Thursday Essay: Dirty Underwear and Burger King Coupons

By Matt Lawson
 During the summer when I wake up in a dark and smoky room surrounded by clueless, unbathed, peers desperate for a shave and some clean underwear, I think, “Who stole my Burger King coupon?” Sadly, the same shady characters make it to the first day of class and I think, “Who can I cheat off?”
 Hello all, I’m Matt “Didn’t mean to hit your parked car” Martin, and welcome back to school. Yes, all of the crones, ogres, and educators of yore, have gathered to make sure we remember what exactly a gerund is and how it will never be useful four months from now. Either way, we must fold up our lawn chairs, break out our flasks disguised as belt buckles, brush our teeth, and save our flatulence for alone time, because school is in and being a bum is out. But let’s try to look at this on the positive side. I mean, why mope around campus like Eeyores when we could be a bunch of Tiggers!!!
 Sorry about that, my sister, Matilda “I need attention” Martin, just had her second child and Winnie the Pooh references are unavoidable in the Martin household. Anyhoo, there are plenty of good reasons to keep the summer spirit in during these first few weeks of school.  First off, you will have no trouble finding something to do anytime or day of the week. With school in comes around the clock anarchy, and from looting parked cars to shopping in malls, studying ardently or beating that video game again. Now is the time to do it all, be ubiquitous, and not feel lonely.
 Secondly: Frat and Sorority initiations. If you like bold partial nudity that threatens American values, drinking alcohol out of objects you wouldn’t clean a toilet with, and paying for friends, welcome to the jungle. You may think that this should coincide with point one up there, but this group activity requires a lot less thought. Here all you have to do is hug people, smile, write out false checks, occasionally go to class and occasionally go to jail.
 Thirdly: Free yoga classes on campus start Wednesday…so let’s do something about it.
 Fourthly: The dorms are open, hell yeah. They are 10 story toilets that sell everything from old syllabi to burned DVD’s and fake ID’s. Enjoy the dorms while you can. It won’t be long before you can only relieve yourself in “distinguished areas”. Also, never underestimate the convenience of Mini Fridges or your roommate’s computer for downloading whatever you desire without having to worry about those pesky viruses or computer hackers.
 Fifthly, you can hit your parents up for money without feeling as guilty. Everyone needs books, even film majors.  Everyone needs book bags, clothes, a meal plan…and other excuses to scrimp together enough money to support smoking and drinking habbits.
 Sixthly, let’s not lie to ourselves, college is the only decent place to meet college aged members of the opposite sex.  Sure, there are a few outliers in group, from Joe, the retired man in my poetry class whose first poem was call “My Wife’s Underwear”, to Silas, the 12 year old ginger kid who descended from Einstein.   And calls me a pussy when I walk by. But trust me,  if there are these “under aged” girls on my campus, I’ve never met them.
 Honest.
 Finally and this is my favorite part of the school year, people handing out those little coupon booklets with over 500 dollars in savings. I still savor mine from last year, it recently saved me $20 on a pair of tires.
 In conclusion…by the end of this semester, I hope I know how to write a conclusion or at least know someone who can do it for me.
 
 Matt Lawson…er, “Matt Martin” is the editor of Hennen’s print publication.  When he isn’t editing stories or doing layout, he can be found chugging brews with his bros…er, family.  Honest.
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Stick a Fork in It, the Roast is Done

By Megan Robb

If only my scanner worked. I’d have notebook pages full of scribbling and soup stains to show you. I originally planned on writing an essay about the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen that discussed the ever-blurring definitions of entertainment, celebrity, and reality. Instead I wrote seven pages worth of stream of conscious commentary while I watched the show, but in their own way, they do cover the topics I intended to write about in essay form.

Here’s what I consider the best of the rundown. I really did use all lowercase letters. Think of it as an e.e. cummings-style poem, kind of like my Ten O’Clock News one from last week:

really this needed a preshow do I really want to fuel this guy’s delusions it’s got to be all an act by now look at the difference btw wall street + recent it has to be an act by now this is a sad and interesting montage forgot all about ferris beuller i wish they could just roast him w/o him being there or getting any pleasure from it well look who put on a suit instead of a catch phrase t-shirt it’s sad the double standard if he was a woman being crazy taking drugs he’d never be successful they’d call him slut whore Lindsay…

