People freak out in different ways. Some throw things. Others stab demons that turn out to be robot stepfathers (Buffy, Season 1, Episode 9).
I buy Macintosh products.
I am currently using, for the first time, my new “Pages” software, the Mac equivalent to Word. Is it any different? I avoid honesty when answering that question in an effort to let go of $75 with ease and say, “Yes, it is much more user-friendly. That interface!” I am consuming Apple products like Eve at a sustainable food farm grown by Satan. Why?
Oh goodness, here it comes:
I am starting to freak out about what I am doing with my time here at Yale. Oh yes, the classic sophomore question that makes people cringe in its stereotypical-ness. What oh what to do?
But Matthew, you say, I don’t give a damn. I can’t imagine a more clichéd topic on which to expound. To you people, I proudly say:
You are right.
That is precisely half of the problem. I don’t feel special about my life crises anymore; they are just too generic to be solved, and thus no one feels bad for me. My fifth grade weight problem? Lone fatty in room 205, let’s cut the Uncrustables. My seventh grade fear of girls? Chubby dancer in the Nelly-filled cafeteria, let’s lock you outside in the cold until you’ve kissed Rebecca Trachtenberg. I used to be a project that others wanted to fix. But now my sophomore-in-college-purposeless-problem? Lost soul in I51, grow a pair and get in line cause you ain’t special no more.
Everyone is having troubles finding their way right now. Everyone. And it can’t be solved by simply taking the carbs out of the lunch box; no one can give reliable, easy-to-follow tips. Good grief, everyone shovels their big flabby folds of wisdom onto a high pedestal to Stone Cold Steve Austin some advice right in your face:
“Oh, I remember when I couldn’t decide what to do with my life! [Casual laugh] You’ll find something.” And then they launch into how they somehow stumbled onto the perfect situation and are happy.
Well, thank you. I now know that your father knew this guy who had a sister who went to the 1977 Star Wars premiere with a 7-foot tall Chewy impersonator named “El Gigante” who started a chain of burrito carts that you now co-own and cheerfully run. Thanks for the knowledge of this serendipitous and completely unrepeatable path that you took toward your happiness that I can never follow. It is inspirational.
But the bright side of having a generic problem, I guess, is not that it can be solved easily, but that many people have it too. And there is comfort in numbers. When you are a wee little child, it is absolutely inconceivable that anyone could ever truly know what you are feeling. The amount of pain you experience when you scrape your knee on the rusty side of the water fountain used to be yours and only yours. But now, there is a certain consolation in seeing you are just one in a million knee-scrapers in the world. I mean, everyone scrapes his knee at some point. Just find these scrapers and cry miserably with them.
Wandering around campus this fall, I know I am lost. Horrifically lost. But I also know that I am surrounded by friends who are all just trying to find their way too. There is a comfort in that. Here at Yale, you can just futz around for a bit and see who the hell you are underneath all of that leftover fifth grade Smuckers fat.
Knowing this, I feel much more comfortable clicking the “Buy Now” button for a newly refurbished iPod Touch, Second Generation on Apple.com. If freaking out is just a sophomore cliché, I may as well be dancing to Mika’s “Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)” the whole way down.