Remembering Mr. Watkins: Stream of Consciousness Sentimentality for the Best Teacher I’ve Ever Had

I can’t remember the first time I met Mr. Watkins.

I know I was in 8th grade, and I know I was auditioning for a play. HIS play — that is, a play that he wrote. “The History of the World Parts I and II.” It wasn’t an adaptation of the Mel Brooks comedy, as my Comedy Central-addled brain thought it would be before I tried out, but rather, a musical farce of various points throughout history.

I was cast as Cleopatra and a character called Rene DeFarge (I think), who would pop up in the French Revolution scene. As the Queen of “Denial,” I took part in a “The $100,000 Pyramid” spoof scene, where another female character and I tried to convince our friend James Cave (I have no idea who his character was) to love us. We sang Melissa Etheridge’s “I’m the Only One” back and forth at him while pulling him across the stage. Did it come out of a dream? I don’t know. It was a weird, awesome show.

But I don’t remember what our first interaction was. I can’t call the moment up in my mind. What I do remember, though, is that our first meeting spawned a relationship that I’ll never forget and that helped me become the person I am today.

Gary Watkins — Mr. Watkins — died this morning from cancer. He was a 9th grade honors English teacher at Seneca Valley Intermediate High School, and when I walked into his classroom on the first day of school in 2002, I felt really special. Not only because this was honors English in high school, not only because I knew him from being in his play the year before, but because having Mr. Watkins’ class show up on your schedule was like getting an owl from Hogwarts. It was surrounded with myth and lore and the kind of magic that exists only in the conversations where people describe what the world is supposed to be like.

To say his class was like a scene from “The Dead Poets Society” would be to cheapen it by likening it to something so flat as a film, but if you want a point of reference, it’s a pretty good place to start.

In a year, we covered eons of literature, poetry, philosophy, history and grammar. We read Chaucer, Shakespeare, Yeats, Keats, Tennyson, Eliot — the list is endless. He threw foam swords at us and forced shy students to act out fight scenes from Romeo and Juliet. He had us dress up in togas and act like philosophers. He drilled facts into our head that he promised us we’d never forget — and we didn’t. (When was the Battle of Hastings? 1066, duh.) He quizzed us on grammar every week, and taught us that if you’re going to use a modifier, you put it right before the word you’re modifying. It’s only logical, after all.

There are a million more memories and facts from Watkins’ class that I would probably get wrong if I tried to recant them to you now. They swim in my brain in a warm, yellow, old book-hued haze that makes me happy and occasionally provides me with Jeopardy answers or annoying ways to correct people.

I can’t remember how I met Mr. Watkins, but what I do know is the impression he left on my life.

Walking in to Watkins’ class was nothing short of embracing the physical manifestation of all that could be. If people call him the best teacher they’ve ever had, it was because he had optimized his nine months with us to run like a well-oiled machine. He knew how to crack open the brain of sheltered, suburban baby and make him think about the world in a different way.

For a formerly shy, fat, nerdy girl who wanted nothing more than to escape the monotony of planned neighborhoods and soccer practices, watching Watkins wring every drop out of life was inspiring and eye-opening. Yes, there were people in the world who wanted to think — who wanted YOU to think — about beauty and love and passion. He let me believe that there is a value in the world in writing something good.

And more than that, he made me feel like I had something special in me.

One of Watkins’ famous tricks was remembering where every student he ever had sat in his class. And he didn’t organize us alphabetically. Like a real life sorting hat, he had some strange method for placing each of us that made me feel like he must have been able to see us at a protozoic level, even before we walked in the door.

And with that, he made us all a part of his perfect mess. He let us you know that WE could be philosophers or poets or novelists, and that we could do it with every ounce of burning blood in our bodies.

I walked out of his class always wanting to go back — and I did. I would sneak up to his door and lean myself against the frame and just listen to his lectures until he saw me standing there, winked at me and kept going.

I went through the rest of my education looking for something to make me feel the way that Watkins did — like I had something to prove and there was room in the world for it. I wanted to live my life that way, always fighting for the right thing, fighting to know as much as I could and to do whatever I did the best that I could. To take my part of his well-oiled machine and put it out into the world.

I never found another teacher that could live up to who Watkins was to me, and I don’t know if I’m living up to the idea that I thought he wanted us to be. But as I think about him today, I can only promise that I’ll keep trying.

