Even the Mormons are on the Dissertation's Side

A sanity-preserving mechanism that I have is to always read books that have nothing to do with my dissertation during my commute. A Mormon-avoiding mechanism that I have developed is to pretend that I don't speak English. Now you are probably wondering why I have gone to the trouble of developing a Mormon-avoiding mechanism. Well, there is a Church of Latter Day Saints on the bus route and every morning young pimply Mormons board the bus and try to talk to people. Since there are no Russians in my neighbourhood, pretending that I speak Russian usually gets me out of long conversations with the nice Mormon boys. I could always tell them the truth, which is that I don't believe in God and eternal souls and all that jazz, but I figure that if the Mormons are correct, I'm going to Hell anyway. A few additional lies won't add much to my punishment and nice Mormon boys can argue about the existence of God, eternal souls, and all that jazz, but if nice a Mormon boy doesn't speak Russian, then there is nothing he can do other than turn to the person seated on his other side and try to talk to him/her.

Today I was seated at the back of the bus reading Melville in the original when a flock of nice Mormon boys boarded the bus. I have convinced nice Mormon boys that I don't understand English while holding an English-language novel in my hand but that was difficult. I sighed heavily and hid the Melville in my backpack and pulled out some boring book on Lermontov's place in Russian literature. The nice Mormon boys looked at my book cover, failed to recognize the alphabet, and passed by. They attempted to chat with a tough-looking teenager who was attempting to put on green eye shadow. She ignored them. -Zh.


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