IF YOU REALLY want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is why I decided to do Dance Marathon, how I got to Northwestern, and what the lousy Subway sandwich I ate right before Block 1 started was like, and all that Morty Schapiro kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, because, in the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, I’ve been up for about forty hours straight and I feel like hell, like absolute hell. I’m not kidding.
Where I want to start telling is the moment I walked into Norris, which is this old crumby building that’s by this goddamn lake, which is right next to an even bigger goddamn lake. I felt kind of cold, so I decided to put on my red hunting hat, because I get cold really easy. It’s true. I’m seventeen goddamn years old, and I get the shivers and aches and goddamn pneumonia every goddamn month, for chrissake.
Anyway, they took us to this room and all, and all of these kids – and this just killed me – were lying on their backs with their legs up and their feet against the wall. I couldn’t believe it. And I didn’t really know what to do, so I just took off my red hunting hat, and thought maybe I should scram and smoke a cigarette – but then some prep comes in, waving his arms and smiling and all that, and tells us to “get pumped for DM, guys.” I’m not kidding – waving his goddamn arms all around like some phony. It killed me.
I then walked from this room – for god knows how long – into this tent, with this kind of jazzy music playing, and a bunch of other kids with water bottles – water bottles, like what you get out of a sink – and these bags hanging off of their waists. Soon enough, these two kids are up on this grand old crumby stage up at the front, yelling into this microphone about dancing for thirty hours or something, like madmen. You had to feel sorry for them. Then the music actually started to get loud. And here’s the thing: I like music, too. I really do. And I like to dance. Boy, do I. But the band, which I couldn’t even see anywhere, for chrissake, kept playing the goddamn music so loud, and everyone kept singing this song – the only words I could make out were “you put my love on top,” or some crumby thing like that – and it depressed the hell out of me. It really did.
I reached into my coat pocket and put on my red hunting hat. I didn’t even care that I was the only one not in a tank top and their shorts – their shorts, for chrissake – even when some phony came over and told me to “keep on dancing, you can do it, do it for the kids!” For the kids. And I actually like kids, to tell you the truth. I do. But that’s the thing with kids – they’re the only people who aren’t goddamn phonies. Boy, they really are. You can tell a kid anything, and you know he’s not going to give you the hard and fast one. They really knock me out, kids.
Anyway, I decide that it may be a good idea to give old Jane, this girl I know from back home, a buzz, so I go up to this big flitty-looking fella in a yellow shirt – who smelled like an absolute farm, to tell you the truth – and asked him where I could find a goddamn payphone. He said, “what are you talking about. You know it’s 2014, right?” That just depressed the hell out of me.
After a while, maybe a few hours, I was feeling pretty miserable, if you could believe it. I decided to look for where a restroom was, but it turns out that you couldn’t just go to the restroom yourself – you had to wait for one of the goddamn phonies in the obnoxious blue shirts to take you in and all these other creeps in a big line to the john. And to be honest, I thought it was kind of swell. I don’t know why. Even though I didn’t have to make a BM, it was pretty swell walking in a line. Of course they couldn’t make it last – I was probably in the john for about fifteen minutes, just getting some goddamn shut eye – and one of the phonies comes in yelling like hell, “come on, guys, let’s go, only 18 more hours to go!” Eighteen more hours. That killed me.
So I’m probably in this tent for at least a day – boy, I couldn’t tell you how long – but near the end of it – and this really knocked me out – they showed how much dough they had raised for all the kids, and it was some big number – I couldn’t even tell you how much. And everyone starts crying, for chrissakes. I turned the brim of my red hunting hat around, and some girl comes up to me and puts her arms around me, weeping like a madman. It killed me. Although, to tell you the truth, I cried a little bit, too. I did. Usually I don’t cry ever, because girls won’t give you the time if you cry with them. They’d rather just shoot the bull. But for some reason I just thought of all those kids, and I thought of my brother Allie, and I think of catching them as they’re about to go off this cliff–I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going. I know it’s crazy. But I sobbed like a baby, to tell you the truth. I really did.
That’s all I’m going to tell you about. I could probably tell you what I did after DM, all the people cheering for me and how I thought I was going to pass out walking down the goddamn street, but I don’t feel like it. I really don’t. That stuff doesn’t interest me very much right now, because I think I may actually slip into a coma as soon as I hit a bed, to tell you the truth. It’s funny. Don’t ever tell anybody anything about DM. If you do, they’ll probably want to do it too.