When you miss a 34th Street editor's meeting, one of your co-editors will think it's funny to tell everyone you're writing a column about life, so then you have to write a column about life.

This column, everyone, is about life.

I've only attempted something so ambitious once before. I wrote a tender and provocative op-ed for my high school newspaper. It was all about how everyone wants to stand by and look at the burning village, until it's their own house that's on fire.

To illustrate my point, I wrote about this Russian bungalow colony in the Catskills where I spent summers with my Russian grandparents when I was a young Russian. It was totally secluded -- and by secluded I mean surrounded by Amish -- so it was a tight-knit, cooperative community. The men went fishing, the women wore head rags and crocheted blankets and the children pelted each other with grasshoppers. It was all very Utopian.

Plus it connected back to the burning village thing because the whole place burned down a few years ago.

At that point, I had gotten to the place in the op-ed where it was time to rally my readers for a cause. I was confident that I had their attention. What came before was as poetic and high-minded as I had hoped, but right then, I lost it. I wasn't really sure what to advocate.

So I let it sit overnight. And forgot about it.

When the newspaper came out, my article was there. Right after the part where I implored my readers to do something, it read: "Readers, I implore you to do something. Them squirrels gotta' front!" And there was a big picture of a squirrel with a mouth full of nuts. My co-editor back then also had a sense of humor, apparently.

The confusion over the squirrel op-ed generated support for a student activist group that had lately started protesting my media domination.

The group, whose name was Jared Woodford, was named for my arch nemesis, swim team captain Jared Woodford. Jared Woodford was in my calculus class and every day he would put my graphing calculator down his pants. It was widely known that Jared Woodford did not wear underwear.

I had written a profile of Jared Woodford for the newspaper because he was swim team captain and my arch nemesis, and the newspaper sponsor thought it would be an interesting angle. In the article, Jared Woodford was quoted as saying rather inflammatory things about the feminist club. I was president of the feminist club, so I wrote a letter to the editor of the high school newspaper on behalf of the feminist club, expressing the club's dissatisfaction with what Jared Woodford had to say. I was also editor of the high school newspaper.

Jared Woodford protested this media domination with a public act of defiance, in which Jared Woodford once again put my graphing calculator down his pants. I sprayed it with Lysol, and it was ok.

Nothing else happened because life is boring like that, but life is what you write about when one of your co-editors tells everyone that you are writing a column about life.


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