I didn’t go to a charter school or a magnet school or a private school or a place that you’d find on a list of the best schools in the country that attracts teachers like Mr. Watkins. I went to a public school on a back country road in rural, small town western Pennsylvania. But inside that school there was a castle, and inside that castle was a jolly, fat-bellied king, with a brown-grey beard and a twinkle in his eye. He was kind and funny, unless you interrupted a really good story he was telling, then he would probably throw your pizza against the chalkboard. But he always came back to teach, to guide, to believe and to inspire.

For all the fire, love and passion he gave us, at least we know he went out with a bang, not a whimper.

—–

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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What the Multiverse Teaches Us About What’s Meant to Be

Welcome to the Multiverse

To say I have any knowledge about physics would be a lie. When someone says “physics,” what rattles around in my brain are some fuzzy images of trebuchets and equations on the board of my 11th grade physics class. Also, how hot my Physics of Sound professor was in college. Yes, mmm, physics.

But! I was thrown into a science-induced giddy-fit yesterday when I read about the mighty, mighty MULTIVERSE.

The multiverse (for those of you too lazy to click on a link and read a four-page article, sheesh) is the idea that space is made up, not simply of our UNIverse, but rather, a mind-boggling number of MULTIverses. Remember how we’re always like, “Oh man, how big is our universe? We’ll never know!” It’s just that over and over and over again, like a series of sneezes sprayed out over the vast expanse of space.

What’s even cooler is that we’re also pretty positive that space is expanding, so more and more multiverses could be popping up all the time.

Even cooler than that? These multiverses could be made up of completely different properties than our own. Gravity? Schmavity! They’ve got Señor Bean’s Wonder Force! Or, whatever.

The author does a great job of explaining the point that humans exist, and exist on earth, and exist on earth in this universe because the right ingredients were plopped into a habitable zone, just far enough away from the sun to not burn up, and just close enough to not freeze over (unless, of course, you live in Idaho). With multiverses, the possibility exists for multiple habitable zones.

All of this just ups the odds that other iterations of life exist, heck, maybe even other iterations of you and me are out there.

Now, I don’t know about you (because I’ve only really talked to my cat about this) but I think that idea of the multiverse may be disquieting to some people. Does it put a chink in the armor of religion? That’s up for you to mull over, everybody else.

What I think the multiverse DOES do is give us some more insight into our own choices. Here. In this verse.

What’s Meant to Be, Will Be

A thing I hate is when people answer a question with “What’s meant to be, will be.” As in:

Delilah: “Hey Mom, are me and Raul right for each other?”
Mom: “What’s meant to be, will be, honey.”

Why do I hate it? Because it’s a mystical distraction from a reasonable solution, and frankly, it’s just annoying. If I ask you a question, I’m looking for an answer, not the second line to a Dr. Seuss stanza.

See, what Mom is doing here is avoiding saying something more constructive, like, “I don’t know and I don’t care,” or “No, Raul is emotionally abusing you and this thing can only end badly.”

But not to worry, Moms Across America! The multiverse is here to help. Rather than diverting responsibility to the cosmos, we can look to them for inspiration.

If we can imagine that separate universes can exist throughout space, all where separate habitable zones exist, where life-or-something-like-it exists, we can image ourselves in much the same way: microcosms of a universe, with tons of crap swirling around inside of us, and just a few places where the right ingredients can strike fire.

It’s why some people on your little league softball team were good little sports and some of you just wanted to stay at home and dress up like Elton John and perform “Tiny Dancer” for your parents’ friends.

Instead of believing that things just “happen for a reason,” never knowing what that reason is and relegating life’s events to mystical happenstance, we can believe what we already know. That inside each of us are a few tiny planets where life, love and passion can grow.

But, unlike planets, the human psyche isn’t necessarily subject to the kind of crippling physical side effects that sending a man to Jupiter might provide. We can make decisions that are contrary to our logic, intuition and feelings, and come out unscathed — at least momentarily.

It is impossible, however, to escape the consequences of our actions, no matter how far down the line they come. It’s why a lot of marriages end in divorce. Or they don’t end and are full of lies and cheats and other unsavory bits. It’s why people have mid-life crises and buy weird stuff they always wish they had, like boobs and bikes.

We all know the feeling of something being “right” or “wrong.” Playing host to the parasite that gives you those wrong feelings might be a sign that you’re trying to give something life that just can’t live within you. Try as you might, you can’t erase the properties that make you up, at least not without some kind of supernova.

