Archive for February, 2014

Dear AWP Program Directors:

I’m mystified by something that happened this morning. Please help me make sense of it.

One of you complained that prospective students often ask her this:

What job am I going to get?

The overwhelming majority of the rest of you laughed as if to say this:

Oh, how silly! Why would someone ask something so crazy?

She went on to lament “consumer culture.”

Wait just a hot second. Are students not consumers of a product, albeit an intangible one? In return for their money, time and effort, they earn a degree and, one hopes, a job.

Why is this bad?

I talked to the woman who made the comment. She said she got her M.F.A. because she is an artist. I said:

But don’t you want to get paid for your artwork?

Then I found out she is a poet. Oh. And she represents a poetry degree program. OH!

That explains her situation, but what about the rest of you? I appreciate art for art’s sake, but it is better when you can make a living doing what you like best. No?

This seems to me to be another example of AWP acting like an ostrich.

Weren’t you just talking about the rising cost of college and increasing student debt load? Don’t you want to help students get a job so that they can pay off the college education that helped them get a job?

I’m confused. Please help me understand.



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To Sir With Love

Dear Men:

I’ve been traveling more than usual lately, and I’ve had occasion to observe you without you knowing you are being observed. (No, we’re not talking about stalking; it’s called “people watching,” for Pete’s sake!)

I want to save you from yourselves. Here is a short list of things you like and that you seem to think women like. I promise that we don’t. (Yes, I know I’m generalizing. Stay with me here.)

Women don’t like:
1. Soul patches.
2. Clinging to the hair you think you have. (When in doubt, be boldly bald.)
3. Pants with pockets on your hips (i.e. Wrangler jeans). Are these supposed to make you look trim? They don’t.
4. Talking to women on planes when they clearly are involved in a rousing game of Candy Crush Saga.
5. Air guitar solos.
6. Pants that belt below the curve of your butt. Stop. It.
7. Accidental-on-purpose-I’m-just-scooting-past-you penis grazes.
8. Loud cell phone conversations where you dog a coworker for “responding poorly to the situation.” (We don’t think you are important. You just seem like a jerk.)
9. Waiting for the restroom on the plane with your crotch in their faces. Please turn away.
10. That awful frat boy hair. You know, this:


Here are some general things women DO like:
1. To be left alone on planes, in restaurants, at bars when they are by themselves playing Candy Crush Saga.
2. Quiet time on the airplane. (See No. 1.)
3. Personal space.
4. Not to be called “little lady.”
5. Wine.
6. The good chocolate. (Richart, for example. None of that Whitman’s crap.)
7. You, if you are interesting and have a good sense of humor.
8. But only if the woman appears to want to engage in conversation to find that out.
9. Seeing you clean the house, empty the dishwasher, and take out the trash (if the relationship progresses, of course).
10. Not being approached from behind when they are emptying the dishwasher.

I’m just trying to help you. Let me know if you need more advice.


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Hey Kids!

Auntie Beth has some cool tips for you to help you get through those nasty flight cancellations. Check ’em out!

1. When the agent at the so-called “elite” number can’t get you home until Sunday when you were supposed to be home Wednesday, say, “Sure, that’s fine!” to whatever she books. Then go talk to the gate agent.

2. Be nice to the gate agent. Joke that you are going to get all loud and obnoxious  if they can’t get you home sooner. Of course, you are just joking!

3. When that gate agent finds you a flight Saturday, say, “Thanks,” then tease that maybe the other agent can do a better job. Ha ha! Oh, we’re all friends here.

4. What the what?!? The other gate agent CAN do better and gets you on a flight Thursday. Yay! Thank that person (named Sean) profusely.

5. Remember to be nice: Gate agents named Sean can give you cool stuff like meal vouchers that restaurants may or may not use, taxi vouchers to Boston from Manchester, N.H., and travel vouchers to someplace wonderful during spring when there are no snow/ice delays.

6. Make sure to get a taxi driver who complains, “I don’t want to drive to Boston.” It’s better when he repeats that phrase every 10 minutes for an hour.

7. Share the cab with a similarly displaced traveler. You’ll make new friends while making sure the cabbie is less likely to dump you on the side of the road.

8. Use your meal vouchers for wine. Dull that pain of not being home with your long-suffering husband and kids.

9. Take some wine to go. You’ll need it in your hotel room when you only have Matt Lauer and Candy Crush to keep you company.

10. Wash your underwear in the sink. Come on, it will be fun! Channel the spirit of your inner pioneer woman.

Tune in next time when Auntie Beth gives you tips on surviving Logan airport during THE BIGGEST STORM OF THE CENTURY.

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