I’m not the biggest fan of nostalgia. At this moment, I have God knows how many friends who are graduating from college, and virtually all of their Facebook statuses have some sort of remark about how they can’t believe this is really happening. Yes, you can. Do you know what happens when you graduate? You put on a robe and hat, walk onto a stage, and get a diploma. There, I’ve spoiled it. I graduated on May 21st of last year, which, if I recall correctly, was also the day the world was set to end. When it failed to do so, I was forced to eat dinner with my family. Talk about mixed blessings.
As anyone who knows me or reads this blog can tell you (there really aren’t too many in the latter camp but not the former), I complain a lot. These days, I’m complaining about the fact that I’m leaving for grad school in just a couple of weeks, yet have tens of thousands of dollars in unmet financial need. I’m working on a solution. Fellowships, scholarships, drug dealing, whatever. That isn’t the point. The point is that even though I’ve made it this far—gotten into my dream program, found housing, made arrangements to pay for at least some of my education—there are certain people in my life who still can’t trust me to take care of myself. There’s nothing that I can say that will convince them. Trusting somebody is a leap of faith no matter how you slice it, but whenever I tell them I’ll be fine, they bring up some way in which I have failed to meet their expectations. Isn’t reassuring me supposed to be their job? I have enough problems on my plate without having to act as my own support group. Not that I need a support group, mind you. A group of people who tell me that I, Robot King, am the greatest person in the entire world and will succeed in spite of my many obstacles will suffice. I’d have a much easier time dealing with my laundry list of neuroses if my own friends and family weren’t constantly picking them apart.
Summer has a way of drawing out sentimental reminiscences. Something about the heat and the atmosphere puts me in a reflective state of mind. People take of their clothes, go for a swim, then walk down the street half-naked on their way to bars or ice cream parlors. It’s supposed to be fun and carefree. Not surprisingly, I never quite saw it that way. Maybe it’s just because I’m unemployed, and even when I was in school, summer tended to drag by, but I don’t see summer as a blissful time. When I was a kid, I spent most of it lounging around looking for something to do. Maybe most people don’t have that problem. For me, having the entire day to myself can be either liberating or defeating. As with most things, what matters is how you deal with it.
I really can’t say that too many years of my life have been joyful. Even at my best, I tend to be plagued by fears that what I have now can’t last. Of course, I’m usually right. A self-help speaker would tell me to live in the moment. Yes, I know. The problem is that the moment usually sucks, too. Don’t worry about me. I’m alright. The only thing that needs to change is that the people who insist that I won’t be alright are the ones who are always trying to “help” me. You wanna help me? Ask me about anything other than the stuff that I spend every waking moment thinking about. Ask me what movies I’ve seen lately, or if I’d like to join you on whatever you’re about to do. Don’t ask me about my future. It’ll work out. I’m praying.
I try not to live on hope. Hope has this annoying tendency to always let me down. Rather, I focus on faith. Faith cannot be destroyed. And for much of my life, it’s all I’ve had.
When it comes to summer music, it’s hard to beat the Beach Boys. I’m listening to them as I write this. That said, they’re not my favorite band for this season. Generally, I lean towards 70s and 80s music. Often, that means hair metal. There is hardly a cheesier and more uplifting song in existence than Van Halen’s “Jump”. Some might say that it’s about suicide, but I like to think that the speaker is not jumping from quite so great a height.
My graduation ceremony was boring. Most of them are. The head of my department (or some such important person) gave a mildly inspirational speech about the practical applications of an English degree, then a couple of students gave speeches. The first was the most clichéd graduation speech I’d ever heard, hitting every trope from “It seems like just yesterday…” to “Thanks to my friends and family for all your love and support” to “I can’t believe it. We did it!” As for the rest of the event, let’s just say that I was glad I brought a book. Hey, what kind of English major would I be if I didn’t read a lot?
Try not to get too excited about your impending graduation, be it a literal or a figurative one. We’re all growing and changing. The only thing that rolled-up slip of paper means is that now you have to find some other way to occupy your time. These days, I watch TV and masturbate a lot. Care to join me?