Things To Say Other Than “I Didn’t Get Enough Writing Done” When Your Academic Colleague Asks You How Your Summer Was So You Don’t Start the Year With a Goddamned Sense of Failure and Self-Loathing
It was goddamned great.
It was goddamned monotonous.
I went to a goddamned lake.
I hung out with my goddamned dog.
I saw my goddamned sister.
I went on a goddamned road trip.
I sat in the goddamned sun.
I ate a goddamned Popsicle.
I ate another goddamned Popsicle because why not that is what Popsicles are for.
I read a goddamned book – nay, multiple goddamned books.
I had a number of goddamned conversations with Trader Joe’s cashiers.
I watched a number of quality goddamned films.
I watched a number of terrible goddamned films.
I was not constantly overcome by a goddamned sense of misery and insufficiency thrust upon me by the cocktail of horrors we refer to as the American university.
I hung out with my goddamned dog some more.
I petted my goddamned dog.
I caught up with an old goddamned friend.
I sat on my goddamned front porch.
I was goddamned bored.
I was not goddamned bored.
I went to the goddamned grocery store.
I went to goddamned Costo.
I went to goddamned Target.
I went to goddamned Target again.
I drove across some very goddamned large parking lots.
I drove from one store to another in some very goddamned large parking lots.
I wrote some goddamned pages of words, and I’m fine with the quantity of pages of words because I am not a goddamned servant to capitalist mandates about productivity.
I went to another goddamned lake.
I had some goddamned good days.
I had some goddamned less good days.
I saw a goddamned elk in a goddamned field.
I ate a goddamned cheeseburger.
I ate a goddamned hot dog.
I petted my goddamned dog again.
I did an appropriate level of work, given that my university doesn’t pay me properly for my goddamned labor.
—Susan Harlan’s humor writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Awl, The Billfold, Avidly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, The Hairpin, The Belladonna, Janice, and The Establishment. Her book Decorating a Room of One’s Own (Abrams, 2018) started as a column entitled “Great House Therapy” for The Toast, which won the Mark Twain House and Museum’s Royal Nonesuch Humor Writing Contest in 2017. She has also published essays in venues including The Guardian US, The Paris Review Daily, Guernica, Roads & Kingdoms, The Common, The Morning News, Curbed, Atlas Obscura, Public Books, and Nowhere. Her book Luggage was published in the Bloomsbury series Object Lessons in March, and she teaches English literature at Wake Forest University.