Bailey Vox Reading, February 2017

I’m looking forward to seeing more people share their stories in the future!

Students doubled-up on the seats as extra chairs were wheeled into the room. Some people sat on the floor next to their book-bags. Two dogs were also there. John Riggio cupped his emotional support dog in his arms like a tiny, teething football, while my service dog sprawled out on the floor and made doe-eyes at people. Room 315 of Spotts was small, considering the crowd that showed up. But the Bailey Vox Reading turned out to be a cozy event in the end.

Suzanne Hasenflu read “To the Girl Who Wants Big Boobs.” She bemoaned all of the beige-tone shirts with high-cut collars (while wearing a tan-colored sweater). The poem was witty and honest, and it listed one irritation after another. Suzanne’s poem is important for women of all bra sizes to hear. Despite the importance put on having a large chest, big boobs are a daily pain.

In between readings, raffle tickets were drawn and prizes were distributed. One student won an emergency get-well kit, in case he gets hit with the flu. The kit included oranges, chicken noodle soup, cough drops, and tissues. This was very thoughtful of the SLAB staff!

Joe Szalinki shared his experience of encountering another tall person at a concert:

To the tall piece of shit at the Old 97’s concert,
I see you there, because it’s hard not to.
All gangly and awkward, obscuring views . . .
From one tall person to another, you’re an asshole!
I make sure I’m not blocking anyone,
I’m self-conscious about my height,
plus, we’re tall people . . . we can see anywhere!
My girlfriend, who is a foot shorter than I, cannot,
not to mention, we were there first,
you only came in after the opening act!
You’re not a true fan of the music, you bastard!
Did this really seem like the best place to stand?!
Be glad my girlfriend stopped me from saying anything.
I would’ve been pleasant…at first
Asked you, “We paid for tickets, just like you, could you please move?”
But you’re an asshole, from bumfuck Cleveland,
so you probably wouldn’t have.
If that happened, I would’ve gone all passive aggressive…
Begun stepping on your shoes, shouting lyrics in your ear,
which would gradually progress to insults, and then threats.
I don’t care how fucked up I was,
I could’ve kicked your ass, had it come to it!
Hell, I’d’ve ripped off my belt, choked you, had your girlfriend punch you in order for me to stop…
I don’t care if you fuck with me,
but mess with my lovebug, and I’ll go primal on your ass!

– Joe Szalinki, “To the Tall Piece of Shit at the Old 97’s Concert”

It makes sense that people who are taller, or larger in some way, are self-conscious of the space they occupy. I enjoyed that there was a sort of unspoken “code of ethics” among tall people. It was humorous seeing Joe want to “go primal on” somebody who broke this code. His reading of this piece was very fast and angry, and the writing was very real. Several people in the room enjoyed Joe’s experience at the concert.

As I read my piece, my service dog, Mavis, whirled around me and sniffed people’s ankles. She doesn’t have stage fright, unlike me! I am glad to have gone up and read.

The Bailey Vox Reading was a good time. It was a very supportive environment, and I’m looking forward to seeing more people share their stories in the future.

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