“Then, this one time, in College…”
Once upon a time I wanted to fall in love with a sociology major. I blame Bearded Jake for this romantic idea. He probably ended up living in a cardboard box. He talked so fondly about one the year we lived in Spring Break Dormitory. He may be the richest man in world now, but we’ll never know.
We called him Bearded Jake. His name was way better than Bearded Jake, but I can’t use it.
You know sometimes nicknames just click without any type of fuss. I always loved that about his name. Jake’s nickname was original, if nothing else. The reason we had to nickname him Bearded Jake was because, as you know, in college for every Jennifer you meet there are at least four boys named Jake.
Our Jake was much cooler than the other Jakes, so we up’d his coolness with a fantastic name.
Bearded Jake won the hearts of the girls on the third floor of C Wing pretty quickly. We all loved him for the same reasons. He was a genius and always a bit down on his luck, so to speak. I wasn’t in love with Bearded Jake. My roomate may have dated him briefly, but I loved him. He was the classic smart guy. He waltzed around the dorm in his smart glasses and chess set always looking for a reason for a break or distraction.
I was such a sucker! I’d play chess with him any chance I could get.
I owe my great-grandfather, Ivan, a huge thank you for teaching me the game. He was a one room school house teacher years ago and incredibly smart. He wore train conductor overalls and had uncombed snow white Einstein hair. It stood up everywhere. He had layers to him I like that about smart men. I loved him, too.
Sorry, back to Bearded Jake. He always won when we played chess. I can’t even say I let him. He would beat me in only a few moves. There was nothing I could do, but what I found so fantastic was the way he explained how it was done. I could watch him use his brain all day.
I’m pretty sure he was related to Bobby Fisher. He’d say he was better than that guy. I would agree, because it just sounded way too romantic not too.
Actually, the best trait about him was the fact that he never really bragged about how smart he was to any of us. We had to push him to accept or agree that his mind was beautifully intimidating.
Something else I enjoyed about Bearded Jake were his sneakers. Converse. They seemed to help him float his body to and from class without any effort, maybe that was because he had such a small frame. For some reason, his sneakers completed his outlook perfectly. His train of thought was fascinating in the idea that he didn’t get caught up in society’s garbage.
He ran around carrying his cigarettes, chess game and textbook always spouting something poetic or highly intellegent. Then he’d sit back and smile. I can picture his smile as he waited for our replies.
I loved that about him.
Bearded Jake taught me a lot about myself. I found that I truly preferred the mind over the muscles, since I’d just come off swooning over Swimmer Mike. I learned that I preferred a guy who let me win once and awhile. No.
That my friends, is the left over frustrations of ungentlemanlike behavior. Haha! I’m just kidding.
Actually, winning didn’t matter a bit. I enjoy watching the people I love win.
Mostly, he taught me that it was okay to go against the grain, to be an individual and feel comfortable about it. I’m pretty sure he was aware of the fact that we worried about what would come of him some day. I hope he doesn’t live in a cardboard box. The world needed his mind. He recognized that he wasn’t following the typical college plan.
He lived the experience, for sure. He allowed himself the time to screw up.
I’m sure he wasted thousands of dollars all in the name of studying, but didn’t we all? I wish I would have thanked him for being just who he was. Thanks, Bearded Jake.
I would live in a cardboard box for one more day with his mind. Okay, maybe I’d visit for the afternoon…