Misha Glouberman is from Canada. He went to Harvard. At his 15-year reunion, he hosted an event called "Harvard Alumni Who Feel Weird About Harvard," then wrote a personal essay about it. Weird Harvard fact: In Canada, nobody cares about Harvard.
If you go to Harvard and then you live in New York, no matter what you do, the fact remains that you will have old college friends who are in the top positions in whatever field of endeavor you're concerned with. If you're twenty-five, you'll know people who are getting their first pieces published in The New Yorker. If you're forty, you'll know people who are editors of The New Yorker. You will know people who are affiliated with every level of government. And across the board, just everywhere, you will know some people at the top of everything.
But in Canada, if you went to Harvard, it's just a weird novelty, a strange fact about you, like that you're a member of Mensa or you have an extra thumb. There's no Harvard community here.
There are equivalent upper-class communities to some degree, like maybe people who went to Upper Canada College prep school, but it's not even remotely the same thing. I mean, partly there just aren't the same heights to aspire to. There's no equivalent to being the editor of The New Yorker in Canada, or being an American movie producer or anything like that. Partly, the advantages of class aren't as unevenly distributed in general.
.dddrriieeeW [Translation: So weird, I had to spell it backwards for extra weirdness.]
So while going to Harvard constitutes an invitation to join the American upper class, this invitation is pretty useless if you're living in Canada. I often think about how I was given this invitation—this tremendously valuable thing—and I just kind of threw it away. I'm not sure how I feel about this.
Weirdest thing about this essay: It is "as told to Sheila Heti." Did Harvard not teach this guy how to write by himself? Or do Harvard grads prefer dictation?
Apparently Glouberman wrote an entire book "as told to Sheila Heti." Weird! He is also the sole proprietor of The Misha Glouberman School of Learning, which has 70+ alumni and positive reviews from the local press. Weird, because the local press isn't nearly as elite as The New Yorker, and yet they recognize the magnificent weirdness of Misha Glouberman and his weird opus of weird. Help, I have fallen into a vortex of "weird," and I can't get up. [Paris Review, MishaGlouberman.com, image via Photojunkie's Flickr]