Goals for Summer 2017

Intros are stupid. Lets get down to business:

1) Get a quality tan.

Yes, I know. I said this before. But this time I’m serious. Remember that time I got a sunburn in the middle of the winter thanks to the light from my bedroom window? Well I’m already starting to use that to my advantage. Plus I’ve been vacuuming the pool on a near daily basis, and I’ll be visiting the beach next weekend. So mark my words: by the end of this summer, people are going to be mistaking me for a giant leather glove. I guarantee it.

2) Finish writing that book

I’m not going to tell you what it’s about until I finish it, but rest assured, it’s the Next Great American Novel. Or more accurately, it’s the Next Great YA Trilogy. 

I know what you’re thinking: do we really need another YA trilogy?

The answer is yes. We need exactly one more.

3) Confront my inner demons

This is a hard one, but a must. 

4) Watch all the TV shows and movies

There are so many good shows out there that I need to catch up on. Orange is the New Black, Veep, Game of Thrones, Curb your Enthusiasm, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Mr. Robot, Doctor Who. And then there’s upcoming movies like Dunkirk, Spiderman: Homecoming, and uh, that’s kind of it. I’m excited for Stephen King’s It, but that won’t be until September.

I don’t know if anyone’s gone out and said this definitively, but yeah: television is better than movies. A TV is like a novel and movies are short stories. And sure, short stories are cool and everything, but War and Peace would not have been the classic it is today if it were written at forty pages. This is airtight logic I’m using here, so don’t bother questioning it.

Image result for view from drop of doom great adventure

5) Go to some sort of amusement park

Did I ever tell you about my field trip in senior year of high school? The one where a hundred students in my class went to Six Flags in New Jersey, and they closed the place at eight o’clock so that it was only us and a couple other schools in the park?

Well it was awesome. We went on every single roller coaster in the park, and the lines ranged from short to nonexistent. There wasn’t even a line for Kingda Ka, and there’s always a line for Kingda Ka. The best was going on El Toro not once, not twice, not three times, not four times, not five times, but six times in a row, because there was nobody else in line. 

I understand that unless I have enough money to close out the whole park, the lines are never going to be this short again. I’m going to actually have to wait, like some sort of peasant. But you know what? I’m okay with that. I just to want to go on another ride that’s high enough for me to see the curve of the earth.

6) Read more often

Not gonna lie, I have not been reading as much as I should’ve lately. I blame TV and movies, for being more immersive while also requiring less imagination. No wonder people are reading less. Look what books have to compete with! (Don’t click on that.)

7) Be better with money

I have a tendency to waste money on food, and while yes, I do need food to live, there are a lot of more cost-efficient ways for me to go about this. Like I could get into the habit of cooking at home, or I could start mooching off my parents more. Whichever’s easier.

I also waste money on non-food items, like that $99 premium option for WordPress that has yet to pay off. Or those walkie talkies that I haven’t even used. (“Just use your phone!”) So I’ll try my best to stick to a budget.

8) Continue resisting the urge to shoplift every time I’m stuck in a long line.

The other day I was at a store called Leslie’s Pool Supplies, buying a pair of goggles. There was only one cashier in the store, and after ten minutes of waiting, the line had barely moved an inch. I look at the exit and see there’s no anti-theft scanners by the exit, and I think to myself: I could totally get away with stealing these goggles. After all, I don’t see any cameras, and none of the other employees are paying attention. Plus it’s just a pair of goggles, costs $8.99. It’s a victimless crime!

But I did not shoplift that day. Because as I recall, one of the ten commandments states the following:

THALL SHALL NOT STEAL GOGGLES FROM LESLIE’S POOL SUPPLIES

I’m paraphrasing of course, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it said. I’m almost positive, in fact, that those were the exact words.

I’ve had this urge before, but I never followed through, and I hope to continue not-following through for the rest of my days. Unless I decide to become a gritty antihero. In that case I’ll be stealing all the goggles I can get my hands on. 

9) Get beta readers

By the end of the summer, at least, I should be getting some of these. I was hoping to have a finished book to send to people last year, but I’ll settle for this August. Hopefully late July.

Let’s just say, I’m a little nervous. I’ve had people critique my work before, but only short stories or individual chapters. I’ve never had a whole book — especially one as important to me as this one — be critiqued before, and I am concerned. I’ll do it, sure, but it’s going to be a very stressful process.

10) Have at least one of my preferred political candidates win an election

Excuse me if I sound bitter, but every single election I’ve paid attention to thus far has gone in the exact opposite direction I’d hoped. In 2008 I wanted McCain to win. In 2012 I wanted Romney to win. I actually started paying attention to politics around 2015 and in 2016 I rooted for Bernie. He lost. Then for Hillary, who lost.

I’ve since been paying attention to the smaller, special elections going on, like the one in Montana, where the Republican candidate assaulted a reporter the day before. I thought, “the guy committed a violent crime, on tape. Surely that’s a deal-breaker for most voters.”

But Montana has a tradition of early voting, so a good portion of the population voted before that whole shebang took place. As for the rest of them? Well, partisanship is strong. And body-slamming is pretty cool. I mean, look at this shit:

 wrestling aamir khan dangal body slam mahavir singh phogat GIF

(no but seriously, that whole thing was very depressing.)

Today, there’s a special election going on in Georgia, between Jon Ossoff (D) and Karen Handel (R). By the time this is published, the results may be available, but as of now I’m still waiting for results, and I’m really hoping Ossoff wins. Mainly because 1. the attack ads against him have been all kinds of messed up, 2. the democrats could really use a win right now, 3. I like his policies, and 4. I’m not a fan of Karen’s.

I know this race doesn’t affect me directly, and there’s nothing I can do to change the results, but I’m including it as one of my goals anyway because it feels important. Plus, I needed to finish this list with something, and this was the only thing my brain could think up. Go Ossoff!

______________

So what are your goals for this summer? Or are you a normal person who doesn’t have goals for arbitrary periods of time? Either way, feel free to comment below. 

A Day in the Life of a College Freshman

Yeah, so I’ve done a few posts like this in the past, one in my junior year of high school and one in my senior, and I got to say, I think this is the most interesting one I’ve done yet. Mainly because it has foreshadowing in it, and also some seemingly unrelated events that come together in the end. Plus something happens to me that feels like it was taken straight out an episode of Seinfeld, so I hope you all enjoy.

(I also just want to clarify that a couple parts of this post (you’ll know it when you see it) are not things that happen to me regularly. So keep that in mind.)

7:30 AM 

I can’t keep hitting the snooze button these days because it annoys my roommate, so I get out of bed and make my way to the bathroom. I watch my step, just in case my alcoholic suitemate vomited on the floor again. He did not, which is a good omen. (“Today will be a good day!”)

7:45 AM

After brushing my teeth and taking a shower and getting dressed, I make the fifteen minute walk to my first class of the day. I would eat breakfast first, but the dining halls don’t open until eight o’clock, which is the same time my class starts. This seems like a rather large flaw in the dining hall system, but there’s not much I can do. Luckily my mom sent me a care package recently that included snack sized bags of trail mix, so I ate that on the way.

