All Paul

Among the things I need to write is a book called All Paul. It will be a collection of stories about Brother 2's old roommate, Paul, who was quite possibly the strangest person on earth. Paul was very, very book-smart, but when it came to the rest of life, he was basically clueless. Each chapter of my book will be titled, "The Time that Paul ----." So let me share a couple stories with you.

The Times that Paul Met Me

The first time I met Paul was at Pie Night. I would go over to Brother 2's apartment every Wednesday night to make pies and watch Law and Order. Paul, at this time, wasn't living there yet; he was still just a visiting friend. When he came in the door, I was up to my elbows in flour and raw pie crust. Brother 2 introduced us:

"Cicada, this is Paul. Paul, this is my sister Cicada. Cicada, Paul served his mission in France and he knew our brother, Brother 3 when he was there."

"Ah bon?" I asked, and Paul and I started to talk in French about the mission, about when Paul's family lived in France when he was young, about Brother 3. It was a pleasant interaction and I was quite impressed with Paul. He spoke excellent French and he was dreamily good looking.

The next time I met Paul was at Pie Night. I was up to my elbows in flour and raw pie crust. As soon as Paul came in, I started talking to him in French. We talked about France, we talked about school, we talked about Brother 3. At one point, I made a mistake in French and corrected myself, adding an English "sorry." If you've never talked to me, you won't know that I pronounce sorry the Canadian way. As soon as Paul heard it, he perked up.

"Are you from Canada??" he asked. This was interesting, because I thought that the connection between me and Brothers 2 and 3 had been well-established by this point, and I thought that it was clear that we were Canadian."

"...Yes... I am," I said.

"Is that how you know Brother 2??"

I don't think that he knew that he was talking to the same person that he had been talking to the week before.

(As a side note, my RA from freshman year also met Paul about five times. The fifth time she met him and he asked her name, she said, "Paul. You know me. We've met. This is the fifth time that you're meeting me." Paul put on a winning smile, shook his beautiful head and said, "I don't think so!")

The Time Paul Dumped His Girlfriend

Months later, Paul had moved into Brother 2's apartment and as contact with him increased, so did the number of stories of the unbelievable things he did. Paul at one point had a girlfriend. His other roommate, Mother Goose, and I would watch him leave the apartment every day to go to his girlfriend's house. One day, on his way out the door, we commented that this one was probably a very special girl!

"No," responded Paul. "Not really. I don't actually like her!" This he said as if he were sharing a guilty little secret. And in fact, it was a guilty little secret!

"Paul!" I cried. "You don't like her? If you don't like her, then break up with her! It's not fair to continue a relationship with a person who thinks that you like her, and who likes you! That's called leading her on. What's the point in continuing to see her if you don't actually like her?"

But the point was rather obvious. Every night, Paul would head out the door to his girlfriend's house and come back a few hours later with a smile on his face.

Every night, Paul would get a pre-departure lecture from me:

"It's not worth it, Paul. You can't keep making out with her like this. She should be dating people who are interested in her. This isn't nice, Paul. Remember who you are!"

Finally, he went out the door, swearing he was going to do it. He was going to break things off.

The next time I saw him was at a BYU Climbing Club barbeque that Brothers 1 and 2 and I were hosting. I was making a conscious effort to go around and meet everyone in the club. I saw Paul and ran up to him.

"Did you do it?" I asked, eager. "Did you break up with her? Did you dump the tool? Did you lose the girlfriend??"

Paul's eyes went wide as he tried to violently, yet discreetly, shake his head. In French, he said through clenched teeth, "I will explain to you later."

I, still oblivious, said, "Well, don't say anything too important in French! My friend, Rags here, speaks French and he'll understand every word that comes out of your mouth!"

It was only a few minutes later, as I milled around and talked to others that I realized that there was this one girl that was tagging along behind Paul. In fact, she'd been tagging along behind Paul the whole time. In fact, she'd been standing right behind Paul when I asked---Oh, crap. Crapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrap.

I felt bad. I felt so bad. So I went home and immediately made a batch of cookies for Paul. Then I made a card for him, too (by the way, this post is inspired by redlaw's card share). The card had a drawing of me on the front, but instead of a head, I had two rosy butt cheeks. It said, "Boy, are my cheeks red." When you opened the card, it said, "Sorry I was such an ass." I delivered the cookies and card to his apartment. He wasn't there, so I dropped them off with Brother 2 and asked him to make sure Paul got them.

