NARP Meets World: Lesson #2 - Forming an Identity
It has been almost three weeks since the release of the best thing ever to happen to Dartmouth College after the opening of Hanover’s third consecutive Thai restaurant: NARP Meets World. Each week, I effortlessly tap into my inflated ego and weave together a string of absurd self-assertions about my prowess. The best part about this is that even though nothing about my character lends a shred of evidence for such proclamations, you guys love it. In this fast-paced, 10-week hellhole we call home, the only consistency is my column. With each article, you seek refuge from the toxic academic environment of the Lone Pine through NARP Meets World, living vicariously through the grandiose tales I reliably produce on a weekly basis. But it’s time to wake up. NARP Meets World is nothing more than Gatsby’s green light beyond the docks, a nebulous fantasy of social mobility I mercilessly constructed out of nothingness to provide you all with a few moments of ignorant bliss. Nothing about this column is real. I just wish I could say this is as bad as it gets.
At best, this column has served a very small but noble purpose, providing you all with a few chuckles. But even then, I am being disingenuous. When I said nothing about this column is real, I meant it. Even my humor is a derivative of a greater source. In my last article, I made a bold claim about my column’s predecessor, Riding The Pine, in an attempt to make a name for myself. I called the authors a dynamic duo of monkeys, as their columns were nothing but an ambivalent collection of self-deprecating punch lines and unsubstantiated self-glorifications, occasionally with a side of insults directed toward their editor. But in some twist of fate, these monkeys have become my idols. The harsh reality is that NARP Meets World is a knockoff replica of RTP.
As much as I hate to admit it, RTP was the first source of quality entertainment I saw in The Dartmouth. In the midst of all the polarizing news and opinion articles, I, like you guys, found respite in the nonsensical banter Hank and Fish provided. (No surprise that this column came from the sports section!) If making absurd claims embellished with egregious SAT vocabulary clearly pulled out of thesaurus.com is a skill, then these two curmudgeons were artisans of the craft. And one year later, I find myself in a similar position, sitting in the ninth circle of hell, a.k.a the stacks, pumping out a cheaper and poorer quality of RTP.
My friends, these past two weeks have been an incredible milestone in my college career. In just this short period of time, I have received countless praises from my fellow classmates, my inbox has been filled to the brim with the ever so coveted flitzes and my hair has never looked better. I have obtained the three Fs: fame, flitz and flow. But even this trio of glory is not enough to appease my consciousness.
At the end of the day, I find myself in a similar situation as Gatsby. RTP was my green light across the docks, and in chasing after this quixotic fantasy I find myself shot in the chest by the piercing truths of this column, floating in a pool of self pity and shame.
As I contemplate my documented journey from NARP to King — this time three days past the due date and 100 words below the word limit — I cannot help but hum over the consoling words of one of the greatest philosophers of our time.
"We never had nothin’ handed, took nothin’ for granted
Took nothin’ from no man, man, I’m my own man
But as a shorty I looked up to the dope man
Only adult man I knew that wasn’t broke, man
Flickin’ Starter coats, man
Man you don’t know, man
We don’t care what people say"
- Kanye West, “We Don’t Care” (2004)
In a sense, Mr. West and I both share a similar story. We both have been heavily influenced by the dope man in our lives, and that is a fact from which we cannot separate ourselves. But how we choose to negotiate those influences and become our own person...that is a journey we all must embark on to find ourselves. We all have a dope man in our life, but in different ways. In some sense, Fish and Hank’s coolness was indeed addictive and irresistible.
“Freedom is what we do with what is done to us.”
- Jean-Paul Sartre