7:55 AM

I notice that my phone is only at around fifty percent battery, which is weird, because I could’ve sworn I’d left it plugged in at night. It’s still enough to get me through the most of the day, though, so I don’t think much of it.

8:00-9:30 AM

Differential Calculus. It’s a tough class, but someone’s gotta do it. It’s taught by a TA, who is always nervous, which is uncalled for because he’s teaching a subject that no one cares about. I try my best not to fall asleep.

9:40 AM

Sociology discussion class. I have to give a presentation today about the evolving workforce into today’s society, or something like that. (I kinda winged it.) The presentation was based around three questions that were supposed to be discussed amongst the class. But because it’s a Friday morning and no one actually seems to read the required text, not much discussion is had. That is, until the final one.

The final question I asked was “Is it okay for a company to breach a customer’s privacy, even if doing so will benefit both parties?” It was referencing the Amazon Echo, a device that may or may not be listening in on your conversations in order to sell you stuff. (It totally is.)

What followed was a surprisingly heated discussion between two/three guys who were complete pro privacy, against one girl who was like, “it’s not a big deal, guys. Relax.” I was mostly on the girl’s side until she started talking about how companies can’t invade your privacy unless you agree to the terms of service, because come on. Nobody reads the terms of service. Nobody. Anyone who claims to is a backstabbing liar.

10:40 AM 

I finally get to eat a proper breakfast. Pancakes, and scrambled eggs, and bacon! Nothing quite like bacon to put you in a good mood. Now, my next class is at 2:20, so I have two choices:

  1. I could go back to my dorm and get some sleep.
  2. I could go to the library and attempt to get shit done.

I choose #2, which would usually be the smart choice, the one my parents would approve of. But in this case it ends up screwing me over in a way that will be revealed soon.

1:30 PM 

I get some homework done, but it’s a Friday and the week’s almost over, so I’m not in much of a rush. I watch YouTube videos in the library, then I head back to the dining hall for some lunch. Now, here’s when something weird happens.

As I’m waiting in line for food, one of the cafeteria workers need to walk past me, and so I back up to get out of the way. In doing so, I accidentally step on the foot of the girl right behind me. “Sorry,” I say to her, and usually that would be the end of it.

But after I apologize and turn back around, I find myself wondering if I said “sorry” too quietly. The place is very crowded after all, and loud too, and I may have come off as more of a jerk than I actually am. After a minute or so, I turn back around, hoping that this is all in my head and that the girl behind me has already forgotten about it.

Yeah, no.

Instead she’s giving me the death stare, with her arms crossed, her nostrils flaring. To borrow a photo from one of my other posts, she looks like this:

I have no idea what to do. In the end I just turn back around, feeling her eyes on the back of my neck. I figure it’s too late to fix anything and the damage has already been done, so I get my food and get out of there fast.

2:20 PM

Chemistry. Generally speaking, this is not a fun class either, but I am sitting next to this girl from my high school, (let’s call her Jess) who’s a lot of fun to hang out with. She asks if I want to go to a frat party with her friends tonight, and I one-up her by asking is she wants to bring her friends to pre-game at my suite before going to said frat party. She says yes.

An explanation:

Pregaming is when you drink alcohol before attending an event or social function, so you’re already loosened up before you get there, and you don’t have to spend too much money on drinks. I’m not sure if this is specifically an American thing, but I feel like we’d be the only country where the teens are stupid to do this.

Two of my suitemates usually set up a game of beer pong around 8:30 on weekends, and I’m free to invite anyone I want to them. The more, the better.

Therefore, in this scenario: beer pong = pregame.

3:30 PM:

Classes are done for the day, and I head over to the marketplace for what is basically a second lunch. (Don’t judge me.) I make extra sure not to step on anyone’s foot this time.

4:00 – 7:30 PM

I’m back in the library, working on my novel. Will it ever get finished? The world could only hope. I do get a lot done today though, so that’s nice.

I also watch an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I’ve only watched four episodes so far and I must say, I really identify with this Larry David guy. It’s like we’re the same person.

8:40 PM

I get back to my suite, and sure enough, the pregame is on tonight. I text Jess to make sure she knows which dorm I’m in, and in fifteen minutes I go downstairs to let her and her friends inside. Once they’re inside I quickly drop into my room to plug in my phone, which is now at only 10% battery.

Now kids, the problem with beer pong is that if you’re playing it by the rules and are actually drinking the alcohol, it’s very hard to keep track of how much you’ve had. And then if you pour hard liquor into the middle cup, as we did, you may find yourself getting drunk much faster than intended. So keep that in mind as you follow me along for the rest of the night.

11:15 PM

We end up going to the frat party, but first I go back into my room to pick up my phone, and what do you know? It hasn’t charged at all. In fact, it’s actually gone down to 8%.

Turns out, the extension cord I plugged my phone into was no longer connected to outlet in my wall, which explains why my phone wasn’t at 100% this morning and why it hasn’t charged at all today.

This is unfortunate, but I’m not going to let it ruin my night, so I put the phone on power saving mode and go out anyway, figuring “hey, I’m with my friends, nothing bad could happen to me.”

11:45 PM

I’m at the party, where I manage to bump into seemingly every single person I’ve ever talked to at the university. I’m bumping into people I haven’t seen in months, people I pass by in the halls, people I only met during orientation. It’s like my life in college is a TV show and tonight’s the finale, so all the minor characters are popping up for their last hurrah.

I took exactly three shots over the next hour or so, and I did the math in my head:

3 shots + ? = ??? drinks in one night.

1:00 AM (ish)

Jess and her friends ask if I want to leave and go to a bar. I let her know I don’t have a fake ID. She says it’s cool, because she knows one that doesn’t check them.

We go to bar #1, which as it turns out, actually does check IDs, so we are not allowed in. So we walk to another one, and wait in a long line. For this bar, I only have to give the bouncer five bucks to get inside. I reach into my pocket, then check my other one, and oh shit I lost my wallet.

Yep, it’s gone. Where did it go? Well it somehow ended up on the floor at the frat house, getting stepped on repeatedly, long into the night. It was returned to me the next day with everything still in it, but as far as I know, it’s gone forever.

But no worries, Jess agree to lend me five bucks, and we’re allowed in.

1:20 AM

Gotta say, bars suck. I thought the frat party was loud and crowded, but in this bar you literally can’t move an inch without bumping into someone. People buy fake IDs and risk getting arrested for this? Makes zero sense. I get separated from the group, and after getting suffocated for at least fifteen minutes, I decide I’ve had enough and I make my way outside.

The journey back outside is a long and arduous one. I don’t know what “arduous” means but it sounds like an appropriate word in this context. I’m moving about five feet per minute because there are just so many people in the way. When I get out I take a deep breath of the cool, crisp air. Thank God I’m out of there.

I take out my phone to text Jess and let her know where I went, only to find out that that eight percent battery has gone down much faster than expected.

