My Life at Age Twenty-One

Wikimedia: Suzzallo Library image by Martin Kraft
Image of Suzzallo Library by Martin Kraft from Wikimedia

In the Summer Quarter at the University of Washington I took fifteen credits of second-year Russian, and five credits of English. In my free time I was hanging out with my buddy Aardvark, whom I had known since my arrival in Seattle when we were both twelve years old. I went to see Aardvark a few weeks ago in a facility where he was recuperating from some health issues, and a former student of his had signed in at the front desk just six minutes before me. I found them at a table in the lunchroom, and Aardvark asked the crowd of people at the table if they would like to know how he first met me. "Intenti ora tenebant," which means "They were eagerly holding their breath," so Aardvark told them. "He came climbing in the living room window." What really happened was that I was doing stuff out in the back yard with a bunch of other kids, and the window was an easy way to enter the house. I mean, why walk in the front door, when you can climb through an open window? In later years, his new girlfriend Angelica's parents told him not to bring me around any more, because they did not like me climbing through windows, but they relented.

In between summer quarter and autumn quarter, Aardvark and Detlef Stark and I drove from Seattle down to San Francisco in Detlef's old green clunker of a car.

In the autumn quarter of my junior year at Football University, a.k.a. the University of Washington, when I started working for a year as a reference page at the Suzzallo Library, I tried to take more French beyond the introductory class which I had taken in the spring quarter. The French class in the autumn quarter was too boring and too devoid of feminine pulchritude, so in the first week I switched from French to Russian Three. The professor, Mrs. Holdsworth, had lived through the German seige of Leningrad in World War Two and told us horrific stories about the cold and the lack of food. During the first full class session, I looked off to the right and behind me, where I immediately noticed the "Kommissarin" or "Commissar Lady", as Dmitri and I referred to her, and about whom I had dreams every year for the rest of my life. But we did not get acquainted until our quiz section in Spring Quarter, where we tried to one-up each other with knowledge of Jor-El and Kal-El. The New York Times says that American actor Nicholas Cage named one of his children Kal-El.

On the 4th of July of the next summer, I went with the Commissar Lady and her family over to Lake Sammamish for an Independence Day picnic. As we rode in her uncle's car, somehow a discussion began about the Seattle character Floyd Turner, whom I knew as the "Doukhobor", and who had been arrested for burning the American flag during a political protest. The case went all the way up to the Washington state Supreme Court, which ruled that Floyd Turner and every other citizen had the right to burn the American flag in protest as an exercise of the right of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The American flag stood for the right to burn the American flag. Second Love told me, "It may look like peppermint candy, but you'll never lick it." Her uncle held nothing but contempt for Floyd Turner.

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the Mentifex Autobiography at age:
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