Instead of saying, “What’s meant to be, will be,” we SHOULD be saying, “Take a good hard look inside yourself, Delilah. Is Raul the kind of person you want to be with? If you don’t know, maybe now’s not the time for you to be in a relationship.”

But I’m sure you guys already knew this.

The Part I Always Get Hung Up On

What gets confusing is when you think you may have convinced yourself that what felt wrong was right and that you should be doing it anyway, because just like eating ice cream for dinner, what makes you momentarily happy might not make you happy for the rest of your life.

How you figure out those long-term things that are good for you without entirely putting your life on hold is one you might not be able to figure out until you hit that mid-life crisis. If anyone has any advice in how to actually find those habitable planets, I would be happy to hear it.

I’m Not There and I Miss You So Badly

I guess I’m supposed to take solace in the fact that I saw you at Christmas. That we were all together then. I guess it’s kind of comforting, but I’m having a hard time doing that. That was then, this is now.

I guess you wouldn’t really want me to feel that way, to want to come home, but that isn’t really the point, because you’re gone now. You didn’t want me to throw you a birthday party either, but I still really wanted to and I thought about it a lot. I never did. It makes me feel dumb for not taking the chance. I know that doesn’t matter now. I’m sorry.

Everyone said that they really loved you at the Villa. They said that you loved to decorate the place for holidays and help out with meals, until you couldn’t anymore. I didn’t know that part of you there. What I remember is watching you sneak Pirouette cookies from the bottom of your pajama drawer and eating them with you while I sat on a chair next to your bed. You probably didn’t need to hide them. I remember knowing that you probably kept my high school senior picture up on your windowsill because you liked it better when I had long hair. Maybe that’s not it, but wasn’t it a little bit? That makes me laugh. I remember your hands. Your skin was like gold filament or copper paper. I remember eating this Jello you didn’t want one time and thinking it was weird but doing it anyway because it probably made you happy.

I’m supposed to remember you, not like you were when you died, but like you were when you were most alive. Or at least those times that I knew. And those “better” times are all I do remember. My memories of you recently could be tabulated and graphed. They do nothing to match the eons of memories circling my mind, pumping through my heart, making me who I am. I am so grateful to have them.

I remember toads in the backyard, the smell of dirt, running in through the cellar door to get hosed off in the blue bathroom. I remember meatballs on forks and TV trays and the smell of parmesan cheese and fried zucchini. I remember the soft wooden clang of the sliding cabinet drawers in your headboard as I jumped on the bed in your blue, blue bedroom. I remember Andes mints and cherry cordials and those dinner mints with the little white sprinkles on the bottom. I remember polka in the brown basement, paint chipping off the uneven walls as we ran in circles on the cold floor, stopping only for those stoplight ornaments you had at the ends of your light pulls. Was everything a toy then? I remember finding Pop Pop’s things, still around the house. And even though I never knew him, I could build his sketch in my mind. I remember wondering how close I was.

Everyone says you’re with him now, on Valentine’s Day. I know I don’t believe in that, and I know you didn’t know that about me. But for you, at least, I can’t help wishing that it’s true.

I remember the picture of you and him on your wedding day. You were so beautiful. And he looks like my dad. Or the other way around, I guess. Your hair is thick and your face is thin and round and your eyes are bright and happy. Were you laughing? I would guess so. That’s how I remember you: beautiful, strong, and hopefully laughing. Also hopefully calling somebody a jackass.

I remember you most as someone that I want to be.

I remember you calling me Petunia and me crying because that’s not my name. You laughed at that and I remember feeling that I shouldn’t feel bad but I still did. I laugh about it now. I remember you singing to me. That always felt good. I remember you telling me I was your only granddaughter, and not really knowing what that meant to you yet. Will I?

I don’t have the money to come home and see you being dead. I feel like that’s what you might call it, because isn’t that what it is? I know, I know, you wouldn’t care. I know you would tell me that it didn’t matter. But I know I won’t get any more letters from you in the mail. I won’t have to worry about visiting you when I’m home. I can’t shake the feeling that this is the last time I’ll get to have a memory of you. From a million miles away, it’s really hard to do that. I’m not sorry that I feel that way, because you should have known — no matter how much you wanted to protest it, you made yourself one of the most important things in all of our lives.

