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Daria at 30

by Greg Grant

Every week, I hope to post a column/personal essay to this space. In college, I wrote a column for the school paper called "Taken for Granted", and, bad pun intended, it seemed like a good name to revive. Watch this space weekly for additional columns.

Daria Morgendorffer at 30

I am a huge fan of Daria, the animated cartoon on MTV. Daria has, it seems to me, has a healthy dose of realism as the world spins out of control around her. She has a very fine sense of society's absurdities. As a single guy, with a healthy sense of cynicism myself, I have occasionally thought that it would be nice to find a woman like Daria. Then, I started thinking: what is Daria going to be like at age 30? The following is my conjecture of what Daria has in store.

Dr. Daria Morgendorffer has an undergraduate degree in English Literature, a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) in poetry from the Iowa Writers Workshop, and a Ph. D in 20th Century American Literature. Her dissertation was on Sylvia Plath.

She is an adjunct professor at a community college, where she teaches freshman English to people she considers barely smarter than houseplants. However, since there is a glut of English professors, she considers herself lucky to even be employed part-time. Her students think she's borderline psychotic, because they don't get sarcasm.

She is most known in academic circles for getting onto a panel discussion at MLA on deconstructionist criticism, standing up and saying "Look at all you silly people. Deconstructionist criticism is a crock by any reasonable standard. You might as well try putting a cockroach back together after you squash it," and then walking out the door. This is another reason why she considers herself lucky to be teaching at a community college.

She supplements her meager teaching salary by doing additional collaborative writing with her friend Jane Lane. Jane, who is a struggling artist in New York, takes pictures and doctors them in Photoshop. She sends them to Daria, who writes up an article to go along with the picture and sells it to the Weekly World News. You may have seen some of her work:

Daria lives in a studio apartment with three cats: Hemingway, Swift, and Sylvia. You cannot see the floor for the piles of books and papers.

Daria is a star on the poetry slam circuit, where she tours regionally.

Daria has not had a third date in 5 years. She has not had a second date in 3. The guys that aren't scared off by her intelligence are frightened by her sarcasm, which she can only keep in check for so long.

For fun, Daria goes in internet chat rooms as Donna, a nubile 18-year-old cheerleader. She writes poetry about the results.

She has season tickets for the local minor league hockey team. She particulary enjoys the violence, thinking it an apt metaphor for humanity, often incorporating it into her poetry.

Daria drives a Geo Metro. The car is blue, except for the driver's side front quarter panel, which is primer.

Daria has two nieces, Brittany and Jennifer, and a nephew, Jeffy. Her sister Quinn dropped out oif college during her junior year to marry the son of a Fortune 500 company CEO. Quinn pays a nanny to watch the children, and spends most of her days shopping and taking various beauty treatments. The children love it when Aunt Daria babysits, because they get to listen to cool music, she lets them stay up past their bed time, she lets them eat sweets, and always brings toys, particularly those that make noise and need batteries. Last Christmas, she bought Jeffy a drum set.

Votes for the Communist candidate in presidential elections because she wants people who read the election results to look around themselves and wonder who the Communist is. Otherwise, she doesn't vote.

Daria has never had a tan in her life.

For kicks, Daria is the webmistress for a site dedicated to people who claim to have been abducted by aliens.

Daria likes to go to art films, sit in the back, and make rude comments about the film.

Daria is a member of her local National Public Radio station.

Daria leads a book discussion group focusing on conspiracy theories and the paranormal at the local Borders every third Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

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