So now I have a dead phone, and no wallet, and I’m drunker than the average man. I’m also in the middle of a city I don’t really know, and it’s the middle of the night. Most of the people walking past me are college kids travelling in packs, but I see one girl by herself and I ask her if I could use her phone. I’m quickly explaining my situation to her, but I stop in my tracks once I get a closer look.

She recognizes me just as I recognize her. “Wait a minute,” she says. “Aren’t you the guy who stomped on my foot this morning?”

Gotta say, this is surprising. There’s at least thirteen thousand students at my school so I’d honestly never expected to see this girl again, and certainly not this soon. My gut reaction was to go on the defensive, which may not have the best decision. “Well I didn’t exactly stomp on it. It was an accident.”

Bruised Foot Girl, however, was not having any of this. “Do you have any idea how painful that was? I could barely walk afterwards!”

“Oh, come on.”

“Would you like to see the bruises?” She bends over, threatening to take off her shoe for me. “You basically squashed all the toes on my right foot.”

At this point, we’re both raising our voices at each other and making a scene; I’m getting all angry and flustered. “Look, I didn’t mean to, alright? I did apologize —”

“Oh yeah, thanks for saying sorry, it really helped with the healing.”

“Well what do you what me to do about it? It was a crowded room, you were standing right behind me—”

“Oh, so it was my fault?”

“What? No. It wasn’t—”

“I’m so sorry for standing in line behind you, sir. It won’t happen again.”

“Okay look,” I say, calming myself down. “I’m sorry I stepped on you, I felt bad about it and I didn’t know what to do at the time. I lost my wallet and my phone’s dead, so I could really use some help right now.”

Unfortunately, the girl is not in a charitable mood. As she storms away down the street she yells at me, “Maybe watch your step next time, asshole!”

1:45 AM

Yeah, so that happened. I end up asking someone else for their phone, and they’re a lot nicer about it.

After about ten minutes of sitting outside, Jess and friends get out of the bar, and we take a cab back to campus. I decide not to mention my run-in with the Bruised Foot Girl, because I’m not sure which of us was the jerk in that situation. (Was it me? I feel like it was me.)

2:05 AM

We’re dropped off near one of the dining halls, the one that’s open til 4 AM on the weekends. I don’t have my wallet, of course, so I just get a cup of water, chugging two cups in less than a minute. Turns out, I was a lot more dehydrated than I thought.

2:25 AM

I call it a night. I’ve already lost my wallet and gotten yelled at, and I feel like if I keep going, only worse things will happen.

2:35 AM

I am back in bed. It’s nice and cozy.


If there’s a lesson to this post, it’s that bars aren’t fun and people hold grudges. Also, if you plug your phone into an extension cord, make sure said extension cord is properly plugged into the wall, before you leave it unattended for over an hour.

It’s been a long weekend, guys. Thanks for reading.

Something that Happened Years Ago That I Need to Get Off My Chest

Okay, so this is something that I never really talk about, because no one ever believes me when I tell them. I’m starting to doubt if everything went down exactly as I remember it, but I know that something definitely happened and I can’t quite explain what it was. Even all these years later, I still think about it at night when I’m lying in bed. I keep trying to make sense of it all; to find a rational, scientific explanation for what happened to me, and every single time I fail.

I don’t remember how old I was when this happened. It could’ve been anywhere from five to eight. It’s strange how I remember that night so well but I can never quite place it within a specific year of my life. Memory is weird like that.

Up until I was twelve or so, my family didn’t have an upstairs bathroom. If I ever needed to go in the middle of the night, I’d have to walk downstairs, through the dark, empty kitchen and into the dark, empty living room. 

There was a glass door in the living room I’d always have to walk by, that lead out to the side of the house. Usually the curtains were covering it but sometimes they weren’t, and because I always turned the lights on with every room I walked into, I could never see if anyone was outside, peering in through the glass door. All I could see was the reflection.

Those walks to the bathroom in the middle of the night were some of the most nerve-wracking moments of my childhood. I rarely heard noises, but I always had this feeling that someone was downstairs with me, like someone would be hiding behind the couch in the living room, or someone would be waiting outside the bathroom door when I came out.

When I was finished I’d have to walk all the way back, turning the lights off behind me as I went. I’d try to keep calm but once I reached the staircase I’d always break into a sprint, and I wouldn’t feel safe again until I was back in my bedroom with the door closed shut.

The walk got easier during the Christmas season, because that was when the decorations were always up. We had a Christmas Tree covered in lights in the living room with stockings set up around the fireplace. We had this weird toy with a foot-tall plastic Santa Clause, whose head moved around when you pressed the button on his leg. I think he was supposed to talk, too, but he never did.

It was the night before Christmas Eve when I woke up again, needing to pee. I turned on the lights as I went downstairs and walked into the bathroom in the living room. The curtains to the side door were closed this time, so I didn’t have to worry about anyone looking in. 

The bathroom had a fan that turned on automatically with the lights, making it so it you couldn’t hear anything going on outside. That’s the only good explanation I can think of for why I didn’t notice any noise. If it wasn’t for the fan I probably would’ve locked myself in that bathroom for rest of the night.

Instead I walked out of it, as usual, and I immediately noticed a few things were off. It seemed colder than it had been just a minute ago, and the curtains to the side door were no longer drawn. They’d been shoved to the side, away from the handle, and in the reflection of the door I saw something moving around in the kitchen. I saw the light of the refrigerator turn on and heard the sound of glass clinking, and when I looked in closer I saw a man in a large red suit.

I thought I’d be excited to see something like this. I’d been one of those kids that loved the Christmas season and whole-heartedly believed in Santa, but seeing his back as he rummaged through the fridge sent nothing but doubts down my spine. I think it’s because, for all my willingness to believe in him and for all the arguments I’d gotten in with classmates over his existence, deep down I knew that Santa Clause wasn’t supposed to be real. At the very least, you weren’t supposed to see him. 

I watched as he took some orange juice out of the fridge and chugged it straight from the carton. He gasped for air when he was finished and wiped his mouth, and when he walked over to the trash to toss it out he glanced at the side door and stopped in his tracks, and I realized right there that he had seen me through the reflection. It was the longest moment of my life. He stared at me through the door and I stared at him. He lifted his finger to his mouth and smiled.

He continued searching through the fridge and eating our food. As I watched I realized he wasn’t as old as Santa Clause was supposed to be. From his face he seemed younger than my parents, now that I think of it, and his eyebrows didn’t match his beard or his hair.

After a couple minutes he walked into the hallway, out of view. I heard a door close, and footsteps going downstairs into the basement. 

I ran back to my room. I wanted to wake my parents and tell them what happened, but I didn’t know what I’d say. I didn’t think they’d believe me. And most of all, I didn’t know what to think of the man who’d just rummaged through our kitchen. I kept going back and forth from ‘he’s Santa, he’d never harm anyone,’ to ‘he’s an intruder dressed up as Santa and he’s going to rob us and kill us in our sleep.’

I don’t remember sleeping that night. I remember sitting up in my bed and listening to the noises from downstairs. Occasional bumps and mutters, the creak of the side door sliding open and closed, and at one point I heard the sound of slow, heavy footsteps making its way up the stairs to the upper floor. The steps grew closer and closer, until I saw the shadow of the man from the light under my door.

