Piet Mondrian, Computer Geek? Masculine!

Whenever you are propositioned by another man on a bus, it is usually a sign of times to come. Often, it means that the other man is gay. Sometimes it leads to Barbara Streisand. It occasionally leads to Judy Garland. Today, it led to black squares.

Today was a fairly typical day for me. I boarded the bus as usual, so I could go to school. This is important to me. School, in fact, is the only way that I can get a job in the future, assuming that by then I will be under the control of a 13-year-old boy named Xi Juangdi who currently lives in China. I will likely be making gruel for lonely coal miners, just so you know.

The thing about a bus is that it is full of people, many of whom are clearly “out of their gourd”, in that they are the type of people who would want to go out with me. This right here is one of the many criteria I use to find potential mates. If a person likes me, it is a sure sign that they would also like things like Van Halen, and might even vote for John McCain, or (God forbid) Ralph Nader, and this is something I cannot tolerate.

Today, though, I will not talk about being propositioned by a man on the bus, because he was joking, as far as I know. What I will talk about is the aftermath, which was much worse.

My first class on Tuesdays is Macroeconomics. For those of you who don’t know, macroeconomics entails dealing with lots and lots of money, which is why I chose to take the class in the first place. The name comes from two words: Macro, meaning “the study of”, and “Economics,” meaning “lots of nations with names like China and India that are going to take all of our jobs and women and eventually roast General Motors President Rick Wagoner on an unusually large spit.” As is usual in this class, there was an argument between the teacher and a student who I will refer to as “Obnoxious Orange Sherbet Man.” I call him this because he always wears a bright orange striped T-shirt, so that his overall fashion statement appears to be “I wish I were a Creamsicle”. The conversation, as far as I remember it, went as follows:

  • Teacher: Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah I’m an economist and I don’t use morals to make economic decisions, SLAVERY MAKES SENSE FROM AN ECONOMIC blah blah
  • Obnoxious Orange Sherbet Man: Blah blah taking our jobs blah blah poor Maytag workers in blah blah Chinese blah blah Third World blah blah

This conversation only lasted until the end of class, which in macroeconomics is something of a huge success. Unfortunately for me, the bigger challenge was only to begin.

My next class was Art Studio 2D, which involves looking at a great many pictures of colored rectangles and trying to figure out whether you like the rectangles or not. This does not sound difficult (“The orange one disgusts me, as it reminds me of orange sherbet”), but it is in fact quite the challenge, according to our art teacher, who I am obliged to mention is from San Francisco. Our art teacher discussed, as just one example, Piet Mondrian, whose paintings all look as if a laboratory scientist was magnifying circuit boards five thousand times their actual size, but small colorful insects that just happened to be square kept getting in the way of his lens.

Challenge: See if you can find information on Piet Mondrian. Pay special attention to any time he spent in a microprocessor lab, and whether the French government was investing in genetically engineering geometrically-square mosquitoes. This would have to occur around 1919. If so, you might have what it takes to write a bestselling exposé on great Dutch artists.

The real challenge for me, today, was after the teacher was done with showing us pictures of magnified graph paper. Now, she expected us to make our own little paintings. She called them “Four Black Square” paintings.

-The Concept of a Four Black Squares painting-

1. First, you must make four black squares of equal size.

2. Then, you have to arrange them to illustrate certain artistic concepts. For example, to illustrate congestion,

With tension, you might use a different approach:

And, of course, to illustrate a concept like playfulness, you would

You should take into account proper perspective and line qualities, of course.

Now, that all seems well and good, but I would end up, as usual, unable to finish the entire project in class, and that meant I’d have to take my unfinished drawings on the bus with me. Now, we are not dealing with notebook paper here. We are dealing with at least medium grade drawing paper, which is therefore by my estimate the most expensive paper I have ever used in my entire life. Excepting, of course, the special paper I needed for an architecture project, which would only have been justified in price had it been imported via first-class mail from Taiwan, but this was close. Plus, it had the collective scribblings of an entire Sharpie pen on it, which is at least four dollars and several exhausting minutes of labor.

So, basically, if I got anything on these pictures, I would be left with no choice but to commit ritual seppuku. I did not want to do this. But I knew I might have to.

I almost felt like I was in a video game. The screen would go black, and a single phrase would appear on screen:

MISSION OBJECTIVE I: GET PAINTINGS HOME WITHOUT SPILLING STUFF ON THEM

This would prove difficult, as I was dealing with Albuquerque buses here, which are notorious for erupting into spontaneous bloody gunfights and projectile-vomiting wars. I tried to figure out what I could do in case of an emergency, and finally came up with solution I saw another person at the bus stop use, namely, take off my shirt, sit back and roll a cigarette. That would solve my anxiety problem. Then I’d commit ritual seppuku.

And then the screen would go black, and two phrases would appear:

MISSION COMPLETE. YOU ARE NOW DEAD.

Unfortunately, I wound up getting all the way home alive, and that meant I’d wind up playing Super Smash Brothers Brawl with my cousin, Josh, and this would mean I would have to kill him, because he would end up winning every match. Although I am good at many video games (such as Wii Bowling) I am very bad at fighting, whether in real life or in a video game. Whenever my uncle comes over and pretends as if he’s about to hit me on the shoulder, as just one example, I jump and crawl into a fetal position and scream like a little girl and start whimpering unintelligibly for the next minute or so. This is what is known as a “Fight or flight” response by psychologists. In my case, it is more like “Fight or scream like a little Japanese schoolgirl in a horror movie”, but whatever. Same difference.

Anyway, in the end, we all laughed at me for being so wussy, and for using the word “masculine” as an interjection, and my cousin left to celebrate the rest of his birthday, because I had not killed him, because I was afraid of having to see blood. And thus does another day begin. One in which I will learn how the solar system was formed. I’m assuming it involves flatulence.

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One Response to “Piet Mondrian, Computer Geek? Masculine!”

  1. Clay Atlas Says:

    The use of Erkel as your four squares is hilarious. So is your version of the fight or flight reaction. I’m probably in the same boat, except that I do well in fighting video games, especially Smash.


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