Senior Wisdom: Alex Gortman

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Before entering the real world, another senior advises his successors.

Name, School: Alex Gortman, Creative Writing CC ‘11

Claim to fame: Over the course of a semester, I met a few times with Zadie Smith, a woman both intimidating and beautiful, who once introduced me to her pug dog who, I’m pretty sure, called me uncharismatic.

Where are you going: I’m heading down to a wonderful place called Kentucky Town, KY, where the pickles are briny and you have to dig elbow-deep in the self-serve barrel to get at them.

Three things you learned at Columbia:

1) One thing I’ve learned is that, at some point or another, a stray Frisbee on campus might hit you in the throat. And pursuant to that, one thing Columbia failed to teach me is why God left us so vulnerable and unprotected, neck-wise.

2) Most people are really ugly when they cry, so try to make good-looking friends, because helping them then seems a lot more dignified.

3) If you like to drink Creatine shakes and go to the gym with friends until you’re the size of a chair, you should probably start to wonder if you might be gay.

“Back in my day…” the KCCC seemed to be staging dorm-room exorcisms every other day, daring victories for Jesus, complete with demonic wailing and RA participation; students played out a sham protest in front of Butler—aping Gandhi poorly—that they insisted was not insipid and self-righteous, and everyone who was really stupid believed them; First Friday was a supposedly accepting, but really terrifying, event where people just didn’t realize how bad they smelled, but maybe it’s still like that.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I have long walked the dark alleys of my soul, still hoping to pass beneath just one streetlamp that will make me look at least a little less Jewish.

Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories? The intoxicated coterie at Death’s Door begs to know: “What do they mean, ‘War on Fun’? Are they talking about letting SEAS kids in?”

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I feel like I’d be betraying the gay community if I didn’t say cheese here, so I’m definitely going to say oral sex.

Advice for the class of 2015: In following the administration’s plans for graduation, I would like to offer general advice for the class of 2015, as well as advice segregated by race and sexual orientation, but that would take extremes of effort that I simply no longer have, so here’s for you all:

A lot of people feel the need to have a safe zone, someplace nobody will offend them and punches are never pulled—those people are called pussies: avoid them.

Any Regrets? I should have planted a bed bug in my enemy’s room when I had the chance.

Know someone wise? Submit your nominees’ UNIs and a few good tales to

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  1. Amazing

    Don't know the kid, but I highly approve of his writing.

    • Anonymous

      he sounds like someone who would troll here and write snarky comments.

    • but  

      kind of tiresome to read

    • Anonymous  

      Considering most of "his" writing is stolen from other (better) sources, I can see why you think it's good!

      • CC'11  

        Oh no...Did *somebody* not get into *their* MFA program, and now they're knocking their betters? How sad.

        • Anonymous  

          Nope. I'm not in creative writing and I'm not a first year. But when I do write, I don't need to steal my material. :)

          • Anonymous  

            Meant to say I *AM* a first year. Therefore no need to worry about MFA programs quite yet, but I assure you that with my GPA and credentials, it's not something I'll lose sleep over. :)

          • Anonymous  

            Um, if you're a first year, all the grades and "credentials" you've amassed so far are meaningless. As a first year, you are a nonentity on an employer's radar. Plus, give this kid a break. So he swipped a Sarah Silverman quote in one question...big whoop. If you've ever said "That's what she said," you're swiping Steve Carrell. Comedy bears repeating, steaing, and reappropriating. People just want something to be mad at.

          • Anonymous

            Sorry, I'm not a first year in the "just out of high school, have done nothing with my life" sense. I was an emancipated minor with a full time job at sixteen; a job which allowed me to travel the world. My "credentials" are far from meaningless, especially considering my peers list college clubs and internships as their claims to fame. The college experience can't compare to what I've done, and a degree to me is nothing more than a necessary formality. A perfect GPA at an ivy is just icing on the cake.

            But, you know, you have fun bragging about Zadie Smith's dog. It's clearly a huge accomplishment for you. Wouldn't want to sully the memories.

  2. this  

    is pretty funny

  3. Hilarious  

    Don't know you, but this is great.

  4. Also,  

    is your enemy Phil Crone

  5. CC '11  

    i took class with him freshman year. so funny!

  6. Shira  

    Alex, introduce me to Zadie, please? All: this man also has wonderful impulses, and could sense immediately that Dublin was a pit of depression.

  7. Anonymous  

    the frisbee neck comment is hilarious. wish i had met you!