For a moment, I heard nothing but the man’s breathing. Then he started yanking the door handle. Violently, up and down. I kept expecting the door to swing open at any moment, but it never did. He just kept shaking the handle. I sat perfectly still, terrified to move or to make a sound, and it’s at this point that I should clarify that none of this happened, and I’m just messing with all of you. I know that if I were to come across this post, the first thing I’d do is scroll down to the last paragraph to make sure this wasn’t a joke story, so I’m just going to continue from here as if these last two sentences were never written: after who knows how long, the handle stopped shaking and the shadow disappeared, and I listened through bated breath as the footsteps shrunk in volume and the man descended down the stairs. I heard the side door open and close again, and the house was silent for the rest of the night.

Nothing was missing the next day. Even the orange juice carton was back in its place. The curtains were drawn again, and everything in the basement was exactly how it had been the day before. I told myself the whole thing was just a dream, because I didn’t know how else to deal with what I saw. The whole memory’s been tearing at me ever since, and I’m glad I have an outlet here for me to get this off my chest. If anyone has any similar experiences, or they can think of an explanation for what happened here that would put my mind at ease, please comment below.

No, Participation Trophies are Not Turning Kids into Entitled Wimps, so Shut Up About It

Image result for participation trophies
Okay then.

So as a side effect of the 2016 election, I’ve become increasingly involved in politics, and to keep my mind open, I’ve been trying to read from a varied number of sources. From liberal talk-shows, to conservative blogs, to moderate newspapers, to random angry YouTube comments. (Let’s not compare source validity, here.) And no matter what end of the political spectrum I’m reading, there always seem to be one issue that everyone seems to agree on: that participation trophies are the worst things ever.

Seriously, according to the internet, the worst things in the world are:

  1. Genocide
  2. Torture
  3. Participation Trophies
  4. Christmas Music
  5. Disease
  6. Discrimination
  7. Pop-up Ads
  8. Poverty
  9. Climate Change
  10. People Who are Bad at Parking.

In my humble opinion, number three is the one thing on this list that doesn’t quite belong.

“But Matt!” you say. “By giving all the kids trophies just for showing up, you’re teaching them that they don’t have to actually try in life. They’ll think life is just sunshine, roses and rainbows, and they won’t be prepared for the competitiveness of the real world.”

And I understand that reasoning. I believed it for the majority of my (not that long) life, mostly because that view had been drilled into me by so many adults, so many random people on the internet, so many teachers and relatives and fellow students. You know how many times I’ve been told that young people think they deserve to have everything handed to them? That this whole “Everyone gets a trophy” culture is turning kids into narcissistic, entitled wimps with unrealistic expectations and no real work ethic? Admittedly, not that often.

Still, it’s total bullshit. And it makes me wonder if the people arguing this have actually talked to children before, or remember what it’s like to be a kid. Because all the articles I’ve read on this issue seem to neglect one important factor: kids aren’t stupid.

Okay, kids can be pretty stupid sometimes. When I was five I believed that color didn’t exist until the 1950s, because everything filmed before then was in black and white.

But when it comes to certain things, like competition, they are not. You could tell a group of children that they’re all equal, that they’re all special snowflakes in their own way, but this isn’t a lesson that’s going to stick. Because they inherently know that it’s not true.

I got several participation trophies growing up. Quite a few of them, actually, not that it fooled anyone. I played baseball, soccer, and basketball up until I was around seven or eight. The coaches never really kept score, and there was no championship game or anything to see who the best team was.

But trust me, the kids knew. We knew which kid was always hitting those line drives and which kid couldn’t catch a fly ball if it landed in his glove. We knew which team was the the more obnoxious, douchier version of the Yankees and which team was the even sadder version of the Cubs.* And at the end of the season when we got a participation trophy, we didn’t think we were cool; we were thinking about how the obnoxious Yankee team got the real trophies, and how they were probably going out to get ice cream.

The last participation trophy I ever received was during my last year of Little League, and trust me, I was not proud of it. By that point, every kid my age knew exactly what that meant. My mom bragged about it to my brother as if it was an actual accomplishment, and the results were disastrous. My brother laughed at me the moment he found out, and then he told everyone else about it, who reacted the same way. Every day for weeks afterward, somebody from school would bring that trophy up, in that mocking tone that kids are so good at. “Hey Matt,” they’d say, “Congratulations on the participation trophy!” Then they’d laugh and high-five each other for the sick burn. It didn’t take long for me to get the ironic nickname of Athlete. As in, “Hey, Athlete. Heard you suck at baseball.”

In the end, I threw the trophy in the trash. I quit baseball after that, by the way, and I entered middle school with a very dark, cynical view towards life.

My point is that participation trophies aren’t the phony beacons of false hope we’re giving to children to set them up for future failure. Instead, whether intentionally or not, they’ve become our way of politely telling kids how terrible they are. And they know it.

___________

Edit: I know I’m in the minority on this opinion, so if anyone would like to go into a hardcore debate over this (or even just a softcore debate), feel free to do so in the comments below. It’s more than possible, after all, that my experience with participation trophies is not representative of most people’s experience.

*I wrote this post months before the Cubs won the world series. Don’t judge me.

Seven Summer Lessons I’ve Learned So Far

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. In my defense, when people told me that the summer before college would be nothing but sex and drugs and rock and roll, I assumed they were exaggerating. (First lesson of summer 2016: don’t assume anything.)

Okay, so maybe I myself was exaggerating a bit there, but I have indeed been busy lately. Once school ended I had to attend a string of graduation parties, ceremonies and what-have-yous. Plus now that I’m eighteen and school’s out I’ve been working very long hours. I also started volunteering at a hospital nearby, so that’s cool.

(Lesson #2: Don’t expect much from volunteering at a hospital, at least if you’re still a high school student. My first day they had me cleaning the railings in the hallway and I was told, “feel free to take as long as you want with this, because we have nothing else for you to do.” I still had six hours left on my shift.)

(That being said, I don’t regret volunteering there. The conversations you can listen in on are a writer’s goldmine.)

I also made the mistake of buying Grand Theft Auto V, which is stealing all my time. I know, I know. I should take responsibility instead blaming my problems on a game, but in my defense that game is like heroin. Offensive, lazily misogynist heroin. 

(I am ashamed.)

Then the other day I went to my college orientation, and I’ve been on edge ever since. Part of me can’t wait to pack my bags and start this new experience, and the other part of me is constantly whispering nerve-wracking thoughts into my brain. “What if you flunk out?” “What if you have no friends and everyone hates you?” “What if your roommate is the next Ted Cruz?”, and my only coping mechanism thus far has been to browse through the millions of advice articles for incoming freshman out there. They all say pretty much the same things. Does that stop me from reading them? Nah.

(Lesson #3: The food in my college is really good. Either that, or they keep the quality up during orientation and let it slide during the actual school-year.)

(Lesson #4: Don’t get the pancakes during breakfast at college, because you will be unable to find butter or syrup and will have to eat it plain. I ate a naked pancake, guys. It was awful.)