I love you, Nunnie, and I miss you a million times.

An Unabashadly Adorable List of Things I Learned While I Was Home

So this year, I had the luxury of being able to fly across the country to be home for Christmas. The experience was wonderful, warm, and not entirely unlike some yellow-hued romcom starring Kate Hudson and a handsome guy.

Beyond that, it was Home. That idea means something different to each of us, but for me, it is a very specific set of feelings and identity. Growing up, I had the pleasure/misfortune of never having to move — my childhood, adolescence and embarrassing teenage years were simply split between my mom’s and my dad’s. I grew up with the same friends, doing the same things and revisiting the same places year after year, to the point where the paths in my brain are so comfortably worn in, I can travel to them anytime I want, without a plane. Finally getting to be home for the holidays after a year and a half afforded me the kind of contrast Newt Gingrich’s campaign managers can only wish they had. (Also I went to college with the girl who wrote that article. Deep reference.)

So, here they are: the seven things I think are true that I got to learn at home.

    1. Keep your friends close…
      You’re going to need them when your family gets boring. And having a group of people you can lovingly make fun of while they tell you every time you’re being annoying is the kind of closeness you can find only in those who have seen you at your best and — more frequently — at your worst. They will, however, delight in spending more time complaining about ordering the wrong appetizer than they will in filling  you in on exactly how you managed to buy so many drinks last night.
    2. …And your siblings closer.
      If friends are moving with you laterally through time, your siblings are doing so linearly. Middle children, you have the distinct benefit of not only seeing the mistakes you could make play out in front of you, but also, of instructing your younger sibling to not make the same mistakes you did. This goes for everything from saving money to not dating anyone your freshman year of college to not overusing tobacco products. *Ahem.*

      Siblings!

      We Three Bs: Bryan, Bret, Brittany (from left)

    3. Family is good. Really good.
      Make time in your life to reconnect with everybody — cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents. They let you step outside of yourself and hold a mirror up to you at the same time.
    4. Be happy for them, because they’re happy for you.
      So, maybe the cousin you got better grades than in middle school is going to make four times the amount of money you make, as soon as he takes his first breath outside of pharmacy school. At least you’re not going bald. It all balances out.
    5. Know when to speak up…
      If a family is supposed to be a group of people who care about one another and look out for their best interests, you have to know when it’s time to open your pie hole and put your foot down. The best thing to do is something we all learned in like, 5th grade: tell the person how his actions are making you feel. With the admonishments out of the way and your feelings on the table, it’s a whole lot easier to find that middle ground and potentially create positive change — if you really do care about each other.
    6. …And when to shut up.
      Maybe you know that one of your neighbors has breast cancer. It’s totally sad and unexpected, and it’s even more of a surprise when you and your brother see her and her husband walking around the neighborhood on Christmas morning. You say it’s great to see them again after such a long time and you ask them how they’re doing. “Good,” they say. “It’s the same old thing around here.” You smile and laugh and wish them a Merry Christmas — and let them enjoy their day.
    7. Love knows no distance.
      Whether it’s a niece who is finally old enough to remember your name, a best friend you haven’t seen in years or a grandmother you might never see again, if the love was there once it’ll be there again. Moreover, it was never gone, you just probably never think about it. I really believe that if you have a solid foundation with someone and haven’t done anything to smash it into tiny concrete bits, you can always go back there. It might take you some time, but you’ll find it again. If anything, I’d say that’s pretty good motivation to at least try. The feeling will be worth it if you do.

What’s weird and hard about all of this, is, like a movie, “Home” now comes to an end for me. It’s not something I can just rewind and watch again — I don’t get to just hop on a plane whenever I want and revisit these wonderful notions, all neatly packed into a visit spanning several days. The places, the people, and the feelings are all so tangible in those visits, but when I’m gone, they exist as shadows, blips on a radar, or that song you can’t get out of your head but don’t quite know all the words to. Groping in the dark, I find them, hold them for a moment and then they’re gone.

So what do we do — we “Homeless” — to keep all of those things alive? For me, it starts with recounting my list of seven. It will end when I see them all again.

Love you guys. Happy 2012.