love me some [jon] lovitz he’s a national treasure

brooke mueller’s so drunk is that ben kingsley

j. depp looks like sheen in the rum diary trailer intended? yes

hey jeff [ross], seth [macfarlane] made the same joke and now he’s floundering just say balls enough times and maybe someone will laugh oh wait he’s saving himself and he goes back down wow I knew the punchline before he even said it

is that dog the bounty hunter? whoever said this was a pathetic line-up was right
commercials: axe spray energy shot beef jerky I would love to see a tampon commercial right now

why is tyson swinging his arms around I doubt his literacy oh no he keeps trying to button his jacket it’s not working his hands are jittery I don’t even know what he’s saying oh that was good I wish I’d bitten my own ears off tyson’s a mouth breather

steve- o wow he has clothes on it’s funny when the roast is more about tyson at least steve-o looks good not sexy good but 1950s clean-ish good.
[william] shatner is a glazed ham a wonderful glazed ham

patrice [o’neal] may be the soberest guy in the room steve-o is high on piety

sheen’s good, I have to hand it to him but I hope he goes away for a while all right wrap it up, wonder what the sheen/estevez family dynamic is like seems sad + strained and it’s over well it wasn’t terrible can’t say anything else eye of the tiger is a really good song.

…And there you have it. It may look like the ramblings of a drunk, but it wasn’t. I just couldn’t wait to go to bed. That’s just what watching Charlie Sheen and some other current and former addicts on a stage will do to you.

 Contributing writer Megan Robb is a writer, consultant and editor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her articles can be found at divot.com, wordhusterink.com, and cracked.com, as well as her personal website, megan-robb-writer.webs.com

New Directions And Killer Clowns

Hey writers and lit geeks!

John Winn here.  I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted to the blog.  Between the various business meetings, research assignments  and Tweets I’ve sent out these last several weeks, I haven’t been able to write as much as I hoped.  Without Megan Robb’s passion and enthusiasm these past few weeks, we would be lost.  I may have to watch out or she’ll have my head if I’m not careful (Just kidding Megan–you’re awesome).  Give her a round of applause–I think she’s earned it.

Recently, Joshua and I have made a  series of strategic decisions to take the blog in a new direction.  Effective immediately, we will be focusing exclusively on comedy and humor. In contrast to the main website, The Week in Review will offer up a series of satirical essays, parodies, burlesque, wit and anything else smart alecks can think of.  As we like to call it “A slice of levity with a side of bacon”.  Our focus has changed, but our mission will remain the same–offering quality poetry and prose , and yes, humor.

The staff will largely stay the same, with me and Joshua in a sort of editor in chief role setting the tone of the blog, if you will.  Megan will continue doing her Megan thing, and we’ll continue to tweet articles as they arrive.

FYI, if you have any story ideas, please feel free to Josh or myself at  joshuahennen@hennensobserver.com. or highpointpanther@aol.com.

But you better be funny, or the clowns will eat you.

Social Media Coordinator (and managing editor) John Winn is Hennen’s Twitterer in Chief.  In addition to writing for Hennen’s, His work has been featured in A Twist of Noir, Lightning Flash, Racket Magazine, and plenty of other online magazines.  He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Poetry: Ten O’Clock News

By Megan Robb

I wish I could say it was hand delivered a letter that slipped between my fingers and onto the floor where the broken news lay in jagged fragments around me as I raised my hands to my face and fell forward to my knees in one slow fluid grieving motion like some archaic ballet tragedy I wish I could claim a conclusive flourish worthy of a stage to accompany everything I could never say but instead I blinked at unfeeling images on a screen a typically unsatisfying performance of reality a strangely choreographed dance.

 Contributing writer Megan Robb is a writer, consultant and editor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her articles can be found at divot.com, wordhusterink.com, and cracked.com, as well as her personal website, megan-robb-writer.webs.com

 

When Everything Just Got Weird

By Megan Robb

To be honest, I wasn’t planning on writing an essay commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Then, while I was watching my beloved Jersey Shore, MTV kept airing a commercial asking “What will you do this 9/11?” Even Pauly D was going to do something. I think he said he was going to call everyone he knows in New York City. I could have done that, but none of the people I know that now live in the city were there on September 11th, 2001. Most of them in the same place I was when it happened: at school.

I was taking a test in my history class, of all subjects, when my teacher was called out of the room. He came back and told us that a plane had just crashed into one of the Twin Towers. I finished my test, the bell rang, and I went to my next class.