How else have I been spending this summer? I watched Finding Dory and binge-watched Orange is the New Black, and currently have zero regrets regarding either decision.

(Lesson #5: Just keep swimming.)

Now, you may be wondering just what it was exactly that snapped me out of my laziness enough for me to write this post. Mainly it was an incident with a customer at my job that pissed me off. I was no longer angry about it by the time I got home, but it made me think about all the other stuff I want to blog about. Like my aunt’s crazy, incoherent rants about Obama, or the fact that it’s no longer considered okay to drink out of a hose. Oh, and Matt Walsh. Fuck that guy.

At the end of this long thought process I realized that I’ve neglected my blog for too long, and made a mental note to jump back into things. Y’know, just after I run over some hookers with a stolen police car on GTA V.

(Lesson #6: there’s nothing like a little righteous anger to get you motivated.)

(Lesson #7: playing Grand Theft Auto turns you into a terrible person.)

In Which I Am a Giant, Thundering Ball of Happiness

Okay, so you know how I said I was accepted into the spring semester at Binghamton? And how they almost definitely weren’t going to take me for the fall semester?

(I think you know where this is going.)

Well I just received a phone call from the admissions adviser and you guys won’t believe who’s going to Binghamton this August.

(Me. It’s me.)

I’ve decided to use a bunch of gifs to describe my feelings right now:

cheer hooray happy excited celebration
Source: http://gemini-dragon-gifs.tumblr.com
excited seinfeld happy dance exciting celebrate
Source: Mostlyinnocent.tumblr.com
FOX International Channels reaction dancing happy simpsons
Source: Fox?
celebration will ferrell paul rudd steve carell anchorman
Do I really need to include a source for this?

So, yeah. They took me in for the fall semester, for some strange reason. I mean, did they not see my GPA? I am a good fifteen points below the usual range for admitted students. 

But I ain’t one to argue with a good thing, so I’ll just enjoy this feeling, and hope that they didn’t just confuse me for another Matthew Black, one with better grades and more extra-curricular activities. But as of right now, it all seems legitimate, so let this be a lesson to all the younger and more impressionable students reading this right now: don’t bother trying.

Judging from my experience, all you have to do is put the bare minimum amount of effort into your schoolwork, don’t even bother with any extra-curricular activities, and people will just hand you things on a silver platter. Turns out, life really is all sunshine and lollipops after all.

Okay, so maybe this isn’t true, because my laziness over the past two years have really screwed me over when it comes to scholarships, and while the cost of a SUNY school isn’t nearly as high as most colleges, it’s still pretty high, and it’s gonna be rough having to pay that off.

Also, I can’t imagine that my college courses are gonna be as easy for me to slack off in as my high school classes, but then again, I don’t plan on slacking off this fall. (Because college costs tens of thousands of dollars whereas public high school costs basically nothing.) Then again, I’m afraid I may have lost the studying habits I used to have in eighth grade, back when I thought that dipping below a 90 average would destroy my life. Hopefully I’ll go back to that level, because the fear of flunking out should be enough to motive me for at least a semester or two.

*shrugs*

Oh well, I’m very excited right now, for reasons I will list in bullet form:

  • I’ll be able to quit McDonald’s in August instead of next January! Which is good because I don’t think I could handle an extra five months there. I do plan to work again just for winter vacation, as a lot of employees have done, but hey, absence makes the heart grow fonder, so I should actually enjoy being back at the store for a couple weeks again.
  • I will no longer be the one child left in the house this fall, meaning that I will not be called upon every single time the lawn needs mowing, or the dishes need to be cleaned.
  • Mostly though, I just did not expect this to happen, because when I went on tour the admissions counselor told me that it was very, very unlikely that they’d be taking anyone off the waiting list at all, and I had accepted the fact that I’d have to wait till late January to start off on my own. 

I suppose I should mention, though, that my original plan to go on an official hiatus when I started college in August will be happening after all, which means that I only have three months and twenty-ish days left before I say good-bye to this blog forever.

(Okay, not forever, but for at least a couple weeks.)

So I will do my very best to make that time count, hopefully ending these past three years of blogging on a high note. This may be tough, because with graduation parties, a weirdly high amount of birthdays coming up, and the end of high school coming soon, I’m going to be pretty busy.

Knowing my past history, it doesn’t seem likely that I can succeed in posting as consistently as I did in my glory days, but I’m currently in an optimistic mood (mostly ’cause of the whole college thing) so I think that maybe, just maybe, I might be able to pull this off.

Until next time,

Matthew Palonius Black.

(Yes, my middle name is Palonius. Don’t question me on this.

In Which I Make My Official Decision Re: Colleges

So as some of you may know, I am currently a high school senior who applied to several colleges last fall. And while it did take quite a while to get back from all of them, by the very, very end of March I finally got the letters back. I applied to SUNY Plattsburgh, Oswego, Stony Brook, and Binghamton, all of whom got back to me with varying responses.

Oswego accepted me within a couple weeks of applying, which was awfully nice of them because it took a whole load of stress off my mind. “No matter what the other colleges say,” I figured, “At least I am going to one.”

As for Plattsburgh, well … You know how I said I got a really bad grade in Calculus a few months ago? As it turns out, that was the deciding factor for them, because literally the day after they received my mid-year grades I got a letter wait-listing me. The kicker was that as part of the wait-list, I wouldn’t get a confirmation until up to May 15th, which was after I’d have to make my official decision.

And then there was Stony Brook, that college in Long Island where nobody’s taught how to parallel park. I got an email in January from the school saying that my application was complete, and all they’d need now was my mid-year transcript from my senior year. So once the semester was over I went to my guidance counselor and asked her to send it to Stony Brook. She told me she’d already sent the grades to all my colleges, so there was no need to worry.

“Oh okay,” I said, thanking her for being all proactive and whatnot. “Man, what a great Guidance Counselor I have.” And then I happily spent the seven weeks doing whatever it is I do usually, not even bothering to check the application status to make sure that the mid-year grades were actually sent. And then I got an email from Stony Brook saying that they never actually received them after all, and then I punched a door.

It was a bad idea, punching a door, because I got a splinter in my hand and holy shit guys, splinters hurt.

Anywho, turns out there was a mistake with the electronic transfer, so the guidance counselor ended up sending the grades via real mail, which would take at least a week. I’m not sure if they made it to the college in time for the decision process, just that I got a rejection email from them on March 31st.

All hope seemed lost.

(not really)

But just as I was about to punch a second door with my splintered-covered fist, the great University of Binghamton got back to me, saying they had accepted me, but only for the spring semester. Now I know what you’re thinking: “BLUGHSMEAGLESHMOOSHLETOP!”

Okay so maybe you weren’t thinking that, and instead you were thinking something along the lines of, “Hmm, how does that work?”

Well as it turns out, this is a very common thing that Binghamton does. I’d be put on the wait-list for the fall semester, and if I don’t get accepted for said fall semester, I could instead go to another college for that time, and all my course credits would simply slide into Binghamton as if I’d taken it there.