Something Gross Happened to Me Today and I Cried

This week, I noticed a silver dollar-sized lump on my right shoulder. It was hard, uncomfortable and in the exact same place another had emerged five years ago, almost to the date. Quell your concerns that I’m cancerous: This baby was a sebaceous cyst. [WARNING: That link is gross and I am gross and ew, bodies. Anyway.] Basically I blame my greasy Italian genes for giving me a giant infected zit-like-thing on my back. I told you this was gross.

So after a few days of putting it off, I went to a doctor to have it removed. I’m going to keep the nasty details to a minimum, but feel free to change the channel now if you so desire (or keep reading and just don’t tell anybody, freaks).

I walked in to my local instant health clinic, and went to the receptionist. I gave her my name and THIS is when things started to get weird. She said, “Oh it looks like your account has been sent to collections.” Me: “Heh, oh, right, well I paid that like yesterday, so…” Her: “Okay, um, *looks at other receptionist on phone* just have a seat then.”

Turns out, I was RIGHT. I HAD paid my overdue account yesterday. So, raspberries to her! Then a male nurse practitioner or whatever called me in to an exam room. The lackadaisical pace of the waiting room was accelerated to “How many people can we make money off of in this hour?” speed, and in a minute, my blood pressure was taken by a female nurse and that guy nurse made a joke about my recurring cyst. “That little bugger! Hah, okay, put this gown on so we don’t get anything gross on your shirt and we’ll be right back!”  They tossed me a gown and I didn’t have time to ask if I should keep my pants on.

My thought process went like this: “This gown IS open in the back, but they DID say something about gross stuff and I definitely don’t want that on my pants, but what if they see my butt? Oh wait, there are a second set of lower ties. Problem solved.”

As I pantlessly tied that second set of ties, the door opened, the doctor gasped and flew backwards, shutting the door. “It’s okay!” I yelled. The guy nurse came back in and laughed at me. “You didn’t have to take your pants off!” he said. “I know! I just. I didn’t know! And so, I did, and now it’s weird! I’m sorry, I feel so weirdthisisweird,” I panted. “We’ll just get you a blanket,” he said.

Butt up, I lay down on the doctor bed. The doctor placed a pad next to me and it fell on my head. “This is my sterile zone, so try not to touch it,” he said. Check. He did some wiping motions on my shoulder and then went to stick me with something. Suddenly, stuff squirted everywhere. “Ah! Oh! Okay,” he tried again and liquid flew all over the room a second time. “Are we done?” I asked. “No that was just the anesthetic,” he said.

They got a scalpel and started to cut away at my shoulder. All I could feel was the picking sensation you get when you’re plucking a tough eyebrow hair. My face was buried in the gauze pillow, my toes were curled, I was biting my thumb and my eyes and nose are uncontrollably running like there’s any chance some part of me can get out of the room faster than the others.

Pluck, pluck, pluck. “Does this hurt?” the doctor asked. Pluck. “No,” I squirmed. “Well your toes seem to indicate otherwise,” he said. Pluck, pluck, pluck. “It just… *pluck* feels… *pluck* so… GROSS,” I squeal. The nurse guy grabs me a tissue and I try to stop myself from crying. Why the hell am I crying, you ask? I’m a weak-hearted woman, America, and I just can’t help myself.

They tell me that the “sac” (ew) has “ruptured” (EW) and the doctor is going to “pack” (EW?!?!?) my “shoulder” (ah). I’ll have to come back tomorrow and probably the next day, “and hopefully the gauze and pull the rest of that sac out of there,” the doctor said. EW.

“So I guess you probably don’t want to see what came out right?” the doctor asked.

“…No I’ll see it,” I said. It was like the biggest zit ever had popped onto gauze. Blood, pus and slimy, slimy sac. Yup. My body.

Then they left me like a broken woman, to put my pants back on and pull myself together. They informed me that I would also be getting a tetanus shot, but I forgot until the nurse knocked on the door again and I was still naked. He stuck me in the opposite shoulder and told me it would hurt tomorrow. He left again, I cried more and wiped the mascara off of my cheeks.

Feeling disgusting, bewildered and not unlike a cigarette butt, I stumbled out to my Jeep and drove to TJ Maxx. Out of some personal doubt and gross feeling, I bought two new bras. One of them is purple. Hopefully they do not infect my shoulder.

The end.

Oops, Zoinks, Needlezooks: Jamie’s Mom Is Here!

Hey Ya’ll! (I said that in Paula Deen’s voice.) Jamie’s mom is here this week, and that means I’ve been too busy to write something for you. So deal with it. SomeTIMES moms are more important than blogs. Get it?

