The Big Two-Oh

by Nancy Lai | 11/2/01 6:00am

The fact that I've spent the past 24 hours studying for my midterm (meaning, not sleeping) and the fact that I've just turned the big 2-0 (2 O?) makes it a most auspicious time for me to be attempting to write an articulate D column. I'm sure you agree.

Or perhaps you don't agree. Nevertheless, know that the presence of my column in "The D" today excludes the presence of lesser articles that might be so preposterous as to contain "opinions" and "insights" on the state of the world and the human condition as Righteous America fights its Holy War against Eeeeevil. Chyaah. Right. So, essentially, I'm doing you a favor by extending the length of my sleep deprivation in order to provide you with this exceptional article. I accept your profuse thanks in advance.

Having spent two entire decades on this hackneyed earth and having reached that point in my existence where life is no longer "life!" and is more of a sullen creeping towards death (haha), I think it's about time for me to bestow upon you (the reader!) some advice. My youth has slipped by, the cold breath of decay lingers in my ear -- and I grasp at the flimsy straws of my wretched mortality but alas, alas. All is in vain.

Heed the following advice where applicable. This list is entitled: "What You Young Whippersnappers Should Know" or "Deep Thoughts -- The Products of Post-Teenage Angst Instigated by the Onslaught of Old Age" and is then divided into two sub-topics.

Things to Avoid

  1. Avoid hot glue guns. If you cannot avoid hot glue guns, avoid engulfing your fingers with a torrent of hot glue. If you cannot avoid engulfing your fingers with hot glue, avoid friends who will chase you around while cackling and threatening to bite your burns and "suck the juice out."

  2. Avoid Kahlua, Arbor Mist, champagne and Corona (and any combination of these things) before important examinations -- even if it is your birthday and you are turning 20.

  3. Avoid turning 20. Once you reach a certain age, it's next to impossible to stay up 'til five in the morning chatting with your friends and then wake up for 7:45 drill. Frat parties become less fun. Walking to frat row coat-less and wearing a tank top in the dead of winter suddenly strikes you as impractical.

  4. Avoid sending long printouts to Collis. Instead of putting the printout into those boxes, they "hold" it while you search frantically. Then, when you ask for it, they give you dirty looks and call you a miscreant and a profligate. They also have this back room and latex gloves and people called "Collis Managers" who do things to you.

Things to Do

  1. Learn how to side-sip Colt 40s like a thug. Your recruiting officer is sure to ask you to demonstrate this indispensable skill. And it'll make your parents proud.

  2. Wash your dishes within a decent interval after having eaten off them. Not three weeks later. Use dish detergent. Not antibacterial soap.

Oh! Snap. During my break from writing (procrastinating), I fumbled through a couple of letters I've written in the past and found an end of the term "My Thoughts on The Course" type paper I wrote for an Existentialism course that I took in high school. And since it marked a milestone in my youth, it might be nice to see the contrast between "Nancy at her most idealistic and ingenuous" and "Nancy as a jaded junior in college." (Also, this means I don't actually have to write anything new for this column. This is quite convenient.)

Here it is:

"Ho hum. One last thing to be written for English class. There is a certain release about it -- and also the terrible, dawning realization that high school is over and college is beginning bringing along with it expectations of maturity. Must I relinquish idle frolics and don the ponderous trappings of an adult? Eesh.

"Existentialism. In Bergman's (not sure if that's how it's spelled), the 'Seventh Seal,' I think he questions the plausibility of living life in such an absurd and barren landscape, a life without hope. At the end of the film we are answered with a shot of the horizon and Death leading most of the main characters in a macabre 'dance.' I'm guessing the answer is 'no.'

"Existentialism is the search for identity in the barren landscape of this world where 'life is meaningless but suicide absurd.' But simply allowing the consciousness of absurdity overcome you with passivity doesn't seem like too good of a resolution. Mr. _____ said that 'when the bubble of illusion/delusion (I'm not really quoting just trying to recall.) bursts, we must have something to hold on to when reality seeps in.' I think the 'something' we need to hold onto is self-determination. I think it's the same conclusion that I came to during my sophomore year that life sucks but I can make it endurable. Hum. This whole idea of self-determination smacks of self-help books and Richard Simmons.

"Anyway. It's off to college and uncertainty I go. Perhaps we will meet again in another life. Goodbye. Haha."

Sigh. What an innocent I was. Well, at least I can vote and legally buy cigarettes and pornography and non-alcoholic beverages.

D'oh.