So basically my choices were: I could go to Oswego for the full four years, or I could go to community college for one semester and then spend the rest of college at Binghamton.

I was stuck, because I did love Oswego, but Binghamton is definitely better for me academically. But I didn’t want to stay at home for another five months, either, because both my siblings would be out of the house as well for that time, so all the attention would be turned on me, and I’m not a fan of that. Imagine all the lawn I’d have to mow and all the dishes I’d have to do now that I’m the only one around to do them.

But in the end I decided to go with . . . (prepare yourself for some subtle suspense)

. . . it starts with a letter . . .

. . . and it has more than one syllable . . .

. . . and it is a college of sorts . . .

. . . and Flo from Progressive is an alumni there . . .

That’s right, I picked Binghamton! I went on a tour a few days ago and talked to one of the counselors and the school won me over, because I love everything about it. Plus, there’s a restaurant called Tully’s nearby, which boasted the best chicken on earth, and having tried them I can testify that they are definitely in the top five.

And this is a good thing for this blog, because my plan was to go on an official hiatus once I went off to college. Now I know this wouldn’t be too big of change, considering all the hiatuses I’ve gone on in the past year or so, but with an official hiatus, I would be removing myself from the guilt I’d usually go through when I don’t blog for a while. My plan would be to go a month without blogging, see how that works out, and if I feel like I can handle blogging again with my presumably busy schedule, then I will go ahead and do just that.

But since I’m staying home for the fall, I think I’ll keep doing this until January, so you don’t have to worry about any official hiatuses any time soon. Just, y’know, the unofficial ones. 

(Sorry ’bout that.)

____

Also, one of my blogger pals, Susannah Ailene Martin, has published a short story (“The Lifeguard”) for just 99 cents. I was excited when I found out because she had asked me to read an earlier version of it a little while back. At first I was hesitant, because what if I didn’t like it and I had to break the news? But thankfully it wasn’t terrible (twas quite good actually), and I can only assume it’s gotten better since then.

The story costs less than a dollar sweet tea at McDonalds, which is a good deal considering that when you buy the short story, you don’t have to worry about it eighty percent filled with ice. So go ahead and check it out at this blog. 

Yes, this is an Award Post. Deal with it.

So, shortly after I complained about not being nominated for any award, Evi at Adventuring Through Pages was kind enough to tag me in her own award post, the “Who Am I?” tag.

Thanks, Evi! I’m so flattered that I might not even kill off your character in that ice cream truck killer story I’m writing. (The plot has thickened to ridiculous lengths, so it’s taking a while.) I think I’ll just maim you a bit.

Anywho, onto the tag, which involves questions that are sorta inspired, but not nearly as inspired as the ones I’m going to be coming up with soon. That’s right guys, I’m making my own blog tag thingy, and it’s gonna catch on like wildfire.

Except hopefully it won’t be quite as deadly. (*fingers crossed*) Moving on:

What is the meaning of your name?

Here’s the definition of the name Matt, according to the top result on Urban Dictionary:

Ancient Greek translation for “eternal sex-god”. It is believed that anyone that holds this name has a great level of skill and ability to perform sexual acts for long periods of time. Men possessing this name are also well endowed.
Girl 1: I wish my boyfriend was a matt.
Girl 2: Oh you poor thing.
Apparently there’s an ancient hebrew meaning as well, but no one really cares about that.
 

What is your Myers Briggs personality type?

According 16personalities.com, I am a mediator, which apparently means that:

INFP personalities are true idealists, always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of people and events, searching for ways to make things better. While they may be perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy, INFPs have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine. Comprising just 4% of the population, the risk of feeling misunderstood is unfortunately high for the INFP personality type – but when they find like-minded people to spend their time with, the harmony they feel will be a fountain of joy and inspiration.

That sounds about right. #innerflame

What is your zodiac sign?

Obviously I am a Taurus. This site has been nice enough to list all my strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths: Reliable, patient, practical, devoted, responsible, stable

Weaknesses: Stubborn, possessive, uncompromising

Taurus likes: Gardening, cooking, music, romance, high quality clothes, working with hands

Taurus dislikes: Sudden changes, complications, insecurity of any kind, synthetic fabrics

You know, I can’t help but feel like the majority of this stuff can apply to just about everyone. Most people like to think of themselves as patient and stable and all that jazz. And who doesn’t dislike complications and insecurity?

The synthetic fabrics part was weirdly specific though, I’ll give it that.

What Hogwarts house would you be in?

test here!

I got slytherin, but barely, with the results being:

Slytherin — 12
Hufflepuff — 11
Ravenclaw — 10
Gryffindor — 10

I suppose this makes sense, seeing as I am occasionally brave, occasionally wise, occasionally kind, and I have a tendency to hiss at people I don’t like. I deem this test: Highly Accurate.

What are your learning styles?

test here!

I’m visual, which means with these new glasses I’ve gotten, I should be extra smart!

Are you more of a left-brain or a right brain kind of person?

test here!

According to the test, I am 66% right-brained, and I’m not sure if I should be happy about that or not. This apparently makes me creative and intuitive, but it also means I’m less rational and strategic.

On the bright side, I’m also too cool to follow the rules.

What is your blood type?

Based on my parents, I’m either an A+ or an O, which reminds me of something that’s been bugging me for a long time:

Why the hell don’t doctors write down your blood type from the moment you’re born? This seems like a pretty important bit of information that every individual should know, and yet apparently it’s okay for me to go my whole life so far without finding out?

Excuse me while I angrily howl at the moon.

What career are you meant to be in?

I refuse to let an online test decide this for me. “Begone!” I say to the online test. “You are most likely a sham!”

Which divergent faction do you belong in?

As someone who stopped reading Divergent after the first few chapters, I also refuse to take the test for this question. I know, I know, I’m such a wet blanket. Was there a Wet Blanket faction in those books? Because I suppose I’d belong to that one if there was.

What is your birth order?

I’m the middle child, which means I’m a social butterfly, peacekeeper and am fairness obsessed. Which, uh, I guess could be true, depending on my mood. 

Aaaaaaand that’s all the questions there were. I’m not going to tag anyone, because I plan on tagging people for another blog award and don’t want to overdo it. Thanks again to Evi, and I’d also like to thank the Greek God Prometheus, for giving mankind the gift of fire. Seriously dude, you have no idea how much that helped.

In Which I Sorta Kinda Need Glasses?

Are glasses really this effective?

Fun fact: I found out my grade for AP Calculus today and well, uh, it’s not that great. Pretty terrible actually. In fact I think it’s the worst grade I’ve ever gotten in anything in my life, which is saying something since in seventh grade, I accidentally skipped a bubble on a multiple choice test, and every single answer after that question came out wrong as a result.

I can only imagine how the conversation’s gonna go when my parents find out about it. Based on past occurrences, it should start off with shock and anger on their part.

“A [grade removed]?! How the hell did you get a [grade removed]!” they ask. I’ll probably respond with a shrug, which gives off the impression that I don’t care about my grades, which isn’t the best impression to give off in such a situation. 

Then after a little bit they’ll just be concerned, and they’ll likely go ahead and assume that something is horribly wrong.