We were supposed to go about the school day as if nothing had happened. A few teachers had borrowed TVs from the library and their classes watched the coverage. They spread the news to the rest of us. Throughout the day I felt this mix of detachment and mild resentment. It was ridiculous to pretend that our world hadn’t just come crashing down. I can’t blame any of the faculty for trying to keep the day as routine as possible. They were just as confused as everyone else. The entire nation didn’t know how to handle what had just happened. It was a little like my memories of when I was six and my grandfather died: things were going on that weren’t quite clear, adults were acting differently, and no one was really sure of anything.

My math class was the only one I had where there was no attempt at normalcy. My teacher, though young, had lived in the city for most of her life and she recounted her memories of what was now gone forever. I think the rest of the class was supposed to participate and make it a discussion but no one else had much to say. Instead, we had the shared experience of watching her grieve. Meanwhile, kids lined up wherever there was a phone so that they could call their parents who worked in the city, or their family members who lived there. A lot of kids didn’t have cell phones then. I remember wishing I had someone to call. That sounds terrible now, but I needed some shot of reality to break up the emotional haze that blanketed every classroom, hallway, and stairwell.

The strangest part was how close we were to the tragedy and yet how far I felt from it. My school was about two hours from Ground Zero, but it could have been on another planet as far as I was concerned. It only got worse. The more information surfaced, the more the distance increased. It didn’t help that I didn’t know anyone personally who lost loved ones on September 11th, 2001. I felt guilty about it for years until I realized that my detachment didn’t destroy my empathy. Sometimes it’s best just to be there while other people are mourning; to let them feel their own pain without feeling alone. I don’t know if my math teacher felt any better sharing her memories with a silent class, but I know it’s the best thing I could have done at the time. It was the only logical thing to do on the day when everything stopped making sense.

So there you have it: Jersey Shore actually made me think.

Contributing writer Megan Robb is a writer, consultant and editor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her articles can be found at divot.com, wordhusterink.com, and cracked.com, as well as her personal website, megan-robb-writer.webs.com

Distance and Perspective

By Megan Robb

My visit to the Hillsborough DMV is the result of an inaccuracy from Google Maps. The results list told me that it was the closest DMV to where I was in Raleigh. It turned out that there was one about 10 minutes from my apartment that Google didn’t catch. Instead, I made a 45-minute trek just so I could fail my written test by one question.

Raleigh is a substantial city, especially when you combine it with Durham, which is very close to it. I’m hesitant to make generalizations, but from what I’ve seen, it’s not a city made up of ancient apartment buildings stacked on top of each other like New York. It doesn’t stay fixed in place like Syracuse. Raleigh builds, but it doesn’t build upwards. It builds outwards.

The Hillsborough DMV is in a more obscure area, even within the town itself. Traveling from Raleigh to Hillsborough is like taking a wrong turn from Syracuse: before you know it, you’re in the middle of nowhere. The only difference is that there are hills around Syracuse, while the Hillsborough DMV is on a rather hill-less stretch of highway that goes straight ahead to the horizon. It’s a lesson in perspective. It’s also an interesting drive, particularly if you’re car-less and not used to driving that far.

In fact, I was driving to the DMV in the first place so I could get my North Carolina state license and thus be eligible to get my own car. I passed the test at the DMV that really was the one closest to me, but I returned to the Hillsborough one recently just to see it in a familiar context. I headed toward the vanishing point with confidence. I knew where I was.

Contributing writer Megan Robb is a writer, consultant and editor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her articles can be found at divot.com, wordhusterink.com, and cracked.com, as well as her personal website, megan-robb-writer.webs.com

The Rat Dream

By Megan Robb

Two rats came running out of the cupboard

Shiny and sleek like the ones who scurry

In sinister pictures of the Black Plague

My panicked Spanish struggled through the phone

Ratas! Cocina! Pronto! Ayuda!”

Exterminator came all dressed in white

He finished his work and was almost gone

A third rat scrambled out of the cupboard

Brown like the New York City rats that race

From Woodlawn to Coney Island and then

Feverishly back again by nightfall

Except this one had close-set eyes and wore

A tiny T-shirt like a Disney mouse

No mates!” I cried. “This one is different

It’s American. It’s like me, señor.

Exterminator asked, “Is the rat yours?”

“Well, no,” I told him. “Well, miss,” he told me

“A rat is a rat

Especially one

Crawling in cupboards.”

He took him away

Nothing more to say.

Contributing writer Megan Robb is a writer, consultant and editor living in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her articles can be found at divot.com, wordhusterink.com, and cracked.com, as well as her personal website, megan-robb-writer.webs.com