Cut to Claire, arriving at her future college. After being introduced to Henry (her "cruise director"), they set out on a quick tour of the campus, which seems to consist mainly of a large garage and some picnic tables on a sidewalk. Don't they have classrooms anywhere? What if it rains? Henry hammers home that "every last freak of every last California high school" eventually ends up there, just so we know that Claire will fit right in. She's excited to spot a couple of kids welding a statue together (right in the middle of a busy sidewalk!), and even more excited to learn that welding is an actual curriculum requirement. "How cool is it that welding is a requirement, and not fucking calculus?" she wonders. Calculus? Is that a shout-out? Henry assures her that while her math grades may not be critical (and for those of you still in school, allow me to assure you that they'll NEVER be critical), the content of her application will make all the difference. He adds that letters of recommendation are especially important, so even though Henry thinks Billy's photography is totally derivative of Gregory Crewsden (which it really isn't, but that's a different story), he still thinks "the alumni thing will serve [her] well." Pleased that her acceptance seems imminent, Claire stops to snark on a statue of pool balls in a triangle entitled "Jesus Balls." Shut up, Jesus. The real kicker, however, comes out in the parking lot, where Claire finds another hearse just like her own parked next to the Lean Green Corpse Machine. Gee, do you think she's supposed to belong here?
Over at Nikolai's Flower Shop For Physical (But Not Emotional) Therapy, Ruth is blathering on and on about scheduling plans for the two of them to be together. First she wants to go out every other night, but once she realizes that means they'd miss the occasional Saturday, she decides to re-work the plan. Instead, they'll pre-select four nights each week, always including Saturdays, because, as Ruth puts it, "Who wants to stay alone on a Saturday?" Clearly Ruth doesn't write a lot of recaps. Nikolai, however, spends the entire scene gamely lifting weights with his recovering legs and mindlessly repeating "okay" after every other sentence. In case you didn't get it on your own, we're supposed to realize that Ruth has broken him worse than the Mafiya ever could.
Now it's time for Nate to go visit Lonnie Schlichting (a.k.a. The Surly Sick Kid). Of course, little did I know when I mocked Lonnie last week that his purpose in death isn't merely to remind Nate of his own anvilicious mortality, but rather to remind ME of the perils of perma-snark. The guy's name is Aaron, people. That's got to be a shout-out, right? I mean, he's bitter, he's Jewish, he bitches about everything, and he's even got really bad hair. I just can't believe I didn't see it sooner. Anyway, Aaron inquires about the inner workings of the crematory -- or, as he calls it, "the human fry-master." Much like his namesake, he's keenly interested in getting down even the tiniest details, right down to the identity of the person who pushes the starter button. Of course, since he's lonely and friendless, he's forced to request that some random crematory employee handle that particular function. You know, I always assumed that if the writers on this show ever made me a DGDJ, I'd end up as some fat, sweaty guy, but I guess I can live with being surly and unwanted. It's certainly gotten me this far. On the other hand, what's up with the fact that Nate is cleaner-shaven than my character? That doesn't seem right, somehow. As part of his litany of loss, Aaron also explains why he doesn't have a girlfriend: "I'd start thinking, 'I don't like this about her' or 'I don't like that about her,' and then I would start to feel this thing on the back of my neck, just like one of those superballs, and it would just throb with the word 'leave,' 'leave,' 'leave.'" Ahh, I know that throbbing well. "And the second I got my life back," he continues, "the ball would disappear." I know that feeling, too. Sometimes shaving off a bad ball is the best thing you can do for yourself. Besides, I'm finding the image of my exes as throbbing, rubberized, cancerous growths to be particularly compelling these days. Nate tries to convince him that lots of people go through the same thing, but Aaron isn't buying it. "No they don't, man!" he shouts. "Okay? They don't. Most people just pick someone. I never looked at someone and just said, 'Okay, I'll take you.'" Folks, we have a title. And a metaphor. And a reason for Aaron's continued integration into the plot, as Nate promises to visit him every day, just to prove that it's never too late to connect with other people. Sigh. But what if I don't like other people?