WEB EXCLUSIVE COLUMN: ‘West End Girls’ impede writing process

Bob Patrick

As I sat in front of my computer Wednesday night, I struggled with a case of writer’s block. Why was my mind suddenly going all Anna Nicole Smith on me?

My mind was other places. Mostly in the gutter, but I have been told that is where it works best.

My thoughts jumped from making fun of reality TV to broomball. I had a game coming up the following night and the Disney on Ice cast could probably defeat my team with Goofy in the goal — drunk. The fact was, we were not very good, but it was our first time on the ice. That would account for the fact that most of us looked like the damn scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz trying to step dance.

The computer I was attempting to work on was essentially one big distraction in itself. My thoughts were quickly jarred from broomball by the incessant instant messages I was continuing to receive. It was the usual suspects at first — ex-girlfriend, high school buddy, random from class looking for the homework assignment — but then I received an IM from a screen name I did not recognize. A certain Hotbody6900 instructed me to click on a link to see pictures of her and her friends. They apparently all lived to together. I figured what the hell, so I clicked. I soon discovered that these girls had a very unique living arrangement, the likes I have never seen before. After a minute or two, I came to the realization that I sure as hell wouldn’t want someone I didn’t even know watching me take a shower, especially if I was in there with several female roommates.

Time marched on as I fought to surmount the distractions preventing me from writing a column. I thought some music might be in order. As my playlist ran through some of my favorite songs, I was suddenly treated to the sounds of Pet Shop Boys ’80s standard “West End Girls.” Somehow this gem made it onto my playlist along with every parent’s favorite crooner, Gordon Lightfoot. I certainly did not download these songs but soon identified the tasteless culprit as a friend from out of town who had used my computer during an unannounced visit.

As I sat and stared at the framed picture of myself dressed in a Santa suit and holding a six-pack, inspiration finally struck. I could analyze the social implications of sexual pos— NO! Instead of the blank Microsoft Word page I should have been looking at, I was seeing an advertisement informing me that sexy local singles wanted to meet me. A brutal onslaught of various other pop-up ads ensued, nearly freezing my computer. This could only be the result of my out-of-town friend downloading “material” that was anything but an academic journal. That is assuming the journal’s content didn’t pertain to hot, barely legal teens with Webcams.

By midnight, I had grown exasperated with the entire writing process and decided it would be a hell of a lot easier to focus on the task at hand if I used a typewriter.

Just as I was about to shut my computer down for the night, one last pop-up ad reared its annoying head as if to provoke me. “Refinance your mortgage!” it touted. Well, the joke was on them — I rent.

I slept easy that night. As for the column, I’m hoping that my reality is stranger than fiction, or at least more humorous.

Bob Patrick is a junior political science major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].