If I’m being honest, I’m not sharing the showcased article because I’m particularly enamoured by or proud of it. I do enjoy reminiscing over old words now again, though these words are significant only because this was my first article published in print. Winter 2005, if I remember correctly, age 22—back when friends and family used to cheer me on in seeming droves. Looking back, I’m inclined to change the title to, “Pick up your white trash.” Nonetheless, the headline I submitted landed a costarring role as the subtitle. It can be hit or miss with editorial staff. A good editor will finesse and improve prose. A bad editor, however, will litter your creative liberties with personal preferences. It’s a fine line we editors dance.
The editorial staff of The Martlet (UVic’s student newspaper) appreciated my sass so much that they asked me to write an article, after turning in this one, ripping on Michael Jackson. I lived in a basement suite on Catherine Street in Esquimalt at the time, infested with wolf spiders and mice. Mice would crawl into my bed with me while I slept at night and lay shits under my pillows. I would wake up to them scurrying away. We even found a bird stuck in the wall at one point during the four months of (I wish I could say) my one and only basement suite sojourn. We were just relieved to find a bird scratching the insides of the walls intermittently and not a rat.
I accepted the assignment initially and sat down at my Dell laptop one rainy winter evening to let the ripping begin. There, the proverbial blank page stood before me. I had nothing to say and realized for probably the millionth time that I’m selectively opinionated. I couldn’t, and still can’t, say too much about Michael Jackson the person, but I liked (and still like) his tunes. This is officially the first time I would turn down a byline.
Reading through an immature, sarcastic and relatively uncensored response to what I called “mutant pigs,” I can’t help but think I may have been working with what yogis refer to as devas, or nature angels. That’s right, the mischievous fairies, who are by no stretch of the imagination devoid of ego. Fairies, it’s been rumoured, haunt environmental rapists in their dreams. Note the subtle difference between sleep and dreams.
So, without further adieu… If you’d like to catch a glimpse of my past, read on.
Pick up your own filth
Warning: Mutant pigs are making their way into McKinnon Gym
by Jillian Lang
To pretend that we live in a classless society is a heinous crime. [Ladies & Gentlemen, the shot in the dark. Please read between the layers.]
I’m a student who spends hours upon hours of spare time working as a member of the events staff for the Vikes athletic department. [If only that sentence could fly… ] I only work at the games, so the following rant should not be construed as departmental opinion. However, it does also go for patrons of movie theatres and other public venues where large crowds of people [gather] and make messes.
Last Friday was my third shift taking tickets at a basketball game, and I decided to stick around late [to] help the rest of my team with gym cleanup. It was a particularly insane night because of the Pacific West playoffs. The UVic men played UBC and beat them. Good job, boys.
I’ve always known that people, in general, are pigs, but I didn’t realize the extent of it until that night. Imagine more than 2,000 people packed shoulder-to-shoulder in a your average gymnasium: men and women, boys and girls, teenagers and students—all of them eating, drinking and having an all-around gay time. Some are drunk, some unshowered, some haven’t changed their socks in over a decade. [Interjection: I’m thinking the exaggeration of the last statement must have been referring to an ex-boyfriend who wouldn’t shower or change his socks or his clothes for days, and then he would force sex on me. The loser called me a “jerkass” for ending the relationship on his favourite day of the year, Halloween. “You’re breaking up with me because I’m a nice guy,” he said.] To all of the hearty, happy, fun-filled people, I have this to say: ever heard of a fucking waste receptacle?
For those of you don’t comprehend English, I’m referring to the garbage can. You may have come across one in your wise years here on Earth. Hell, you might have one helplessly trapped within the confines of your home. They come in all different sizes and colours. Some have bags, some don’t. Some even have handy-dandy signs indicating their exact use. Also, a short while ago, some ingenious environmental nut invented a concept called “recycling” (I believe he got paid all of 5 cents for the patent). [That was a joke.] You know those blue, rectangular-shaped boxes that the city provides to homes? We’re supposed to use them for recycling materials like glass, bottles, cans and cardboard.
I didn’t have to get down on all fours to figure out that 21st-century Canadians living in one of the country’s most prestigious cities often mistake the floor for a waste receptacle. Either that or they figure the tuition they fork over to the Island’s top university guarantees them, at the very least, a personally tailored ass-wiping session at the end of each and every public sporting event. Also, since we, the events staff, earn a whopping $10 per hour to ensure a professional (they make us wear black pants now) yet entertaining evening, we might as well fancy ourselves with the ever-so-latent duty of picking up garbage. [Like we were condemned to community service or something.] While we’re at it, we can take care of the recycling, too. What the hell, hey?
Thankfully, the UVic men won Saturday’s game, sparing me the task of cleaning the gym three days in a row. [Proof that I’m always looking on the bright side.]
To close, I’d like to say a big “fuck you” to those of you who “forget” that you’ve spent $50 or so [I can’t get over how fair I am] on pizza, cookies, hotdogs, pop, chips, candy and popcorn, and then refuse to pick up after yourselves. [Telling people off without swearing at them: a hit and a miss.]
(Article above originally appeared in The Martlet c. 2005.)