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That Was a Rather Inconvenient Tuesday

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"Asleep in my dorm room."

Wow. That might have been the most non-descriptive, vaguely written lead in the history of journalism. I'm all about setting new lows around here.

I was actually getting the answer out of the way. You know, the answer we're all going to share today.

What's the question? What's the question, you say? Look at the date of this article and ask that again.

Where were you five years ago today?

I was asleep in my dorm room. My first class was at 9:30. Luckily it was in a classroom just downstairs, so I could theoretically roll out of bed 10 minutes prior and make it with time to spare.

As I sat down in class the teacher and a couple students were talking about something that hit the World Trade Center. As is with most early mornings, my brain functions at a very slow, stubborn pace. But that wasn't important. My prime focus was on pretending I did the required reading assignment.

Ninety minutes later I faked out the class, but more notably, the professor. Yeah, I read the short story. Heh. Suckers.

Tuesdays in my first semester of college rocked. I had just the one class at 9:30 then, like Sean Connery on Saturday Night Live's rendition of Celebrity Jeopardy, "The day is mine!" It was time to check my fantasy baseball team and see how they had done, as well as rotate out the starting pitchers for ones slated to throw that night.

The Internet was ungodly slow. Well, for the last couple of weeks it was notoriously sluggish, thanks to all those crazy kids downloading from Napster.

The TV reception was fuzzy. That was gonna make it rather unpleasant to watch The Price Is Right.

I finally loaded ESPN's front page. A story on the sidebar noted that an airplane crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. That's odd, I thought. ESPN doesn't normally run non-sports news on their front page.

A bit later ESPN reported that the Yankees game was cancelled. Well, nuts. Roger Clemens was scheduled to start, and I had him on my fantasy team.

Later the commissioner announced that all games would be cancelled for the day. Then it was that all games were cancelled until Friday.

Well, damn, I said. This is serious. For I was a serious sports fan, and my Arizona Diamondbacks were in the thick of a pennant run.

Bowling Green's football team was scheduled to go to a Lou Holtz-led South Carolina. A ranked team. BG didn't have a prayer of winning. But college football was cancelled for that week, and our team was saved. The NFL cancelled their games that week as well.

What the hell was I going to do for a week? Certainly not my reading assignments. Did I know anyone who lived in New York? Not that I could think of. My friend who lived down the hall knew a guy who went to NYU, but that was it.

All of the shows on TV were talking about this thing. SportsCenter focused on athletes impacted by this, which games were cancelled, how they'd be rescheduled, and other stories of that nature. The late night shows certainly weren't ready, either.

I had some computer games, and I thought about donating blood. I tried to keep on writing on my website back then to ease the hurt felt by everyone, but the jokes didn't come out so well:

Tough week for everyone. Thankfully I don't know anyone who lives even remotely close to NYC. A lot of people think that Afghanistan extremists are to blame. Do we really know who did this? Should we just bomb every country alphabetically? I'm sure our faces will be red if the people of Zambia have anything to do with this.

The Onion did it a little better. Then the games eventually resumed and things kind of went back to normal.

Well, that's where I was. I never said it was a heartfelt story.

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About Suss

  • Tuesday Sept 11 2001 I was hauling a 5-gallon bucket of water through my living room to water my flowers out on my penthouse balcony.

    Something made me turn on the TV and I saw the first tower on fire.

    I just stood there, being an ameteur architect I wanted to see how they’d get the fire put out. They said a small private plane had hit the building.

    Then the 2nd plane hit the 2nd tower rigth before my eyes on live television and I knew it was no accident.

    I stood there for about half an hour and my arm began aching.

    That’w when I realized I was still holding the heavy bucket.

    In fact I never left the TV and taped the whole day rerecording over videos I hadn’t seen yet because I didn’t have new tapes.

    The flowers never go watered that day…

  • I was trying to sleep in that morning. Who wants to wake up early on their day off and wait for a furniture delivery?

    When I finally got out of bed it was 8:30am. Time for Good Day NY…on went the TV.
    8:46am back from my bathroom routine I started getting dressed…Breaking News: A plane hit WTC Tower 1.

    I started to panic, what floors were hit? I couldn’t tell. I called my office…but no one picked up…just voicemail. I didn’t know if it was a good thing.

    The news says something about a terrorist attack and no sooner are those words spoken…a 2nd plane hit tower 2. I fell into tears.

    I watched all day. I thought about my daily routine and exactly where I would have been at that faithful moment.

    Would I have been getting my breakfast at the deli downstairs? Would I have been in the elevator? Would I have…?

    At least all of my closest friends, family and all of my coworkers were safe.

    I want to thank Bob’s Furniture for initially delivering the wrong couch just a week before.
    I want to thank my mom for asking me to be home that day to wait for the replacement couch.
    I want to thank my boss for not asking me to come to work that day.

  • Did I know anyone who lived in New York? Not that I could think of.

    Didn’t stop to consider whether you knew anyone in D.C., though, did you?

  • Sorry. Sorry, Suss. I know that wasn’t fair. I just am a little sensitive as a DC resident…people so often seem to forget about that OTHER city that got attacked on 9/11.

  • NYC, DC, Pennsylvania. I got nothin’.


    The contrast between the profound, tragic impact of 9/11 -vs- the mindless, flippant, vapid essay about YOUR adolescent reaction to it is fucking astounding.

    You should be ashamed — and beg the editors to delete this evidence.

  • Oh no, Shark. No. You’re not getting away with this one. When everyone else laid out their emotions on this day, I too gave away what I thought. I know what I felt was cold and unlike anyone else’s, but I took that chance. No, I’m not going to be ashamed for sharing honest thoughts. No way Shark. Not about such a subject. Fuck you Shark. Fuck you.


    Just because thoughts are ‘honest’ doesn’t mean they’re admirable.

    I stand by my assertion: you should be ashamed to be so selfish and immature.

  • In that case, my position has not changed on “fuck you.”


    …thus proving your immaturity.

  • Mark Saleski

    i know you are but what am i.

  • MCH

    “Fuck you Shark. Fuck you.”
    – Matthew T. Sussman

    Oooohh…be afraid, SHARK, be very afraid…


    Imagine this:

    It’s Dec. 7, 1941.

    The Japanese launch a surprise attack against Pearl Harbor, destroying 12 ships and killing over 2000 Americans.

    A newspaper columnist writes a commentary wherein he whines about the frustration he felt when he was unable to get The Jack Benny Show on the radio.

    He titles it, “That Was A Rather Inconvenient Sunday”.


    Essay Question:

    Explain — in 25 words or less — your reaction as an American citizen.