January 6, 2008

Things to Remember When Returning to School

2008 --the year of reasonable facsimiles of various gods. On the cusp of turning thirty-three I darken the halls of college once again. It has been at least five years since my return to third-year studies of Creative Writing and Philosophy. No faces are familiar. Only the manic scramblings of eighteen year olds as they scurry to their six-hour Biology lab or intro to Criminology or Sociology or whatever the hell. I try to play it cool, slow my pace, walk with purpose, look people in the eye. I'm obvious in that painful way and if I were the observer I'd feel inclined to inhale through my front teeth in a sad hiss of pity. Butchered attempts at connection with a generation far removed. I am old, uncool. I am cool-inverted. The lack of coolness. You get the picture. In the spirit of self-deprecation here is a helpful list of things to remember when you return to college at almost twice the age of the other students.

1) Do not wear tight shirts. Don't even let it cross your mind. Your once sturdy pectorals are only two beers away from becoming the dreaded man-tits. And for God's sake make sure your pants do not taper in at the cuff. Don't try to wear their clothes, but have some self-respect and stay away from that cardboard box marked "retro" at the bottom of your closet. Stay away from sweatpants and any underwear not considered boxer-brief. No one wants to see the tip of your penis pressing through the fabric of your trousers.

2) For some reason everyone is taller these days. Perhaps due to microwaving everything they eat. Maybe someone dropped a nuclear isotope into the gene pool, I don't know. But you're short --and squat. And if you aren't careful your clumsy attempts to look taller by walking with a straight back will cause you to trip. Probably because your feet are too big. Or because you've strained a muscle and are now unable to turn properly.

3) Talking at length about great bands like Alice in Chains or Soundgarden or Screaming Trees or Pearl Jam may induce blank stares. Don't even go near Neil Young or Bob Dylan. The day you vowed would never come has arrived. You are not up to date with their music. Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance are not upcoming episodes of Battlestar Galactica. Wear your favorite band T-shirts, but don't expect any praise.

4) When you raise your hand in class, be damn sure to keep your responses to two or three sentences. Remember your first years in college? When you sat at the back of the class and groaned whenever that "mature student" at the front raised his hand to wax pedantic? You have become that person. Sure, you don't wear Christmas sweaters and sweat pants --at least not in public, but no one cares about what you know. Speak smart and speak fast or someone will throw their pencil at you.

5) Do not make repeated eye-contact with the sumptuous young females seated in the classroom. They may have been flattered and flirtatious back in the day, when you still looked young and virile, but now they find you creepy. And you are creepy if you do that. What chance do you think you have anyways? Admire them from a distance. Mourn the days when you were in your prime. Then leave them the hell alone. Pervy old codger.

Words of wisdom, all you returning mature students. We are a dying breed, a restless boat moored at the dock of youth --alright, that last one was lame. We are the outcasts.

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Razoir said...


All the more reason to do an online program where you minimize the probability of making an utter fool of yourself in person!


Anonymous said...

Nice job, Harry. Smooth and snappy. Who the hell are the Screaming Trees? When I was the age of most university students, I was listening to bands like Boston... Been a Long Time, I guess.



Harry Tournemille said...

Boston is still cool, man. Guitar Hero (a rather delicious video game) uses one of their songs.

And yes Razoir, that may be subconscious reason why half my courses are online these days.

dear wifey said...

Stop checking out the trixie trollups at school. If I catch you eyeing those girls again, I'll make you cancel your tuition and get a job at Wendy's. You know I will!


Sam said...

That was hilarious, Harry. God I hope the day never comes when I become the old guy waxing pedantic at the front of the class--I've got to get out of here.

And long live the Screaming Trees and Soundgarden. Damn those were great albums.

It's the dawn of a scary new era when someone says, "Nirvana? Aren't they that band that sounds sorta like Puddle of Mudd?"

Harry Tournemille said...

Thanks Sam. Ugh to Puddle of Mudd. I mean, is that some sort of poetic license with the extra "d" in mudd? Pathetic.

Off to poke around your blog now.

Kent said...

You could always invite them over to play with your Wii.

Katie said...

From one old codger to another, welcome back to another year amongst the young'ns. There are fewer and fewer of us on campus who remember Alice in Chains in their prime. I fully expect to hear No Excuses on Rock 101 one day soon.

Harry Tournemille said...

Thanks Katie. Yeah, the music gap is one of the more notable indications of age. It sort of crept up on me. And now I find myself reaching back in time for good music, not this vacant drivel on the radio today.

Kefa said...

Ah Harry, you're such a funny guy.
You're reaching back for 'good music'... if I were to re-enter college I'd be reaching back to the 60's for good ol' protest and mind-expanding music.
Guess my plaid fortrell bell bottoms wouldn't be good, hey...