What We Learned From Bill, The Old Man In The Kenyon College Bookstore

  • He saved the world from destruction with his rocket science. He and Wernher von Braun saved the world and all its vegetables.
  • Smoking will make you impotent.
  • He knows “Goodnight Irene” in German.
  • He was raised by nuns because he was an orphan, but he was kicked out when he made a pass at a nun novice. “Early pooberty.” He was 9. She was 13.
  • Crazy hats get you a good job.
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  • Irene’s skin has a pink glow so she’ll have at least 3 children.
  • He dated a “porn movie star” of German descent. She was 20 and the most beautiful woman he had ever met, but he had to break up with her because she was a “porn movie star.”
  • He dated a 40-year-old woman and went to live with her, but she had a 16-year-old daughter, whom he also had relations with. So he attempted to flee, and she followed him out to his car, and he said “No, with me, you won’t know if you’re going or coming.” And she said “I’ll always be coming.” (He winked.)
  • The tobacco company puts hard drugs in their cigarettes. “That’s more important than anything you’ll learn in college.”

  • He married his current wife because of her resemblance to her mother, who had 10 children. He assumed that his wife would also give him 10 children, but she only gave him 3, the bitch.
  • He was making his living spearing fish in L.A. He was making 30 cents a pound. Most only make 3. His girlfriend at the time taught him to dive underwater, down to 150 feet below, and go through the underwater caves. She was very intelligent. She was, in fact, a sea lion. An actual sea lion. She taught him to body surf when humans weren’t body surfing yet. She took him to a mating party. At the mating party, there were hundreds of female sea lions. His girlfriend told the other sea lions, through her body language, that he was a fun guy and a good provider. Sea lions look for a good provider in a male, just like human females. “Did you know that?”
  • He also worked on an assembly line as a riveter. His boss wanted to fire him because he talked too much. He didn’t think this made sense, because the riveting was so loud—how did his boss know? But then the boss got in a car accident and died. And Bill got the boss’ job because he was a good talker.
  • Once, during his rocket science job, he got an 850% pay raise.
  • Cigarettes are impossible to smoke in space.
  • He got his rocket science job on a fluke—he didn’t even know much math—but he corrected the brilliant interviewer’s arithmetic. The brilliant interviewer was so humbled that he gave Bill the job.
  • Irishmen with red hair (like Bill in his youth) are genetically more attractive to women because of a pheromone that they secrete. Also, they are directly descended from the Neanderthals.
  • Never marry a smoker. They objectively do not care about others. You’re four times more likely to get a divorce. They feel no guilt.

Will Arbery graduated from Kenyon College in 2011, and now he lives in Brooklyn where he’s trying to be a playwright and an adult.