Stream of consciousness post that makes no apologies yet comes full circle because I am magic.
Erin and I decided to combine my devotion to Abraham Lincoln and her passion for Gore Vidal and read Lincoln by Gore Vidal. I have 35 pages left and it’s quite possibly the best book I’ve ever read. It has made me tear up twice on the subway, once when his son Willie died and the other right before he gave the Emancipation Proclamation. It’s only deepened my love for Lincoln, and I keep hoping against hope that maybe this time he’ll somehow escape fate and not die at the end. I just pray I’m not on the train when it happens. The good part is that now I share Erin’s respect for Vidal, and we’ve made it our summer project to read all of his American Chronicles, starting next with Burr. This differs greatly from my last summer’s project, which was apparently to quit my job, drink a lot and kiss cute boys. Some people be thinking brothers same. This is wrong point.
There is only one person in the whole world who will get those last two sentences, but I left them there because I know they’ll make him laugh really hard, and also because lately I’m tired of how the rest of the world doesn’t live in my head and already know the inside jokes that have worked their way into my regular conversation rotation. For instance, for some reason I still remember verbatim a selection I mistranslated in eighth grade Spanish, which was, “We know that you all go to know that you cannot put understand how the people of Lima live with five tables of fog.” While everyone else went around the room saying their translation correctly, mine just got funnier and funnier to me, and now whenever I’m having a hard time understanding something, I say I cannot put understand!, which seems like a very tangible and sensible way of describing how unable to grasp something you are, but I forget that my close friends who know the story are the only ones who can put understand what the fuck I’m talking about. I’ve decided to quit explaining and let all of these phrases creep into my vocabulary unchecked, because the fact that everyone can’t just automatically scan my head with a wand and know all of my old inside jokes the minute I decide I like them makes me all bershon.
Bershon is something I’ve been meaning to write about for ages now. Bershon is a word that I’m pretty sure is not really a word at all, but Erin and I, growing up in two different cities, both encountered it separately in our youth, and when we discovered in the early stages of getting to know each other that we’d both heard it, it was like pouring cement on our friendship. Both of us heard it used in exactly the same manner, namely the cool girls in middle school rolling their eyes and saying, “… and Kayla said yes, and I was like, ohmyGOD, whatever, I’m SO BERSHON.” I was unclear at first, but by using contextual clues and in conferring with Erin, we’ve determined that the spirit of bershon is pretty much how you feel when you’re 13 and your parents make you wear a Christmas sweatshirt and then pose for a family picture, and you could not possibly summon one more ounce of disgust, but you’re also way too cool to really even DEAL with it, so you just make this face like you smelled something bad and sort of roll your eyes and seethe in a put-out manner. Kelly Taylor from Beverly Hills, 90210 is the patron saint of bershon, as her face, like most other teenagers’, was permanently frozen in this expression.
We even had plans to launch bershon.com way back in 2000, sort of akin to that mullet site, wherein everyone would send in pictures of themselves all bershon (everyone has one; it’s probably your eighth grade school picture) and we’d post them, but there was a great schism over the spelling (I’m of the bershon camp, while Erin is loyal to bershaun), and also there’s the fact that we’re both pretty lazy, so it has yet to happen. However, this doesn’t stop me from using the term all the time in regular conversation, because there really should be a word for that feeling, and bershon is almost onomatopoeic in its perfection. So from now on, I’m just saying fuck it and using all these personal phrases without any pauses or sidenotes, and if people cannot put understand what I’m talking about, they can either try to figure it out on their own like I did and keep up with the flow, or think I’m a doddering old man trapped in young woman’s body, which I probably am (see: summer reading project).