Reflections upon nearly finishing university.


The world is a cruel place, my friends. A mere glance outside my window tells me of this. To see the thronging crowds of homeless begging, banging on the glass, is to see my own future. I’m relatively certain that I shall join their ranks not long after my graduation, and that you will to, for what jobs are there other than the exciting career of homelessness?

“Why is this my future?” You may being asking yourself. The answer is relatively simple, and it is this: You, just like I, have no idea what you are doing. From the age of 5 to 20 something, your life has been laid out before your by your parents and the government, but then, upon the completion of your BA in Classics (or english or whatever) , the path you had been walking has suddenly split into an infinite number of directions. One choice, as it were, into 10,000. You know only a few hard facts:

1. You want to be alive. You know this because you have yet to kill yourself, or are at least very bad at doing so.

2. To survive, you need food and water. I am making an assumption that whoever may be reading this is human. If the reader is some sort of vampire or other undead abomination, he or she or it can substitute blood and/or brains for food and water as needed. Don’t worry, I won’t mind, provided they are not my blood and brains.

3. You need some sort of method to acquire food and water. It’s not like water falls from the skies or food grows on trees, is it? What? It does? Oh! Well, unless you are planning on being a farmer or some sort of hunter gatherer, two noble professions that I am in now way besmirching, then…

4. You need money to buy these things. And then, lastly

5. You probably need a job to find money

That’s all you know concerning your hazy and amorphous future. And so out you trot, into an strange, new world that doesn’t really want you there anyway, searching, vainly searching, for some sort of way to earn money. Fortunately for you there are lots and lots of people out there who want to give you money. Sadly for you, they probably want something in exchange. Also sadly for you, they probably want someone experienced in doing whatever it is that they want to pay you for, and won’t give you money if you have no experience.

“Hang on!” You say, scratching your head at the gangrenous sea captain who is refusing to hire you, “How am I supposed to get experience working on a merchant marine vessel if i am to inexperienced to work on a merchant marine vessel in order to gain experience?” The captain then leans in very close to you, so close that you can see the crustaceans scurrying about in his filthy beard, and feel the smell of foul old tobacco creep out of his acrid mouth and force it’s way into your nostrils, and whispers “No one knows me lad, no one knows. Now, get the fuck of me boat.” With that, he gives you a fatherly punch that sends you sprawling down the gangway, crashing into some barrels and fracturing your spine. Alas, such is life! All you can do is pick yourself up by your own bootstraps, dust off your exposed vertebrae, seek immediate medical attention, and try again.

Eventually you discover an oily man who tells you “Yes of course we have an opening! We always have openings!” He will then lead you into a damp and dark warehouse, populated entirely by under fed Indonesian children and their whip wielding overlords.

“Don’t worry!” He exclaims, clapping you on the shoulder and leading you to a bench with a sowing machine from the 1800’s and a grubby, empty glass, “The feeling of crippling despair will dissipate in time, along with you soul and dreams!” You nod mutely, and then ask “What’s the glass for?”

“Why, your tears of course!” He laughs. “The more you cry, the more you get to drink! Don’t worry though, anything you don’t drink will be collected after work and used to power the machines.”

“Your machines run on tears?” He recoils from you in shock, staring at you long ways down his scaly nose, curling his arms up into reptilian looking claws and hunching his shoulders in a most disturbing manner. He then hisses at you, like a vole, for some time, until he at last composes himself.

“No, of course not! Now, you are B shift, so your work hours will be 6am to 8 pm. If you are late, you will be fired. I suggest sleeping under your table, unless of course the bones will bother you…

“The bones…?”

“Ha! Don’t worry, they don’t belong to anyone who needs them. Not anymore at least…” His face softens, and he stares off into space as if remembering something long since past. He then snaps out of his reverie and smiles much like how a snake would if it had just gotten you to eat an apple. “Glad to have you aboard, work drone #5674! Good day, and work hard! Or else! Ha!”

You spend the next 20 years silently toiling at your machine, weeping only when you are thirsty. You’ve learned to save your precious tears for such instances. You occasionally pause and stare off into space, as a mutinous thought creeps into your brain, questioning why you ever left college in the first place. It was like a giant day care, you recall, but for adults! There were these interesting classes you could go to pretty much whenever you wanted! If you went to one, though, they made you take a test at the end. This was the only bad part you could recall , but it was surely better than stitching your fingers into a Nike logo on an almost daily basis! And you could drink beer instead of tears!

The thoughts pass, however, as quickly as a stinging backhand from your overseer. How did he get his job? You wonder, turning back to your sewing machine with a wistful sigh. It’s almost closing time, after all, and you have been looking forwards to your four hours of sleep for the past half day or so. The bones that litter your floor have now become your friends, and you can’t wait to tell them about the exciting day that you had! They are ever so good at listening, and dont seem to mind that you almost always fall asleep half way through your stories. They are always there when you wake, aren’t they?.

Such is your fate, but don’t feel bad! It’s mine too. Therefore, you should endeavor to stay in college as long as possible, because the real world is scary, and full of violent sea captains and oily, half reptilian slave masters. College is a safe place. Trust me, I’ve seen the signs in front of the library.

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1 Comment

  1. EXCELLENT! I agree. Stay in school. Teach creative writing. That is, if you can stand having to be reminded every time you look at your Nike’s that you have a degree.

    I really enjoyed that!

    Reply

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