More Franzen Flexing

Page 103. Clem’s academic performance is plummeting thanks to his middle of college sexual awakening. Which, of course, was Sharon’s fault.

“He’d return to school with a strict plan for himself. He would see Sharon only two evenings a week, and not stay over at her house at all, and he would study ten hours every day and try to ace every one of his finals and term papers. If he ran the table with A-pluses, he could still keep his GPA above 3.5—the figure which, though basically arbitrary, was his last plausible defense against the action he would otherwise be called upon to take.*

His plan was sensible but not, it turned out, achievable. When he stopped by Sharon’s house, it was as if they’d been apart for five months, not five days. He had a thousand things to tell her, and as soon as he took down her corduroys it seemed mean and silly to have worried about their height difference. Not until he returned to his room, the following afternoon, did he lament his lack of willpower. He recalibrated his plan, assigning himself eleven hours of daily study, and stuck to this schedule until Friday, when he treated himself to another evening with Sharon. By the time he left her, on Sunday afternoon, he would have had to study fifteen hours a day to make the numbers work.”

*enlist and go fight in Vietnam

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