They say that youth is wasted on the young, and that's not just for old fogeys anymore. When I grew up, I felt that being young was a kind of assumption and right, not a privilege. It still amazes me that even at age 25, how much of a difference there is between me and the sea of whiny brats that crawl from their primordial High School youth like grunion, except with more spawning. I have spent a quarter of a century breathing oxygen, and sometimes I wonder if, when I was 7, and these kids were born, whether there was a new medical regulation to drop infants on their heads.
College was a waste to me at 18, a disaster I'd rather not go into because sometimes I still get cold sweats and keeps my therapist on speed dial. College reminded me of why I hated high school, and how I felt somehow this would be different, but I lacked the experience to understand why I was there. So I left in a fit of defeat that would have soured an entire vineyard of grapes. "I don't need this," I said. No, I didn't *deserve* this! But *deserving* had a double meaning I was not prepared to accept until some years later I realized the guy in the White House was no better than the frat boys who bring in kegs of beer to a Christian picnic. In the 7 years hense, I have been prividged to the underbelly of the lowbrow uneducated employment sector which sucks so hard, it creates a false vacuum, sucking everything into its event horizon until the light of daily joy can't even escape. In those gruelling years, it finally dawned on me that school was for learning something valuable, and not something you did "in between" the better parts of your life. Suddenly, I understood what it meant to think beyond a week what "investing the future" meant. So I sucked in my gut and went back hoping for some 1910 version of college where people still wore sweaters and chewed on pipes.
Instead I was to be reminded of part of the reason I left: 80% of the student body were morons. In seven years, I have learned a better long term strategy, like "will I have a job next week that doesn't require a uniform I had to order from a catalog and still be grateful?" and "You know, I will tired of that new XBox game before those bananas on my counter turn yellow. Why don't I spent the $60 on some education?" Was I this stupid? Surely not. Anyway, it was academic. I didn't have to face teenagers in 7 years, and now I was surrounded by them.
I should be sympathetic to the majority of the students, since at 18, I was also a bit daft. Indeed, maybe if I had prepared for this, I would not have been blindsided by the type of people who think wearing flip flops to a wedding was not a big deal. But it came all too sudden when I was desperate to pass a class, and was hindered by a dozen students all chatting over Facebook and acting like the professor was no louder a background noise than a neighbor's boom box playing while he mows the lawn. I find that being the first one, nay, the ONLY one to raise his hand most of the time gets rolled eyes that my father would have slapped me for if I did them at the dinner table.
I am tried of finding my "study group" consists of people too hungover to study, and text one another over cell phones I couldn't afford on my currently weakened salary. I am tired of knowing that these kids will always have a parent to bail them out, and the only thing that bailed me out was a loose hiring standard by a workforce with turnovers so high, it resembled a Dutch bakery. While half my casual wear consists of clothing I have owned since the logos on them were long since retired, I watch these trend lemmings buy the latest Old Navy tripe that they only soil with vomit from their latest drinking binge like Kamikaze pilots trying to outdo one another.
And what's with the drinking? What I have found is that while getting shitfaced makes you a rebellious spirit before the age of 21, afterwards it makes you an alcoholic. I see no difference. I drank to escape, what do these kids drink for? To avoid realizing the Jonas Brothers make terrible, corn-fed, industry whitewash that turned the rhythm and blues into a Disney TV special? Maybe they drink because it delays the realization that childhood was over a long time ago, but they were too busy blogging about Brittany Spears to notice. Fuck, sometimes I drink to forget that. But no, they don't know why they drink. "It's fun!" says a girl who more protein strands in her hair that a fish hatchery egg tank. Her face covered in MAC makeup, accented with eyeliner she learned from a Bratz doll, smiles with the type of grin normally reserved for retarded children who get cookies for lunch today. She doesn't remember how those nude photos of her ended up in MySpace, but any popularity is good, right Betsy Lou Whore?
I used to wonder what brain dead orangutans used to make company decisions at all my former menial jobs. Who decided to send me to a 2 hour seminar called "Who Moved My Cheese?" Why did I have to advertise specials that nobody wanted to eat, and endure the abuse that wearing a polyester uniform that smelled of fry grease and broken dreams could bring? What marketing department attached our company to a failed 3-D animated abortion of a film that left the theaters quicker than diarrhea leaves a goat? And who made the "straight to DVD sequel?"
Oh. It's these kids. Who on graduation day will blink stupidly in the sunlight, trusting the career advice of a guy who couldn't do better with his life than "career counselor," and joining the workforce as middle management and making MY life hell right now.
So as I go past the quads, feeling more out of place than ever, I feel a mixture of angst and futility, praying to God that I will find someone more mature than a preteen hopped up on snack cakes to help me graduate.
Ruby, I hope you make it. You fight the good fight, and college graduation is totally worth it. You have my deepest respect.