The Corporate Shill

The Corporate Shill is coming to visit me this weekend. Hopefully, not so that she can retaliate for the Birthday Inquisition, but one never knows. I tend to be anxious about having company–one of the reasons for my hermitism–and so, I admit, I’m a little anxious about having the Shill to visit.

I can’t wait to see her, but I was looking around the old cardboard box, er, apartment, last night, over the piles of the Butcher’s art and collections of afghans I crochet but never bother to tuck the loose ends in on (so that most of my afghans tend to look disheveled, like little old men who miss the tops of their heads with their hairbrushes) and listening to the passing trains and the sounds of the interstate and I thought, “Jesus Christ, no one must ever know we live this way.”

But this morning, as I was out walking the dog and saw the two trees I love that bow out towards the road on either side of this rickety gate and the wisteria bush just about done blooming and the lilacs just coming in, and thought about her running through these streets and seeing for herself this strange and lovely town, and I thought, “Well, it’s not like we’re going to sit in the house all weekend. . .”

I first met the Shill in college. She was in a history class with me–“Women, Work, and Leisure”–in which we learned one important thing, which I will now impart on you: If you are a high society charitable giver to the Hull House and you think it’s your business to go into the Eastern European ghettos in Chicago to teach the poor riff raff how to keep their houses properly cleaned and children properly fed, before you teach them how to cook eggs and dust, you might want to check if they can afford eggs or an apartment with more than one window or even just one window that doesn’t open onto a coal chimney.

The Shill and I had to do a group project together. The day of the project, she did not show up for class. So, I had to do my half of the presentation (superbly, I might add) and then do her half of the presentation thusly “Well, I’m sure if the Corporate Shill were here, she would tell you that . . .” It was pretty hilarious. I think we both ended up getting a pretty good grade on it.

It’s weird, but that made me like her, that she could not show up for something, but that people had enough good will towards her that her absence was met with concern for her welfare and laughter at my filling in for her.

5 thoughts on “The Corporate Shill

  1. Was that second semester sophomore year? My lack of a distinct memories around the whole incident is weird to me, but I know that you speak the truth. What’s also good about this story (and I don’t even remember why I didn’t show up to class) was that at the same I was avoiding my studies, I was trying to get Aunt B and her suitemates to let me live with them in the fall.

    And even though I pulled shit like that — they let me live with them.

    My favorite early memory of Aunt B is in another class we took, an English course (I’m pretty sure it was Shakespeare with Bushman) and B got up and announced to the class that the best thing that had happened this year was that her friend, /my real name deleted/, had discovered feminism. It was, in fact, a true statement, but the announcement was a little embarrassing.

    This is all making me think about college…

    SuperGenius — I keep wanting to think you were in these classes, but I think the only classes we had together were PoliSci. Good god did I have an unseemly crush on Dan Flood.

    And Aunt B — remember that ridiculous spring formal? And the homemade beer? And when we were drinking in the library and wandered over to the Dug Out to find cute boys (I remember laying down on a table and nobody caring?) Or the night we were drinking at Mugsy’s with the Best Professor Ever and her 6-yr old kid called me a lightweight the next day?

    I can’t wait to see you this weekend!

  2. Who did not have an unseemly crush on him? That was/is (I assume) a good man.

    I don’t remember the Shakespeare thing at all, but it sounds like me. Egad. It’s a good thing you like insufferable jackasses, because that was a jackass thing to say.

    I think we were always on the lookout for cute boys. Unfortunately, Mr. Flood was just about the only one on our small campus and he had a girlfriend.

    I do remember being at a party where there was this attractive, yet scraggly-haired boy from Northwestern. I don’t think you met him; as I recall you were busy in the back bedroom.

    But you would have liked him, just the kind of guy I could picture you with…

  3. That was a different party — the legendary first meeting of the Shill and the LE (straggly-haired boy from Northwestern) — where the party had run out of beer, except for that possessed by LE, and when I flirtatiously asked if he would give me one of his precious beers, the following exchange took place:

    LE: No
    CS: You’re an asshole
    LE: What do I care? I’m never gonna see you again.

    And then I spent the rest of my time in the back bedroom.

  4. CS, I was in women, work, and leisure too…with our notecard questions each class. :) I forgot about eggs and housekeeping in the new world. Most of my memories of this class have dissolved to my copy of the yellow wallpaper that I leaf through whenever I find it, an occassional desire to read something by Anzia Yezierska, and the “class, race, and gender” mantra. Which actually has turned out to be quite useful to me. :) I know we had polisci together too, but all I remember is that there was a big blue paperbook text book for the class.

    Aunt B, As far as the no one must ever know we live this way thing, I am packing for my move and just before I decided to take a TCP break, I was packing my file cabinet. Which mostly consists of manuals for appliances I no longer own, health insurance information for jobs I no longer have, statements for checking accounts that I closed in the early 90’s, and spare parts that never fit into the futon that I sold three years ago. Then I started thinking about my friends that are helping me move and sharing a household with Huck Finn whose filing and organizational systems are slightly more in depth and organized than the national archives and I thought “Oh, Christ, no one can know what a goof I am.” Then I figured to hell with it, they already know. So it is universal.

    I forgot about that presentation. It was hilarious. Have a lot of fun this weekend!



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