“So this is what it’s like to be in a soft porn.”

April 21st, 2008 → Leave a comment


I’m listening to various commencement speeches online in preparation for my little 10-minute number that I’m given to the graduates in the English Department in June. Right now I’m listening to Steve Jobs who so far I’ve learned was adopted, dropped out of college, returned bottles for nickels and would treat himself to one meal at the Hare Krishna temple because he was so poor in college.

He’s like me, except way richer. I was pretty poor in college. And if not for the Hare Krishna people who fed people by donation, I would have subsided entirely on Tino’s burritos, ramen and twix bars.

I actually wanted to drop out of college my first year. The bureaucracy was too much. I wasn’t learning all the things I wanted to learn. Something I’ve noticed that happens to students at some of the universities I go to– they get lost in the system. But I couldn’t listen to my gut. Instead, I listened to fear that being a “college drop out” would damn me for life and make me the great shame of my family. And so I slugged it out in an rigid system. Perhaps this is the great speech I shall give.

“What are you doing here?!? We should be out in the world traveling and making art. Let’s save our parents money and get out of this joint!”

I have no idea what my speech will be about. My mother forwarded me this really long email from her high school friend (a Chinese American baby boomer) with Chinese-American- Drill-sargeant-advice for my speech.

Here’s an excerpt…

“Tell her to go for it. Keep the 10 min speech professional with a little humor; no off-the-wall jokes; tell the kids what it is like to “really survived” and make it in this tough world. No need to go into long-winded personal biography…the kids would care less. If they really want to know, Kristina could “jokingly” refer them to a website and tell them to read all about it.”

My friend Isaac often remarks how irritating it is when people who don’t work in our field give advice. I am thinking that perhaps I should send my mother’s friend a video of me doing a speech that complies with her advice…. Other notes which include….

“Sticks to one issue, such as “how English helped me to survive and landed me a job in communication/acting/; how English helped me become a writer; etc.” NOT SOME CONVULUTED SUBJECT that will take a lifetime to explain. Keep it SIMPLE.”

Seeing as I don’t actually have a “job” nor any stories of how English helped me survive (I credit my career survivial more to my savage cockroach survival instincts than what I remember of Beowulf), so I’ll send her a video of the audience giving me the bird for being such a goody goody know it all.

Or maybe I’ll tell a great story about my day yesterday, I locked in that mid-life crisis early with some pin-up photos!

I took the train to New Jersey to sit for pin-up photographer Viva Van Story. The most not well kept secret in the world is that I’m turning 30 in June. Which means I must finally come to grips with the fact that just maybe, I will never be discovered as a supermodel. That the whole supermodel career and becoming a real Miss Chinatown thing or a lingerie model will probably not pan out.

Plus my junk on the front and back are falling down.

The solution? Take hot pictures of myself to put up in my apartment! YES!

It was actually really hard to lie around in underwear and a corset on the floor looking good and now I find myself saying, “Wow, Tyra Banks is actually good at what she does.” It probably didn’t help much that we shot in a bowling alley where these high school kids were singing Jesus Christ Superstar songs really loud and their parents were circling us. But I did it. The day ended with me naked in a bubble bath making sexy face for the camera. The make-up lady blew bubbles while the photographer said, “Close your mouth. I don’t need to see so much of your teeth.” And I was screaming, “Holy smokes, so this is what it’s like to be in a soft porn!”

That’s right kids… I’m going to be your commencement speaker!

Anyway, nobody gets to see the pics. Only me, the two people who visit me a year, and the cat get to see.

Aaahhhh…. This is what it’s like to age gracefully.

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