Simple Things

These days everyone complains about student loan debt. Some foolish bureaucrats even talk about debt forgiveness, which is laughable. These debts didn’t do anything wrong. Why do they need to be forgiven?

At Pungent Sound Technical College of Technology, we shun people who only complain about problems. We embrace (in an awkward sexual way) people who solve problems. So here are 5 simple things you can do to pay down your student loans.

  1. Each month take your rent money and use it to pay your student loans. It will take your landlord one year (at least) to evict you, and that’s one year of easy payments towards your student loan debt. Mom and dad have a sofa.
  2. Get a loan to pay your student loan. Credit cards are great for this. No collateral required and a low interest rate of 22%. Are your credit cards already maxed out from paying student loans? What about mom’s credit cards?
  3. Get a night job. You don’t have money to go out after working your day job anyway. So now you will have something to do at night.
  4. Stop eating. Inflation has hit food prices hard. You shouldn’t have to put up with that. Imagine how much money you will save if you just cut food from your diet. And you’ll be a skinny legend.
  5. Go to grad school. Is that bachelor’s degree in symbology not working out? Even though you studied under Professor Robert Langdon? Take out another student loan and get a graduate degree in symbology. Robert Langdon did, and he’s doing fine. He teaches at Harvard now and looks like Tom Hanks.
  6. Bonus idea! Whatever you do, don’t lobby Congress to make it easier to discharge student loan debt. We may have encouraged (and frequently helped) you to get these loans, even though we suspected you would never be able to pay them off, but why should we be penalized? Isn’t it enough to just penalize you?

Titmouse Beak, CEO of Pungent Sound Technical College of Technology

Chicken Hawk

Now is not the time for questioning minds.
Now is the time for Bud Light with lime
because thinking is hard and hurts to boot -
that's why you have me; I'm thinking's leisure suit.

Slip me on and see how I fit.
Plenty of room for belly and hip.
Gaudy and garish like the colors of war - 
not that I have ever served before.
No, that's a privilege for others to endure.

I was created to talk non-stop.
You were made to listen without thought
so listen as I glorify a past never seen
and scorch anyone who dares disagree
with a wit fueled by methane gas
and a tongue lodged so far up my ass,
it makes me wobble when I walk
and forces me to bend over when I talk
or when I get enemas of warm liquid mint
because my breath makes garbage men squint.

But these burdens must be borne
if I'm to keep my followers uninformed
and hopefully by the end of my show
there won't be anything for them to know.
So turn the radio on and hear my jingle.
May it give your tiny penis a tiny tingle.

We'll put a boot up your ass -
that's the American way.
Apple pie served with a hand grenade.

Luvgood Carp, Editor-in-Chief

Kazuo Ishiguro’s No Country for Old Men

Listen. Masuji Ono desperately wants to tell you something. He’s still relevant. Time has not forgotten him.

Ono is the beguiling narrator in Mr. Ishiguro’s An Artist of the Floating World. The story opens in Japan in October 1948. The Americans are now in charge, and Japanese society is going through monumental changes. But Ono is focused on successfully negotiating a marriage for his younger daughter. His past may make that difficult. Or it may not. It’s unclear because few people seem to remember him these days. Post-war Japan is moving on without him, and he’s not too happy about that.

At the beginning of his career, Ono was an artist of the floating world – the “night-time world of pleasure, entertainment and drink which formed the backdrop for all our paintings.” He was ambitious. When the imperialists takeover, Ono abandons the floating world and (as he tells it) becomes the center of a group of artists producing “work unflinchingly loyal to his Imperial Majesty the Emperor.”

Ono seems to have had some influence during the 1930s, but Mr. Ishiguro is coy. He never allows the reader to discern how influential Ono actually was. Even in Ono’s self-serving narration, nagging doubts poke through. Ono may simply be deluding himself and as a result unintentionally misleading the listener.

The war allows Ono to excuse and justify his work for the Imperialists: “if your country is at war, you do all you can in support, there’s no shame in that.” Except there might be – especially when you betray friends and colleagues. However, Ono smothers this shame every time it tries to breath.

Despite his arrogance and evasions, Ono is sympathetic. His unflinching support for Imperial Japan did not protect him. His wife died, and his son was killed in a “hopeless charge” across a minefield. He has suffered and done so stoically. He loves his daughters and grandson. But he’s lost in this new Japan. He recognizes (somewhat reluctantly) that the “old spirit may not have always been for the best.” That’s an understatement, but it’s the only kind he can make.

Ono spends much of the story trying to convince the listener, any listener, that he was highly-esteemed at one time. And he may have been. Or he may have just been ordinary – a thought Ono refuses to contemplate. Mr. Ishiguro is a master of the unreliable narrator, and Ono certainly falls in this category. “I cannot recall any colleague who could paint a self-portrait with absolute honesty . . . the personality represented rarely comes near the truth as others would see it.” Is Ono describing a colleague or (unwittingly) himself?

Gladiola Overdrive, Chief Editor

A Portrait of the Pretend Poet as an Old Man

And then the flatulence -
as always, without warning,
permission or consideration.
It cares not whether I am surrounded
by friends or strangers
in a stuffy room
where winter prohibits
windows from being opened.

Or whether I'm in a compact car
filled with awkward silence
and Serena -
a winter woman
I was trying to seduce.

If only I could be a cow
in a rolling meadow
carpeted with buttercups.
Cows aren't bothered by flatulent friends.
They find nothing funny 
about the lack of control age inflicts.
Cows, with their wise, soulful eyes,
know nothing dignified happens near the end.

Luvgood Carp, Editor-in-Chief