Last week, I went to UHS to pick up a prescription. The cheery man behind the counter handed me the bag containing my pills — anti-altitude sickness medication for my spring break trip to Colorado — and asked if I needed a pill-splitter, as I was required to take the medication in half-pill doses. Before I could answer, he butted in, in his charming southern drawl, “Nah, nevermind, you won’t need one. You’ll have a pocketknife on your climb, right?” “Yeah,” I said. “I will.”
Over spring break, I’m going to Colorado on tour with Just Add Water, my improv comedy group. We will be performing at high schools, a retirement home, a college and a church. I am not going climbing.
“Now, you’re gonna want to start taking these pills about 24 hours before you reach the highest altitude of your climb.”
“And, just out of curiosity, how high is that gonna be?”
I don’t know what 12k is.
“Hmm, really? All right. This should be fine then. Go ahead and keep taking ‘em till you get to the highest point of your climb, and then you can go ahead and ease off.”
It should probably be known that I plan on taking these pills not because I need them, but because lil’ baby thinks his tum-tum might get all grumpy cuz of the scawy mountains. They were tentatively recommended to me as a total precaution, and, like the scared little child I will always be, I leaped at the chance. To be fair, we will be spending some time in Leadville, the country’s highest incorporated city and the second highest incorporated municipality. To be completely honest, I am a baby.
This is what spring break has been, and likely always will be, for me: affirmation of my failure as a man. For whatever reason, this fellow working at UHS, perhaps demented, thought I looked the part of a burly mountain man. Hardly. I am an indoorsman, someone who has spent spring breaks of my past conquering Final Fantasy VII, watching Arrested Development on my laptop and crying. As a middle schooler, I would sit at home watching MTV Spring Break wide-eyed, wondering who these mysterious young women were, and how I could get them to let me eat whipped cream off of their bodies, while Good Charlotte plays “The Anthem.”
“College,” I thought. “That’s how.”
So far, that has not worked out. Maybe it’s Yale’s fault. Maybe it’s mine. Far more likely, however, is that those people are just fucking weird. In the words of Good Charlotte, “You. Don’t wanna be just like you.” I won’t spend my spring break climbing mountains and hanging off of cliffs, like Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible 2,” and I won’t spend it drinking on a Mexican beach and throwing up in someone’s mouth in front of the cameras on a dare from Snooki, or Kurt Loder, or whatever. Instead, I’ll be acting like an idiot on stage with some of my closest friends, chopping up those pills with a fork, or a pencil, or anything sharp I can find.