  8. this sounds bizarre, but...  

    he's really good at blind contour drawing-doodles (whether or not he realizes it), and so I used to sit across from him during class, and if I was lucky he'd doodle one of me.

  9. this was

    awful! worse senior wisdom so far this year.

  10. Death's Door 5  

    There will always be a pickle barrel with your name on it in Kentucky Town. And also, a box of wine with the fanciest spigot we can shine up.

  11. Jealous  

    White Teeth is an amazing book. I'm so jealous ;__;

  12. CC '11 #2  

    Never met this kid, but his assumptions about the organized lgbt and other minority campus communities are alarming. Certainly not "wisdom" that I'd suggest underclassmen embrace.

  13. Anonymous  

    "A lot of people feel the need to have a safe zone, someplace nobody will offend them and punches are never pulled—those people are called pussies: avoid them."

  14. Death's Door  

    Hottest, baddest bitch in the game.

    Also, an extremely talented person and a wonderful friend. So grateful to know you Alex.

  15. jarkko  

    This was great, really funny.

  16. Anonymous

    If only I were a Dominican fire spinner, I would make this Jew my man-wife.

  17. Death's Door 3  

    Alex makes girls fall like dominoes. He be shittin on all you bitches. I'm so glad we met in Lit Hum.

  18. Hey,  

    are you winking at me?

  19. I should add  

    Alex is also a brilliant poet. This is by far the best Senior Wisdom of the year.

  20. Anonymous  

    I've definitely seen him around campus--and his boyfriend is totally hawt. Wish I'd gotten o know them, since all the other gay guys here suck.

    • OMG  

      SO hot. I swear he used to go to Columbia or maybe he's in GS. My suite mates always see them smoking outside Broadway and comment on how cute he is. No offense to Alex, but how did he get so lucky???

  21. DD Fan girl  

    well played, senor. so proud!!

  22. :(  

    Bwog, this is the last person that you should ask to write a Senior Wisdom.

  23. awful  

    How obnoxious and pretentious can you possibly get? Thanks so much for such a wonderful portrayal of Columbia students.

    But really, do we not put any value on people actually being decent human beings any more?


    Your bullpoopies about neck protection is 100% stolen from Sarah Silverman, fartbrain!

    • Anonymous

      Go watch the episode yourself. The line wasn't stolen: she says: "why are we so vulnerable, neck-wise?" Not "And pursuant to that, one thing Columbia failed to teach me is why God left us so vulnerable and unprotected, neck-wise."

      He didn't write this for money: he applied her joke that focuses on necks (with different language) to Columbia's campus, which is full of dangerous frisbee players.

      Also, check your source. The bitch who put the comment up is a gymnast with a terrible eating disorder.

  25. he had me until  

    the "pussies" line. Why is that even necessary?

  26. CC  

    Favorite Senior Wisdom so far. I'm sorry we're both graduating, Alex, and will never meet.

  27. CC11  

    Wow. For every Senior Wisdom that makes me wish I'd met more of the outgoing class, there's one like this that reminds me that Columbia has more than its fair share of repulsive scum as well. Don't let the gates hit you on the way out.

  28. Raleigh

    Ya, is weird, I used to see this guy all the time @ the Azn suicide spot.....

  29. !!!  

    A lot of these comments make me incredibly sad, mainly because it just reinforces the stereotype of how rude and judgmental our student body can be. And possibly that very few people here understand an unconventional sense of humor. Sigh. The trials and tribulations of Bwog life... I had the absolute pleasure of taking a seminar with Alex just this spring semester, and while I certainly wouldn't say we become good friends, I am grateful that our paths crossed for at least a brief period of time; Alex is articulate, gifted, witty, and a truly warm presence in the classroom. This is a wonderful Senior Wisdom, Alex. Best of luck to you in Columbia's MFA program next year. Watch out for this man - he's going places.

  30. Haters

    I'm beyond disgusted at the course many of you have taken in being immature and rude to this kid. Homophobes.

    If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Good luck entering the work force if you don't have a sense of humor - and have fun watching American Idol.

    • "homophobes"?  

      i don't see anything homophobic about the negative reactions here. People don't like Alex/this SW because he comes off as a condescending tool, not because he's gay.

      • Anonymous  

        Agreed. I didn't read every word of this because it's terrible so I'm unsure whether or not he mentioned his sexuality. But I didn't even know he was gay until I read the above dislike of this dude stems from the fact that he's a total dick...the only thing I laughed at was something he stole from Sarah Silverman. I hope his prestigious MFA program knows he has no moral objections to intellectual theft! They should probably look into the work that got him the spot...

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