Good Thing Tears Make a Good Lubricant

Punch Bowl sophomore Andres Gonzalez shares his writing process in his columnist debut.

After spending freshman year locked in the Soviet mining company of Gregory College House, mindlessly wasting my time playing video games, reading comic books, and studying (just kidding, I’m in the College), I decided to go out into the world my sophomore year and actually get to know Penn.

I went to the activities fair, not knowing what viable skills or talents I had, but I took a brightly colored magazine from an obviously circumcised young man. I read that copy of The Punch Bowl, and thought that I, too, could write comedy Gould.

I adventured to Houston Market, where I have noticed that many people congregate. I decided to get the buzz around Penn, and maybe get some ideas for a humor column. Here are a few notes from the conversations I had with people I saw there.

My first target was an overweight, young buck-eyed woman with a beard that would make Hemingway blush.

Me: Hello, my name’s Andres and I’m trying to –

Houston Market Worker: I don’t care, whatcha want?

Me: I’m trying to get some ideas for a column for –

Worker: I’m trying to not get fired. Whatcha want?

Me: I’m writing a column for the Punch Bowl and I –

Worker: Well I don’t serve no damn punch. Order a damn pasta or get the fuck out of line.

Me: Fine, be that way. I’m just trying to –

Worker: Out! Just get out of line. I don’t want to hear your damn life story, I just want to get this line down.

Me: Alright, I’ll leave!

At this moment, a roar of applause was heard, as I slipped and stumbled out of line triumphantly.

I walked up the stairs, and I was smitten. A beautiful blonde with a perfect smile and an air of power was sitting alone in a corner.

Me: Hi, my name’s Andres and I’m…

She then took off her headphones.

Me: …trying to be funny for the ladies because of my fear of breaded shrimp.

Girl: You were telling me something?

Me: Yeah, I wanted to make conversation for a comedy piece.

(Awkward staring)

(Awkward silence)

Me: Um, do you have a funny story about something at Penn?

She scoffed.

Me: I think I’m going to make conversation somewhere else.

She rolled her eyes at me and I walked away.

I still love you, Amy G.

My third encounter didn’t go so well.

Me: Hello, my name’s Andres I’m trying to write a column for —

Preppy guy: Listen, my parents don’t pay money for me to talk to the help

Me: But I’m not –

Guy: Listen, just make my wrap, no beans please, and leave me alone.

Me: I’m actually trying to write a comedy column for a magazine–

Guy: Just let them run a picture of your dick.

Me: Ooh, that’s edgy. You think they’ll run that?

Guy: Dude, just stop.

He went on his iphone and I walked away.

(And that’s the story of how the Punch Bowl published its first uncircumcised penis)

I decided that one-on-one conversation wasn’t working, so I sat down in a group of what I presumed to be athletes.

Me: Hello, my name’s –

Big Fella 1: Bro, you’re like totally sitting on my lap, mind getting off?

Me: My bad, I’m trying to write –

Big Fella 2: Pull up a chair if you want to sit with us

Big Fella 1: Dude, that was weird. You write for the paper or something?

Me: Nah, I’m actually just trying –

Big Fella 3: Hey man, those aren’t your fries!

Me: I’m just trying to make conversation! Please don’t break me in half.

Big Fella 3: Just don’t eat food that isn’t yours.

Me: You don’t eat food that isn’t yours!

He didn’t really have a comeback for that.

The last person I could tell was not from this part of the world.

Me: Hi, my name’s Andres and I’m trying to write –

I couldn’t tell what language she was speaking, so I nodded politely.

Me: Uh, okay, that’s real interesting.

She continued in her native language.

Me, trying to keep my cool: That’s real interesting.

Out of nowhere, she gave me her number.

I knew to quit when my luck got good, so I made a gesture that I needed to go.

She smiled and gave me a wink.

I left Houston Hall, looked at my notes, and noticed that none of that was funny, except maybe that last conversation. Come to think of it, her area code wasn’t international. Come to think of it, she may have been speaking English. Come to think of it, I think she was flirting. I had just never heard the “Long Island” dialect before.

I went back to my dorm, and cried. Good thing tears make good lubricant.

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