Thursday, May 15, 2008

Where I've Been, Where I'm Going: A J.Wiltz Update

"School's out for summer.
School's out forever."
- Alice Cooper

There's a part of me that hesitates to open this installment of "A Day With J." with the lyrics to "School's Out", if only because the last time I thought school was out forever, I actually needed six more credit hours. (My advisor at U.N.O. didn't advise me correctly.) You can imagine my surprise when I thought I'd be graduating last December but ended up sitting in a classroom from January to May instead. It reminded me of the second half of my Ole Miss career when I became convinced that the administration just really didn't want me to go...But, what's done is done. And as far as I know, dear readers, it's true this time. I've completed my Masters courses and will get my degree just as soon as I take my comp exams. It's been a busy semester - living in New Orleans 4 days a week, taking two classes and working two jobs - but you know what Uncle Ozzy says: "People keep telling me it's bad for my health, but kicking back don't make it."

The Obvious Question

"So what's next, J.? What are you going to do with your Masters in English?"
Well, for a while I thought I might go all-out and get a Ph.D., but that was before I found out that an English doctorate can take up to 9 years to complete. AND there's absolutely no guarantee that you'll find work at the end of it. AND you have to absorb a lot of bullshit literary theory, which I notoriously have very little patience for. So, in an effort to avoid becoming "that guy who works at the gas station and knows a lot about books and stuff" I've decided (much to my parents' excitement) to go to law school. That's right. I'm the next in line to become a backwoods Southern lawyer. I figure the combination of a law degree and my English Masters should help me to establish my publishing company, or, at the very least, to avoid starving to death. But, before I go to law school, there's something else I have to take care of...

Ich gehe nach Deutschland!

Mark your calendars, kids. On June 29th, Giuliano and I will be flying into Bremen, Germany, for a month-long language study program at the Goethe-Institut. This will be the first time I've ever left the U.S., and I just know that when I come back I'm gonna be one of those people who has to tell everyone how much better everything is in Europe. I'll probably start saying stuff like, "This chocolate is okay, but if you want really good chocolate, you have to go to this little shop I used to go to in Bavaria. Oh, it was so good..." One thing that's neat about Bremen, by the way, is that it looks exactly how Americans expect Germany to look. Seriously, it's like EPCOT Center or something with the little gingerbread houses:

I can almost guarantee you that Giuliano and I will end up on the streets of Bremen at least once, drunk as hell, wearing green suspenders, and doing that traditional German chicken dance. We're just another stupid YouTube video waiting to happen.


Yes, Germany is going to be a great time, and the only thing that will make it possible for me to leave is the fact that I get to see my estranged lover Angie when I get back.

Every year around this same time, Angie and I put aside our psychotic jealousy, our infidelity, the questionable paternity of our children, our various drug addictions, our personality disorders, our mutual love of physical violence, and our restraining orders, to have a nice, decent time together. This year we'll be making an appearance at the BHS Class of 1998 10-Year Reunion before tripping over to New Orleans to risk death in the crosswalks once again. (We were almost killed crossing Magazine Street last year.) Angie's been on my good side ever since she changed her MySpace display name to "Nora Joyce" during the month of March (for St.Patrick's Day). Here's hoping we can spend time together without having to involve the police or paramedics.

In Other Reunion News

"It's so good to see you. I've missed you so much.
So glad it's over. I've missed you so much."
- Maynard J. Keenan "Third Eye"

After a decade or so of wondering where my childhood friend Jeff DeLapp had ended up, I was ecstatic (sorry, there's no other word for it) to get a friend request from him on MySpace sometime towards the end of February. Before then, I had done everything I could think of to try and track him down: Google, Yellow Pages online, White Pages online, shaking down mutual friends, etc. It was like he had vanished into thin air. To make matters worse, after Hurricane Katrina, no one I talked to was even sure that he was still alive. (Two weeks before he got in touch with me, my mom actually theorized that Jeff's might be one of the bodies that haven't been identified.) And then suddenly there he was, telling me how disappointed he was that I thought Katrina could take him out. Little by little, we've been getting caught up on everything. Turns out, he's got a son named Logan now, named (appropriately) after Jeff's favorite Marvel superhero. My summer plans include making a trip to Florida to see him before I fly off to Germany...Now all I need is to hear from Christina Manning and I will have found everyone on my "Where Are They Now?" List.

Totally Random
I just want to make sure that everyone has seen this pic that Dane put together for me. Let this be a lesson to all of you: Make a stupid face in just one pic, and pretty soon you're gonna get PhotoShopped!

Tulane's Satanic Guest Speaker

Taking the job at Tulane was one of the smartest things I've ever done. In just one semester I've seen speeches and presentations by Ann Coulter, Barack Obama, and most recently (and most importantly) Salman Rushdie. Those of you who know who Rushdie is will find it funny that he opened his presentation with a big grin and the following words:

"I'm sure you all want to hear me speak about my little disagreement with the Ayatollah Khomeini. Well, the only thing I can really say about that is that ONE of us is dead."

When the presentation was over, I snuck around to the back of the building where, lo and behold, Rushdie was casually standing on the sidewalk having a conversation. I waited for him to finish talking before shaking his hand and thanking him for his work and presentation. We didn't talk for very long - and his security guard told me that he wouldn't sign my copy of Midnight's Children - but I can still say four words that most people can't: "I met Salman Rushdie." Educate yourself about the man. He's royalty among smart-asses.

The End

That's pretty much the news for now, kids. Let me know what's up with all of you.


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