Friday, April 08, 2005

My Villanova talk

So I went back to my alma mater Wednesday and gave a talk sponsored by the Writers Club and the Concentration in Writing and Rhetoric.

First off, let me complain that we didn't even have such a concentration when I was there. We had "English major." We weren't allowed to concentrate. So I didn't, mostly. English was my third (but not final) major at Villanova.

I remember my undergraduate years as one long unofficial sleep deprivation experiment, so I was pleased to find out that the Falvey Memorial Library now has a coffee shop (I think it's called the Holy Grounds, but that may be the other coffee shop on campus).

When I was at Villanova, our late-night coffee options consisted of the vending machine off the computer room in Mendel Hall. It dispensed those little cups that had poker hands on them, where the first four cards are on the side and the last card is written in tiny letters on the bottom rim. If you're curious and not too awake, you may make the mistake of holding the cup full of boiling water over your head to see what your hole card is. Overall, it was better to spill it on your forehead than actually drink it.

Another mistake I didn't have to make twice was purchasing a cup of chicken noodle soup from this vending machine. I'm still excreting the sodium fifteen years later.

I remember during finals the school would pay for Dunkin Donuts to come and provide doughnuts and coffee for free all evening. Those were good times. Good times.

Anyway, my talk went pretty well, I guess. It was a nice-sized crowd, meaning not so small it was humiliating and not so big to make me nervous. People asked intriguing questions, some of which I even had answers to.

In the middle of the talk, one of the English profs told everyone that my books were hysterically funny, not realizing I was about to read a passage that was 100% Not Funny. Crowds just love the old bait 'n' switch.


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Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

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