irresponsible angry demented angry angry we do not even own a Labradoodle angry angry. Mention of rising cost of Yale’s tuition and cost-benefit analysis of my matriculation. Someone from Texas called me today having read your column and accused me of being responsible for your moral bankruptcy. See you soon!
He was actually making up the part about someone from Texas calling with accusations. It was a nice touch.
I, of course, responded with appropriate and immediate indignation. I was an artist and had a right to free expression. If I wanted to see how many times I could incriminate myself in 900 words, by God I was going to do it and people would read it and think I was fucking cool! I never wanted to run for public office anyway; the American electorate is not yet ready for homosexualist libertarianism.
That was actually the day I met MacKenzie. He was waiting for someone in the Salvation Army store on Crown Street. I was there, moping about in the slough of despond, and bumped into him. Oh, the things he said to cheer me up! He told a joke about a nun and a blonde and a pedophile, and I just about died laughing. Since then we’ve been more or less inseparable.
With MacKenzie’s help, I was able to understand that sometimes other people say things that are wrong but you have to act like you agree with them in order for things to work smoothly. Or something like that. Anyway, I figured out that my first column made me sound deranged, and in the future I probably shouldn’t exhort people to “ruin [their productive things] with drinking and drugs.” Also, when your mother reads something on the internet that makes her ask you in earnest if you have a drug addiction, you should revise and reconsider.
The funny thing is that upon MacKenzie’s and my one-year-out review of the wretched first column, I actually thought it had some redeeming features. It is not particularly well-written and has plenty of bizarre and awkward moments, but, if you dig through all the semi-psychotic showing off, its heart is in the right place: we should all relax and have more fun.
Especially this week when everyone has tests and secretly wants to drop out and live in a cabin next to a lake, and when not once but twice now on the stretch by Saybrook a big roaring bus has flown into a puddle and drenched poor MacKenzie and me in New Haven’s wintry snot, I think it deserves to be remembered. Spring break is seven days away; whatever your plans are, enjoy them.
MacKenzie and I are planning a trip to the South Seas. I sewed him a little flower print shirt, and yesterday he surprised me with a pair of special polarized sunglasses. We will cruise and we will swim and then, because old habits die hard, I will turn him into a bong.
Steven Kochevar congratulates Steven Kochevar on a year of growing, changing, and making memories.