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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Katarina Rothhorn
Katarina Rothhorn

The first message I ever sent from my Northern Michigan University sanctioned email was to the editor-in-chief of the North Wind asking if there was any way I could join the staff. Classes hadn't even...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

GOALS NEEDED — NMU has scored just five goals all season and with four of their losses coming in one score matches.
M Soccer: Offensive struggles lead to three straight losses
Lily GouinSeptember 29, 2023

Rookie author’s ‘Pants’ unimpressive

(1 out of 5 stars)

With no well-established fan base to consider, first-time authors sometimes try too hard to relate to their readers and draw them in. Because I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, that’s what I’m going to say went wrong with “I Just Want My Pants Back,” the debut novel from David J. Rosen. As you may have already guessed, I bought the book solely because of its title. Unfortunately, that’s the most impressive thing about it.

Rosen introduces us to the world of Jason Strider – a twenty-something with an Ivy League English degree and a crappy apartment in Manhattan. Toss in a job at a small casting company that he hates, and you’ve got a character that defines my generation. Rosen’s background as a writer and producer for several shows on MTV serves him well here, since this protagonist could pretty much be anyone who watches the channel, especially because Rosen also equips Strider with an iPod.

As can be assumed of any adventurous young man fitting this demographic, Strider enjoys getting drunk, doing drugs and having one-night stands. In fact, the book begins after a night of al the above. On her way out of his apartment, Jane – the girl of the day – decides it’s too cold outside to wear her skirt and borrows a pair of Strider’s jeans. Although Strider doesn’t even care to know Jane’s last name, he deems it important to have both her cell phone number and e-mail address. In the days following their hookup, Strider tries contacting Jane again for another meeting as well as the return of his “good Dickies,” but she ignores every attempt. When he finally sees those Dickies again, it’s almost too ridiculous to be believable.

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The premise of this book has the potential to be really funny, but Rosen decides to forgo humor and instead emphasize how great it is to be drunk and stoned all the time. Strider literally wakes up and arrives at least an hour late to work every morning, dicks around on the Internet during his shift instead of doing anything constructive and then transitions into evening by ordering from the same Chinese restaurant. He then finds a trendy hotspot to drink and do drugs with the ultimate goal of meeting and sleeping with a girl. Clearly, this is one of those people that you would hang out with once and then only call when you want to remind yourself why your life is on the right track. This is how every chapter works, and by the end I really wanted something awful to happen to him.

I don’t associate with people like Strider in real life, so each of my interactions with the character felt more or less like an awkward run-in at the grocery store.

But for all of the repetitive ridiculousness that Rosen put me through, there were a few gems in the writing every now and then. Lines like “many of my dishrags are the clothes of former lovers” lend evidence that Rosen does possess natural talent, but for some reason decided to save it for another time. At the bitter end, after Strider’s neighbor goes through lung cancer and two of his friends choose him to act as rabbi in their wedding ceremony, Strider (finally) comes into some self-awareness. Not one of those huge epiphanies that can completely turn a book around in the last 20 pages, but enough to break the monotony of Strider’s ignorant mindset.

I can’t decide whether Rosen is trying to live vicariously through his character (Strider’s physical description is eerily similar to Rosen’s photo on the back of the book) or if he’s intimately familiar with this lifestyle and is trying to make it sound cool – either way, “I Just Want My Pants Back” is a lame first attempt.

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