17 November 2005

A Play in Three Acts


Date: 1986.
Place: Nondescript public high school classroom in quiet midwestern town.
Scene: Ninth-grade chemistry class.
Characters: Philofaxer; Jeff.

Philofaxer and Jeff sit at a two-seat table at the rear of the classroom. Each is outfitted according to then-prevailing styles. Philofaxer wears a striped rugby shirt with a Polo symbol and stonewashed Levi's 501 jeans that his father purchased for him reluctantly, questioning why he should pay a premium for a red pocket tag, when K-Mart's "Rustler"-brand jeans were cheaper but just as well-made and durable. Jeff wears a cream cable-knit sweater with a dramatic v-neck and pleated khaki trousers. Underneath the sweater, a pink polo shirt. Below it all, burgundy penny loafers.

JEFF: I can't wait for college.


JEFF: You know the best thing about college? We can wear what we want.


JEFF: I'm going to wear a jacket and tie every day. In college, that doesn't make you a dork.

PHILOFAXER: Man, that would be awesome.

JEFF: And I'm going to carry a briefcase.

PHILOFAXER: Yeah, a briefcase. That will be SO slick.


Date: 1994.
Place: Bucolic college campus.
Scene: Decrepit den of iniquity, in which Philofaxer ekes out a pathetic existence among piles of filth and debris, sliding through his senior year of college in an alcohol-soaked fog.

Philofaxer wears a tattered Pixies tee-shirt and shorts manufactured by cutting the legs off a pair of ratty painter's pants. No briefcase is to be found; instead, ashtrays, empty beer bottles, and upended bags of Doritos are scattered about. Jeff is long gone. (Philofaxer hasn't seen him in years.) In his place, an unshaven, semi-drunk lump of near-humanity.

PHILOFAXER: Man, I love college.


PHILOFAXER: They're on the floor. There. And over there. And there's some under your shoe.

SEMI-DRUNK LUMP OF NEAR-HUMANITY: Are you going to class today?

PHILOFAXER: I really don't see why I should.

SEMI-DRUNK LUMP OF NEAR-HUMANITY: Neither do I. Hand me that Dorito that's stuck in your armpit.


Date: Today.
Place: Office.
Scene: Desk.

Philofaxer is typing out a stupid blog entry because he is bored. On the desk in front of him is a Filofax, open to a page of notes about potential blog entries. One potential blog entry says, "Piece about how Jeff and I thought we would wear jackets and ties every day in college, and carry briefcases. Note how that did not happen, but almost: now you keep a suit in your office and you carry a Filofax." Philofaxer contemplates the great arcs we carve through life, and finishes the stupid blog entry.



  1. You mean they let you wear a suit and carry a briefcase every single day?

    This reminds me of when wearing makeup seemed like something I wanted to do, whereas now that I frighten small children without it? Not so much.

    I hope the toting of a Filofax is on some level a comfort.


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