The Eighth Page

My Secret Garden State

Over vacation I had the privilege of visiting one of the most awesomely, terminally exciting parts of the country. Some might argue that “awesomely” and “exciting” are not normally words associated with New Jersey. Others would claim that “terminally” is not used properly in the first sentence of this article. Those people are close-minded, barbaric, and horribly, horribly wrong. My trip to NJ was so jam-packed full of zany adventures that I half expected Ashton Kutcher to jump out and tell me that I had been punk’d, and that the many earthly delights I had found in NJ were merely a fabrication created by his large collection of hats and the same magic he conjures to postpone menopause for Demi Moore. My first excursion ever from lovely Newton, MA brought me to Ringoes, NJ, home of Allegra Asplundh-Smith ’04. Allegra invited Malika Felix ’04 and me to stay with her for a few days and experience all that NJ had to offer. We arrived at the Garden State full of joy, and partook in rare activities such as going to see the best movie ever created ever (Honey) and breaking Allegra’s car in the parking lot of the “Kwik Check.” Up in the hot tub later that evening, Allegra turned to us, her eyes as cold as the ice in her teeth, and said that she had a confession to make. Apparently, Allegra had spent time in jail. The silver lining, however, was that during her time in jail, Allegra had met and befriended notorious rapper 50 Cent at the inmates’ Sadie Hawkins dance (proving once again that the freshmen are right: Sadie Hawkins=life), and he had invited her to the final showdown between himself and his well-known enemy 4 “lyfe,” Ja Rule. 50 vs. Ja was the hot ticket of the winter theatrical season, and Malika and I squealed with delight at the prospect of witnessing an event described by Ebert and Roeper as, “Dazzling…deliriously…enchanting…yes…!!!!…fun…for…the…whole…fam…”Although this showdown was a one-time event, we trusted these reviewers and gave Allegra mad props and street “cred,” although neither Malika nor I were quite sure what these entailed. The next evening, we arrived at the “Blood n’ Death” arena with time to spare. The pre-show entertainment featured scantily clad women riding mules in frilly costumes. Though this classy performance had us riveted, we eagerly awaited Mr. Cent’s entrance, and, in turn, Mr. Rule’s defeat. Soon, the lights went down and for a brief moment of indescribable tension that can only be described as “awesomely dramatical.” The only light came from Lil Kim’s glittering pasties, and the only sounds heard were the midget-sized medallions hanging from Ludacris’ necklace clanging together. The lights came up to reveal two hooded figures, each armed with microphone and sword. Our eyes moved skyward, toward the huge television that broadcast close-ups or the grim expressions settling on the faces of the opponents. To our surprise, the camera was focused not on the hooded figures, but rather on a skybox in the arena, where none other than 50 Cent and Ja Rule were drinking Cristal, enjoying the bloody battle below, and knitting each other sweaters!! OMG! WTF!? Well, what happened next seriously restored my faith in the human condition. The two rap legends stood up, holding ice-out hands. Mr. Cent was the first to address the bewildered audience. “Ja and I realized that we should talk things out. We’re not so different, he and I. We’re both misunderstood, sensitive young gentlemen whom society has oppressed simply because of our gift of violent rhyme. And we both like Ani DiFranco.” “Besides,” continued Mr. Rule, “Aren’t we all brothers? Maybe if we stop concentrating on the differences that drive us apart, we could unite and heal the world we have harmed so.” With that, the rappers embraced tenderly yet masculinely. “Hold up,” I called out. “If you’re up there, who’s down there beating each other bloody?” With that, the hoods fell away to reveal washed-up boy-next-door dreamboat child stars Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Joey Lawrence. Their 1990’s stylish coifs framed their blood-stained faces, and they fought brutally for the comeback spot, enlightening the rest of us with the answer to the age-old question, “how far will child stars go for attention?” The crowd began to boo, and many leapt into the arena, knowing that if they couldn’t finish off these weaklings, their six-year-old daughters could. Malika and I nervously looked at Allegra, hoping she had brought some of that street credit we had given her the night before. The crowd was getting pretty rowdy, and I’m not just talking about the kind of rowdy one experiences in line for Honey where everyone is trying to get in because it is the best movie ever. Way rowdier even. We needed a miracle, and lucky for us (phew!!!!) we got one. Suddenly, Elijah Wood, an Olsen twin on each arm, emerged from the crowd. “AAAH, currently successful former child stars…it buuurrrrrrnnsssss,” screamed Jonathan and Joey. With that they melted, literally, not figuratively in the sense that their smiles used to melt my heart every time I turned on the Disney Channel or “Home Improvement.” The crowd went wild, and Lil Kim took the stage and did what she does best: be mostly naked. 50 Cent and Ja Rule rapped in the puddle of washed-out child stars and everyone fantasized about the Olsen twins. Meanwhile, I tearfully left NJ with Elijah Wood. Although NJ is most def my new home away from home, I had a Lord of the Rings cast party to attend.