While you wait with joyful hope for the coming of our savior my next blog post, take a look at these shredding pictures taken by Mary Beth Isle, my producer Brandon’s awesome wife. They’re from the 5K FoamFest that a group of us ran last weekend, the most grueling three miles of my life. After running the whole race/obstacle course of mud pits, sand hell and giant wooden walls, you have to slide through this inflatable trough of foam. You’re not supposed to ingest it, but inevitably you do, rendering all your avoidance of BPA null and void. What is foam made of?!?! My taste buds tell me it’s plastic death.

See you next week when we’ll talk about why frozen pizza is an unavoidable evil.

Jeffraaay Cannon emerges triumphantly, lungs full o' foam

Me walking through the second foam run, yelling indignantly

CRAWLING THROUGH THE MUD PITS WHY

Brandon and I "fighting for nobility" through the mud. We were all winners that day.

Someone Explain To Me Why Jenna Marbles Is Funny

Jenna Marbles. What is she? People post her videos on Facebook and tell me she’s HIGH-LARIOUS. I watch them. Then I want to die.

It’s like, “AHHH!” *Collapse*

Self-Referential!!

At first, it was just that stupid “Give ’em the face!” video, that played off of my generation’s weird, dumb obsession with “awkward” things being HIGH-LARIOUS. Like, “Omg that’s SO awks! I’m laughing only because I don’t know how to interact with peoplez. Whoopsie!” Didn’t you guys see Funny Bot? Get over it. Also, I think it was supposed to be funny because she’s a pretty girl doing something unconventional and “ugly.” Which is great and all — I for one hope more pretty people start making themselves ugly — but neglects the fact that there are actual unfortunate looking people out there making actually funny jokes. Which highlights a bigger issue about female comics needing to also be “hot” or else they fade from the spotlight. Remember Rachael Dratch??? REMEMBER!??!?!

But I digress. Back to writing in the style of Jenna.

Also, it was a funny face joke. I’m pretty sure I stopped laughing at those when I was potty trained. PRETTY SURE.

“Mamma! Daddy! Pee pee!”

I saw once when I was up at 4 a.m. doing my JOB like an AMURRIKAN that some morning show did some story on her. It was this.

I just watched the story again, and I’m all, “HOLD THE PHONE… WHATZ??!!” Jenna Marbles is crusading against grinding?? THAT’S what this is? Call me crazy…

“WEEEE!”

…but I find that hard to believe.

Cause like, that’s a pretty lofty goal for an Internet video. The reporter goes on to ask a panel of normal looking women and ONE WEIRD NERD what the club scene is like.

They say they get ground on like, every night, but NOT ONE has thrown out “All The Marbles” and given a guy The Face. The weird dude says it would probably be pretty effective. I’m pretty sure this is the closest he’s ever been to an actual woman.

“Uh hey, do any of you wanna like, grind right here? We could. Make an example. For the cameras.”
“EW NO YUCKY!”

So I guess my point is, I don’t understand the point of the story. Jenna Marbles is fighting a crusade against grinding, but no one would EVER actually do her face, and grinding is like A MILLION YEARS OLD. This is a story? I don’t. Whatever.

“Awks! Whoopsie! *Slide whistle*”

And secondly, the video is obviously a joke. A sarcastic take on club life. A slap in the face to women who are just supposed to shut up and back it up. I get it. I know. This is the same with all of Jenna’s videos. They’re supposed to be ridiculous. They’re supposed to be SUPER sardonic. They are actually cut by Edward Scissorhands.

We’re supposed to say, “Oh isn’t that so funny? She’s being unconventional and is also hot.” It’s like when a popular girl makes an awful joke and people still laugh.

“It’s like, then my jeans ripped at the knee and people could TOTALLY see that I have skin under there.”

But Jenna’s material and style just feels old to me. It feels recycled. I think these are all things I’ve laughed about before with other people, and now you’re just putting them on YouTube with fast cuts to funny faces and weird sounds and I’m supposed to think you’re a comic genius? Pardon me for having taste, but just because you put something on YouTube doesn’t make it innovative. C’mon guys, step it up a little. You don’t have to think its funny just because someone says you should. I just have this grating feeling in my soul that, by laughing, we’re all doing something wrong. Something terribly, terribly wrong.

So please, anyone, tell me: Why is this funny?