“Is everything okay?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you doing drugs?”

“Yeah, but that’s not really the main issue right now.”

“Then what is the problem?”

I pause for dramatic effect. Max Richter’s Afterimage 1 plays in the background. The camera zooms in on my face as I burst into tears. “I need glasses!”

Everyone gasps. My mother collapses from the shock and my father’s face grows red with anger. The pet dog quietly leaves the scene. “Don’t you know?” my father says, “That the Black family has prided itself, for countless generations, on our perfect vision?”

“But dad—“

“You are no son of mine. Get out of my house, you freak.”

Perhaps getting bit by a radioactive spider will solve this problem.

Okay, so I don’t think the conversation will actually go like this, but it is true that I really do need to see an eye doctor or something. For the most part, I could see fine, but it’s starting to become a handicap in the classroom. This became an undeniable fact just a few days ago, when I tried and failed to take notes in class.

I was near the back of the classroom, squinting at the board, trying to decode the small, horrific handwriting of my Calculus teacher. Is she writing in hieroglyphics? I found myself wondering. I could’ve sworn I saw the illuminati symbol in there, and that troubles me.

Eventually I threw my hands up in the air and said, “Fine. I’ll switch seats.”

So I moved to the only other seat available, only one row in front of me. This did not help much. And all the time I could’ve spent listening to what the teacher was saying, I instead spent trying to figure what the hell she’d written down. 

I asked around if anyone else had the same problem, but nope, everyone else can read her handwriting just fine. 

And while my family doesn’t actually have perfect vision (I think everyone over thirty has glasses) I myself have always been proud of my eyesight. I used to pass those doctor eye tests with ease. “Good job, Matt,” the Doctor used to say. The subtext being, “because you have superior eyesight, that means you are also a superior person.”

(I think I may have been the only one who picked up on that subtext.)

Oh well. I guess it’s all downhill after this. I know that as you get older, your senses slowly start to go, but I was hoping I’d first lose one of the lamer senses, like the ability to feel pain. That would actually be pretty cool. I would never lose a single game of bloody knuckles.

Is there a point to this post, you ask?

Yes. The point is that no one in the history of the universe has ever felt the pain I’m feeling right now, and you should all send me pity flowers in the mail. Also, if you happen to own the world’s smallest violin, now would be a good time to whip it out and start playing.

___

So for those of you who currently own a pair of glasses, what’s it like? How helpful are they? If I got contacts, what’s the likelihood of me accidentally stabbing myself in the eye? (I have no idea how contacts work.) 

In Which I Complain About Literally Everything

This picture makes me green with envy

I hate the fact that, according to the new Oxford dictionary, the title above makes grammatical sense. Just because a bunch of idiots misused the word literally, doesn’t mean you have to change the definition of the word just to suit them. That’s like legalizing methamphetamine just because some people really, really like the drug. It simply ain’t right.

(And yes, using the word literally to describe something figurative is just as bad as doing meth. You all need help.)

Why do spiders build webs in places where they are bound to come into contact with humans? My family and I went away for a two days last summer and when we came back, there was a giant web right on the staircase of my front porch, with a big ol’ scary spider just chilling right on it. And I’m like, come on, Mr. Spider. Why would you pick this place to build your home when you know we’ll have to cross through it multiple times on a daily basis? You didn’t actually think this would work out well for you, did you?

I hate when I see a Top Ten List of something, and then I click on it to find just a list of those things with no explanation. For example, there’ll be a post like “My Top Ten Favorite Books,” and they’ll just be a list of titles that mean nothing to me. “Really?” I find myself thinking to the author of said post. “You’re not going to add at least a sentence or two to let us know why you liked this book so much?”

In other news, these colleges really need to hurry up. I’ve heard back from one of them already, (thanks, Oswego!) but all the other ones are taking their sweet ass time getting back, and the stress is literally killing me.

(God I hate myself.)

I hate how the biggest winter storm in years took place last Saturday, and it completely missed my house, probably just to spite me. I live about an hour’s drive from New York City, and New York City got record amounts of snow. So much snow, in fact, that this happened:

How much snow did I get? Less than an inch. And you can’t snowboard on a street with less than an inch of snow. You can’t even have a snowball fight without mixing some rocks into it. This leads me to wonder: did I piss off the Snow Gods or something? I’d love to know what I’ve done wrong to deserve this. 

Speaking of snow . . .

Whenever I go to the dentist, I end up waiting in the lobby for over an hour, and the only thing on the TV is either Judge Judy or Dr. Phil, and I’ve come to the conclusion that they are the two most unlikable people on the face of the earth. They’ve done more to make me care about my dental hygiene than the actual process of getting a root canal itself. If I could go the rest of my life without ever having to watch their shows again, I would die a happy man.

I’m serious here. Just the very existence of both those people makes my blood boil. WHY DO THEY HAVE FANS? I’ll never know.

How come I don’t get nominated for blog awards anymore? I know I made it clear that I didn’t want to do them, but I didn’t actually think you people would listen. 

I hate that I have no one but myself to blame for that last complaint.

I hate touching cloth and furniture after cutting my nails. 

I’m still upset that the woolly mammoths have gone extinct, because how cool would it be to have them around today? Thanks a lot, cavemen. 

I hate ending a post on an abrupt note.

I kind of want to run George R. R. Martin over with my car.

So I don’t usually do the daily prompt, but yesterday’s prompt looked like a nice little goldmine of possible humor, so I decided to go ahead and do it anyway. The prompt is:

Kick It

What’s the 11th item on your bucket list?

 

Of course, in order for my eleventh item to gain any significance, I should probably tell you my first ten, which are the following:

1) To save someone’s life

2) To take someone’s life. (Preferably Jeb Bush, but I’ll settle for his loved ones.)

3) To get thrown in jail for a joke I made on the Internet. (#2 should get this done.)

4) To get a book published.

5) To somehow join the cast of Orange is New Black.

6) To work a night shift as a paramedic. (I have no idea why, but this really appeals to me.)

7) To become old and overweight enough so that I could get a job as Santa Clause at the mall.

8) To Kill a Mockingbird.

9) To become fluent in another language. (Could it be dothraki? I wanna learn dothraki.)

10) To sign up for sky-diving, only to back out at the last moment. 

And number eleven is . . .

. . .

. . .

To meet one of my favorite authors in real life. 

Ha! Didn’t see that coming, did ya? Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever met a famous author in real life. Well, maybe I did and I just didn’t recognize them at the time. I’m reasonably sure that both John Green and Stephen King were within thirty miles of my house at one point, because 1) Stephen King totally name-dropped my hometown in one of his short stories, and 2) A major plot point of John Green’s Paper Towns has to do with the sort-of town of Agloe, New York, which (fun fact!) is also sort of close to where I live.

Unfortunately, both of these stories were written before I became a fan of their work, so if I had bumped into them at one point while their doing research, I don’t think I would’ve known. 

That being said, if I had to pick the author I’d most want to meet, it would be either Maggie Stiefvater or George R. R. Martin. For completely different reasons.

