Dan Destroyed My English Essay (But He Also Sort of Got Me a Job, Indirectly)
Let me paint you a little picture: it’s a late summer’s night, and I’m a hot mess. In fact, I’m teetering somewhere between "okay, it's cool, I can finish this essay on time" and "SWEET MOTHER OF GOD, THIS ESSAY IS GNAWING AWAY AT MY SOUL." I’m frantically alternating between the SparkNote for Pride and Prejudice and the Word doc on which I’ve typed the world’s most HORRENDOUS essay. Now, don’t be fooled—it may look like your typical piece of crap that was written at 2 AM mere days before the start of school, but in reality there’s so much more to it than that. For starters, it doesn’t have a title or even my name—because I don’t want to claim this monstrosity as my own, and also the only title bouncing around in my head is “The Essay That Dashed My Hopes and Dreams of a Higher Education.” Oh, yes, the degree to which I am screwed is no mystery. I’m vaguely aware of it. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I’ve even accepted it. But that doesn’t stop the desperate, frenzied, last-ditch efforts of a madwoman as I try to scape together a halfway-decent paper. To fully grasp the magnitude of this disaster, you must also know that I’m shoveling Cheetos in my mouth with no end in sight. My fingers are coated with cheese dust, and I’m practically frothing at the mouth. Occasionally I’ll bang my head against the wall. The situation is dire.
And then—in the middle of this epic meltdown—a ray of light shines through.
“Blogging Twilight?” I ask aloud through a haze of anxiety and sleep deprivation, eye twitching with impunity. “What is this foolishness?”
And so it began.
I laughed. I cried. I became a card-carrying member of the Dan Bergstein fan club, and Dan Bergstein singlehandedly destroyed any chance of that essay ever achieving greatness—inadvertently, I’m sure. (But I have on occasion pictured Dan laughing uproariously while typing each new post, yelling, “THE READERS! THEY’LL BE TOO ENGROSSED! THEY’LL NEVER FINISH THEIR HOMEWORK NOW!”)
I promptly did what any reasonable person would do—I threw the concept of “responsibility” right out the window and proceeded to read every single entry of Blogging Twilight. It took a few days, a few sleepless nights, and a lot more Cheetos. My essay was pure, unadulterated crap. But hey, that’s a sacrifice I was willing to make.
Dan’s Blogging Twilight crept into my life in interesting and unexpected ways. Once I was hanging out with my friend, Tara. We were flipping through channels when we happened upon New Moon. The gist of the resulting conversation was something like this: “If I ever watch that movie voluntarily, you have permission to shoot me.” We were joking around when Tara mentioned something about werewolves… and the awesomeness of jetpacks.
Wait, I thought. Wait wait WAIT.
I slowly turned to stare at her. Did I dare ask? I had to know. But how to verbalize the question? And then… and then… I uttered the fateful words slowly, deliberately, each one weighted with significance… a carefully constructed code just begging to be understood: “You know what I think? I think Alice is stupid, Emmett is freakishly awesome, and Bella’s truck is a vampire.”
There was a stare down. An honest-to-God stare down.
“Optimus Beyonce,” I said in a hushed voice.
“Chromosomes,” whispered Tara.
“Quil is a pervert, and Marcus is viper.”
“You are my life now.”
“I imprint you.”
“Quil is still a pervert.”
“And Jacob is ‘The Thunder.’”
And then, and then, and THEN there were high-pitched screams and odd gasping noises and entirely too many guttural, inhuman sounds that I can’t even describe. We fist-pumped and we danced. We cheered and we hugged. And Dan gave us that. (We also exchanged this wildly ill-conceived high-five, during which I hit Tara’s elbow and she hit my face. Thanks, Dan.) He gave us about four hours of ecstatic conversation, and he gave the other guests in the hotel occasional heart failure as a result. (One of us would say something like “Dan was hilarious that one time when he talked about that one thing—” and the other would give an explosive shriek of “I KNOW!”)
So, okay, that essay I wrote last summer may have gone on to earn a martyred sigh and slight shake of the head from my teacher. It may have been rewritten four times before I realized it was damaged beyond repair. Tara and I may have been told to quiet down by a hotel employee. BUT! Dan has gifted us with his comedic brilliance, nuggets of wisdom, and fashion sense. He turned me on to SparkLife. I devoured all the articles and vowed to write my own. Now, a year later, I’m a freelance writer. Who would’ve thought?
To Dan, I say this: thank you for everything, and keep rocking the short-sleeved shirts.
Has Dan changed your life in profound and irreversible ways? RHETORICAL QUESTION.
Related post: Ode to Dan