“Martin” Sucks. I Stand by That.Submitted by AllyJeans at 2005-06-14 01:00:07 EDT
Rating: 1.72 on 26 ratings (26 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
My first year in college was pretty grueling. I had to learn all sorts of new rules about life and dealing with other people. Frankly, I was way over my head. That first year, I learned it was socially acceptable to wear a shirt that said “cum dumpster,” that the only thing wrong with being shitfaced was to let the RA find out, and that I was a racist.
I didn’t know I was racist. I walked into my dorm room on the first day feeling very Berkley, with a tie-dyed t-shirt, a pony tail, and a copy of Malcom X that I read six or seven times. My liberal, hippy parents had done there job well—at least I thought they did.
On the first day of orientation, I settled in and sent my parents away. I spent the first fifteen minutes controlling the lump in my throat as I came to grips with being officially in the system and away from my family. My brick and mortar confines reminded me that I was no longer a flowers and puppies kind of gal, but an entity free of gender restrictions, ready to start my adventure into the great unknown.
A few sobs later, I adjusted to my new prison and unpacked all my stuff. It was strange, mostly because I expected to see my roommate when I walked in. I don’t know why, but whenever I pictured the movie of my life, I always thought I would walk in to my sunny room and run into my new, quirky roommate, who would show me her dildo, and the proper way to fold hospital corners.
Holding a broom handle aloft I realized I would play the part of the quirky roommate. I shoved it under the bed and sat on the edge waiting to start the scene. My roommate arrived late, though, a couple hours after I got there. By that time, I was watching TV, the sun was setting, and I was off my mark.
My new roommate was a black girl, somewhat pudgy, with a concerned look and a big streamer trunk. I stood up and shook her hand as she glanced around at my decorations, including a poster of the care bears and a sexy profile shot of Mark McGrath.
“We need to talk.”
Two minutes into our introductions and we needed to have a talk. This didn’t look good. I pulled up a chair and she did as well. She positioned herself between the window and me. It was weird, but with the setting sun, it almost looked like she had a halo over her head. This would fuck with me for weeks afterwards.
“My name is Mary,” she said, “and I’m a born again Christian.
I straightened my shoulders and smiled broadly. “Cool.”
“I don’t masturbate.”
I tried to look as hip as possible, like everyone I had ever met made a point to tell me such things. “Really?”
“Yeah. I tried it once and I didn’t like it. I don’t see the point.”
I wanted to tell her that she was probably doing it wrong, but I held my tongue. “Whatever.”
She relaxed. “I like video games, though.”
That made sense. If she was going to do something other than make it with guys or flick her button, I guess a game of “Super Mario World” was a good substitute. I’m not ashamed to admit that sometimes I play on my Super NES. Everyone does it—even if some won’t admit it.
The rest of the conversation wasn’t that interesting. She’d say something and I’d nod my head. In the terms of my generation, I guess I wasn’t ready to fully interface. You can’t blame me after the masturbation comment. What about my room made her think I was too free with my hand/broom handle? Was it Sunshine bear? Was it Mark McGrath and his shiny leather ass…or was it me? Was my look screaming: “Compulsive masturbator?” For a time I thought about bringing it up and asking her why she felt compelled to tell me about her “practices.” I didn’t though, and eventually we struck up an agreeable relationship. Sure, occasionally, she would bring in converts and spend an hour or so telling them about Christ, but I got by. During those sessions, I hid under my covers and listened to my Spanish tapes. I got an A.
When she wasn’t preaching she was relatively normal. We even chuckled once or twice. Then she brought up “Martin.”
We were in our bunks and chatting about a professor or something, and we somehow digressed to sitcoms.
“I love “Martin,” she said, “that show is so…funny.
“I don’t really like it.”
I don’t know. It’s just Martin yelling ‘GINA!’ for twenty minutes while the rest of the cast makes dumb jokes. I can’t get into it.
More silence. I could hear my roomie breathing so I knew she was still alive. Eventually she cleared her throat and summoned my attention.
“You know,” she said, “every now and then you’re a bit racist.”
“What are you talking about?” I turned on my side “Is this because I don’t like ‘Martin?’”
I laughed. “Please…I don’t like the ‘Brady Bunch,’ but it isn’t because they are a bunch of paste face honkies—give me some credit.”
She made a “tisk, tisk” noise. “See there you go.”
“I can’t call white people Honkies? Come on!”
“The only reason you said that was to imply that “Martin” was an N-word.”
I threw my head back against my pillow. “I did not!”
If someone figures out how to win an argument like this give me a call. I spent the next hour relaying my knowledge of black history, from the triangle trade to Nipsey Russell. I thought it might show I was more than an ignorant white girl.
When I was done she said. “You forgot to mention that they threw pregnant women off of the slave ships.”
With a grunt, I closed my eyes sighed heavily. “Look, I’m, not racist and Martin sucks. Good night.”
I changed roommates after that first year. I would wave at Mary in passing, but that was about it. From what I saw, she ended up softening on her Christian image by graduation. After a senior trip to a dirty, disgusting watering hole, she was drunker than drunk and kept yelling, “Somebody’s fucking Mary tonight!” It was fairly out of character, but so was pissing on the bus seat on the way back. After lifting my legs to avoid the sweeping puddle under my feet, I came to the conclusion there was no way I would ever figure her out.