I want to meet Maggie because there’s a whole bunch of questions I’m dying to ask her, mainly:

  1. “The check engine light in my car is back on, and I just got it back from the repair shop yesterday. What’s up with that?”
  2. “Also, my car makes squeaking sounds whenever it’s really cold out. Is that normal?” And:
  3. “How do you pronounce your last name?”
You can’t deny Martin’s sense of fashion.

If I ever met up with George R. R. Martin, I’m not sure what I’d say. I’d ask him about his books, although somehow I don’t think he’d want to talk about it, considering that rather unfortunate case of writer’s block he’s had on and off for the last, oh, fifteen years or so. (The poor guy.)

Instead I’d ask him, “Hey, would you mind if I ran you over with my car? Because Stephen King had a similar problem as you with his Dark Tower series. I don’t know what exactly was his issue with that story, but it was only until after he was hit by a car that he started to write them at a fast pace.”

He’d probably say no, or maybe he’s become so desperate at this point that he’d actually consider it. Either way, I’m running that fucker over. I’ll slam on my gas pedal so hard he won’t even see me coming. Hopefully I’ll get to meet Maggie before I meet him, so she could give me advice on how do this with the least likelihood of killing the guy. 

Please don’t judge me. I love Martin’s books. I’ll just do whatever it takes to get more of them. 

A Day in the Life of a Public High School Senior (don’t worry, this is interesting!)

Yes, I did write a post like this in the past before. This one, however, is way better. Why? Because it’s much more unique. (And it’s edgy!)

Note: the following takes place between 6:30 AM to 3:00 AM, from last Friday morning to very late Saturday night. It’s not the perfect example of my life, but it does provide a picture of it on Fridays, which is probably one of my more consistently busy days.)

6:30 AM: The alarm clock on my phone goes off. “Fuck off, phone,” I say, but the phone doesn’t listen. So I have to walk over to it (it’s on the other side of my room, for some reason), and turn it off. Then I go back to sleep. 

6:40 AM: My back-up alarm goes off, and I begrudgingly get up. It’s still dark outside, and that bugs me. I take a shower and get dressed and all that. No time for breakfast, so I eat my lunch on the way to school. 

7:05 AM: First period starts in twelve minutes, and I’m backed up in traffic. I realize that I am completely out of gas, because my brother apparently doesn’t like to buy gas for the car that he uses 80% of the time. I decide to take my chances and buy gas after school instead of getting it now.

 7:17 AM: First period starts, and yet I am still stuck in a very long line leading to my school. I listen to Elvis Durant and the Morning Show, and wonder just how the hell they’re all so happy in the morning. “Stop being happy,” I say to the radio. No one responds. 

7:25 AM: Students are only allowed to park in the very back of the parking lot, and they’re only allowed to enter the school from the front entrance, which means I have to go through a good five minute walk during wintertime in New York. I may sound very bitter right now, but that’s only because I am, in fact, very bitter about this particular situation.

7:30 AM: I make it to my Participation in Government class thirteen minutes late, and my teacher is 100% cool with it. Seriously, I have the chillest teacher ever. I’m rocking a 95 in that class even though I barely show up.

8:05 AM: A double period for Environmental Science, which is a pretty nice class, all things considered. We took notes for a period, and then we watched a documentary on coral reefs, which was quite possibly my favorite documentary ever, if only for the needlessly-intense background music and the creepiness and/or cuteness of all the organisms shown.

9:45 AM: Technically a study hall, but it’s really a lunch. I used to not be a fan of lunch in general, because I never really used to have anyone to sit with. And by that I mean, none of my good friends ever seemed to have lunch that period, and those that did seemed to be surrounded by people I didn’t know. Not this year, though. There are multiple groups of people in my lunch with whom I could sit with and not feel the least bit uncomfortable.

I try to study for calculus this period, but this turns out to be sorta hard. AP Calculus is quite possibly my least favorite class ever, by the way. Every time we start a new chapter, I think, “Oh, this isn’t too hard. I think I’ve got this.” And then things just escalate so quickly, to the point where I’m beginning to wonder if the teacher is making this shit up just to mess with us.

10:35 AM: AP Literature. This class is fun whenever we do creative writing. The problem is, that never happens. It’s just analyzing poetry, which is tough to do unless I’ve gotten a full-night’s sleep. Hell, even if I am wide awake, all it takes is some archaic poetry to send me straight to Snooze City, Indiana.

11:24 AM: AP Calculus: I spend the majority of this class looking at the clock and wondering, is it over yet? Please let it be over.

12:06 PM: Calculus is my last period of the day, which means I get to go home two periods early. I leave the school, purposely cutting my friend off on the way out of the parking lot, and make my way to the nearest gas station. (Gas is 2 bucks a gallon now, so suck it, people from 2009.)

12:15 PM: I go to a nearby deli for a turkey and cheese sandwich with lettuce and tomato. I devour it with the ferocity of a starved lion feasting on a gazelle. 

12:25 PM: I’m back home. I put my McDonald’s uniform in the dryer, and then take a nap.

3:45 PM: I wake up from my long nap, and check the mail for any college letters. There are none. “Thanks a lot,” I say to the mailbox. The mailbox doesn’t respond.

4:00 PM: I get ready for work. (4:30-11:00.) I check the weather, in the hopes of some sort of rain or snow or tsunami, because whenever the weather’s bad, business is slow. Unfortunately the weather is pretty much perfect today, minus the cold, so I can expect a relatively normal Friday at work. As in, very busy.

4:30 PM: A six and a half hour shift goes by, and nothing particularly note-worthy happens. I’m in the back booth, taking orders and cleaning trays the whole time. There’s a homeless guy on a bicycle who rides up to the window every day, picks up all the dropped change on the ground, and rides away. He always just sort of sneaks up on me, and I’m not a fan.

Also, my boss told me I wasn’t allowed to wear my jacket when doing the drive-thru, but I put it on anyway. (#badass)

11:00 PM: I snag a hash brown, and a large cup of water, and then stop by the ATM before going home. 

Why am I stopping by the ATM, you ask? Because it’s poker night, bitches. 

11:20 PM: My Bad Influence Friends and my brother are in my basement already, and a three-to-four hour game of Texas Hold’em Poker begin. There may be a break at some point to, um, eat a sandwich, though that depends on how many people show up, and/or if my parents are still awake. Only five playing today, so it totally happened. 

(Should I be admitting to this? You’d think after my last post that I’d be more careful.)

2:00 AM: I inevitably lose the poker match. I always go all-in on a flush, and the other person will inexplicably manage to have a full house, every single time. It’s infuriating. 

2:15 AM: I play Call of Duty, still in the basement, as the poker game wraps up as it always does: with the two winners splitting the pot.

2:30 AM: The fridge is raided. There are no survivors.

2:45 AM: Either everyone goes home, or they sleep over my house. This time the latter happens, which resulted in us watching Amy Schumer HBO stand-up special. Amy Schmuer, by the way, is significantly funnier when your parents aren’t in the room with you. 

3:00 AM: “The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.”—Poppy Z. Brite. 

Luckily I went to bed an hour early, so my secrets are safe.