Later, after Paul had found the cookies and the card, he approached Brother 2.

"Uh, Brother 2?" he said. "Uh, your sister... she... uh... sortof... made me cookies?"

"Yeah, I know," said Brother 2.

"Oh." A smile of relief spread across Paul's face. "Okay, then."

Then Paul called me to thank me for the cookies.

"Oh, Paul! You don't need to thank me. Look. I wanted to say again how truly sorry I am."

"Sorry? For what?" Was it really possible that he'd already forgotten what had happened previously?

"For asking if you'd dumped your tool right in front of her?"

"Ohhhhhhhh, thaaaaaaaaaaaat. Oh, I just thought that was funny! I did dump her, but I promised to take her climbing one last time, so that's why she was there."

"Well, I'm sorry, Paul."

"Well, thanks for the cookies. And the card. I really liked the card."

"And I really felt like an ass, Paul."

He paused, like he was mustering the courage to ask something important. "Can I... can I keep the card?"


Th. said...


I hope you let him.

DP said...

That made me feel all awkward and uncomfortable inside as if I had been there.

Limon said...

That makes me wish all the more that I were dreamily good looking enough to get away in the slightest without remembering people's names. Forgetting someone's name five times? That's my worst nightmare. That and the going to school naked one. and the one where I try to run but can't. That one stinks.

Cicada said...

Yeah, I get the one where I try to scream but I can't. In fact, that's good enough to write a post about someday... maybe tomorrow.

The thing is, he didn't just forget her name. He honestly had absolutely no recollection of having met her five times. And she's a really pretty girl!

(And you are dreamy, sweet thing!)

Mary said...

I think I'm in love. Can I be Paul's next tool?

Cicada, the number of times you wrote crap was totally accurate and matched the sentiment floating in my brain exactly as I read it. You are brilliant.

redlaw said...


I thank you for the link and I also thank you for the beautiful description of the card, which caused me to snort water through my nose and spray it all over my computer screen (note to self - I must stop drinking while reading blogs).

metamorphose said...

Oh that Paul....great card by the way. I'll have to steal your idea next time I owe someone an apology.

Kelly said...

I ran into guys like that all the time in Boston, only without the beautifulness. I'm going to base the fact that none of them ever remembered who I was on the fact that they had their cerebral Harvard and MIT heads in the clouds, and not because I'm forgettable. Because I'm SO obviously not.

JB said...

The Oh Crap, crapcrapcrap thing was brilliant. You do that really well. And by "that" I mean you "illustrate what would be going on in my head" really well. Very creative card, btw! :)

Squirrel Boy said...

The best card I've ever received was an original Cicada creation. I will treasure it always.

Miss Hass said...

So how did he remember his girlfriend's name?

Kip said...

Hey, I haven't seen you since your farewell and just happened upon your blog. I know blogging thrives on anonymity but I remember your Law and Order Pie Nights. I'm an old I.S. fellow proofer from MD. Remember me? You're still a hilarious storyteller successfully keeping me from productivity at work. :)

Cicada said...


Of course I know who you are. I knew who you were as soon as Miss Hass mentioned "Kip" on her blog and said that Kip had told her that maybe, possibly, it could just be that, perhaps, she might have, sortof, a little, kindof had a slight and very small, miniscule problem with depression.

And anyway. I still think that your "temple marriage is so overrated" story is the best. I tell that to people all the time. And I don't believe that I ever keep you from productivity at work. You are the most honest person I have ever known. (I also tell the people about your three Ss.)

Cicada said...

Brother 1 says:
Hey, I was hosting the Y-Rocks BBQ too

Brother 1 says:
I was the damn faculty advisor

Cicada says:

Brother 1 says:
"brother 2 and I were hosting"

Brother 1 says:

Cicada says:

Brother 1 says:
Seriously. You have to fix that.

Cicada says:
Oops. I must have meant to write, "two brothers and I..."

Brother 1 says:
good. It is an easy correction then.

Brother 1 says:
I want an errata note

Cicada says:

Cicada says:
I fixed it!

Brother 1 says: