Wesleyan Comedy

Five years after graduation, our comic gets the last laugh.

It now costs $63 to take a cab from Bradley International Airport to Wesleyan University. Five years ago it cost only $50. I attribute this discrepancy to the War on Terror. I used to take cabs on that route quite often, either to the airport or from it, alternately heading back home to Denver or to college in Connecticut, because my peers were usually too busy freeing Tibet to give me a ride. But I never really minded. I did some of my best reflecting in those cabs. And I hear China's going to give back that country any day now.

On those rides, I'd sit quietly for a half-hour and watch the passing scenery — the Connecticut River, the old Colt 45 factory (the gun, not the 40), pathetic old Hartford where poor Mark Twain sunk his fortune — and think about any number of things. I'd reflect on the past semester, plan for who I'd see back in Denver. Or if I was heading back to school, I'd formulate elaborate scenarios for the semester to come. How this time around, that girl would pay attention to me. How this time around, I would start writing like I was supposed to. College is a weird time in any kid's life, an ever-swinging pendulum between feelings of doubt and omnipotence, like you could crush the world in one second, then be crushed by it the next. But when you're a weird kid to begin with, those feelings are magnified.

And sitting in my $63 cab last Friday evening, those feelings came over me like a tsunami. I was heading to my five-year college reunion, back to the school where I'd spent four years and where I had not returned since the day I graduated, and all of a sudden I was nineteen years old again, ready to pop with anticipation at all the things to come and wondering, above all, how the fuck people live in this type of humidity.

Wesleyan was draped in its finest red-and-black banners, groomed and scrubbed to New England liberal arts school perfection — an effort no doubt intended to provoke donations from the legions of alumni returning for reunion/commencement ceremonies. I checked in, got the keys to the dorm where they'd put the class of 2002, and found that I was one of the first to arrive. So I unloaded my bags and headed to Neon Deli, eager for the Jen's Buffalo Cutlet that I'd been craving for five years. Sandwich in hand, I headed back to my dorm room — only to realize that I'd left my ATM card in the machine at the deli.

"You won't be able to get it back until Tuesday," they told me.

I was leaving Sunday.

Wesleyan 1, Adam 0.

But then night descended, the class of 2002 arrived in droves, and there were plenty of opportunities to even the score. Wesleyan is small, about 3,000 students, which meant that my class had about 750 students. While that number sometimes felt suffocating while I was still in school, it made for a perfect reunion. Because while you don't know everyone's name, you know most faces, and so wandering in the mix, it was easy to stumble up to anyone and ask, "How do I know you again? Oh, yeah, what are you up to now? Me? Glad you asked. I'm one of those androgynous lady-boys who twirl in ribbons like goddamn morons in the Cirque du Soleil. And, yes, I have turned homosexual! Very homosexual."

Lying at reunions is half the fun.

But you can't lie to your friends, and so I met up with a bunch of them, and we drank irresponsibly and irretrievably as we spoke truths long into the night. Drugs were everywhere.

Saturday went like this: Woke up, bagel and coffee from Neon Deli, then off to Indian Hill Cemetery because it is beautiful and because I'm a morbid fuck and because that's where I used to sit and brainstorm the shitty screenplays that I wrote. Saw two cardinals and a blue jay. Score. Next toured the amenities my school has added since I left: brand-new gymnasium and weight room; brand-new, state-of-the art Film Studies building where Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire the Slayer, was talking nerdy about sci-fi. My sister is obsessed with him and would have killed me if I didn't see at least a few minutes and report back. Hung out on Foss Hill and watched hippies be hippies, then made sure everything was good to go for my show.

That's right: I was performing at my own reunion. You didn't think I would attend just to attend, did you? My God, how plebian. Yeah, Wesleyan found out that I'm pretty much the greatest comic in at least a three-block radius in Denver, and they called me up and said, "Hey, Adam, would you please do us the honor of sharing your witty urbanity with the elite minds that inhabit Wesleyan University?"

And even though that story is not true — I vainly contacted the university and set up my own show — the point remains: I had to make sure everything was good to go.

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