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.

Goals for My 2017 Spring Semester

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My spring semester of college starts today, and while my fall semester was fine, there were a few things I wished I’d done differently. And now that I have a good sense of what college is like, and how much of a workload I could handle, I’m going to start making goals for myself that will straddle the line between Reasonable and Overly Optimistic. Let’s see how it goes.

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1) Get Back to a Normal Sleep Schedule

Last semester I had to wake up early on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for an 8:30 Chemistry lecture, and I did not handle it well. Back in August I’d figured that this would be easy, considering how I woke up around 6:00 AM in high school and it wasn’t that hard. But as it turns out, waking up early in college is so much worse.

“That’s it!” I thought as I planned out my spring schedule, “No more early classes. I’m never waking up earlier than nine again.”

But I ended up getting screwed over by technical issues, and now I’m stuck with an 8:00 Calculus classes on Monday Wednesday Friday and an 8:30 Intro to American Politics class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So yeah, that’s rough.

And thanks to late shifts at Mcdonalds and nightly poker games, I’ve now gotten used to falling asleep around 4 AM and waking up around noon.

This is not a fun adjustment.

And yet, I’m looking forward to this. Because while I hate getting up early, I do love being up early. It’s nice waking up and having the whole day ahead of you. Plus the air smells nicer in the morning. Not sure why.

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2) Get at least a B+ in Chemistry.

Ah, chemistry. My Achilles’s heel, if you will. I got a C in it last semester, and I was pleasantly surprised to get it. I do hope to improve next semester, and the odds are in my favor this time because:

  1. My lectures this semester are in the afternoon, so I won’t be tempted to skip them so I can sleep in.
  2. I actually started to use all the extra resources available to me near the end, and it helped a lot.
  3. Hopefully, my TA this time won’t have a heavy, indecipherable accent. My last TA was a nice guy and all, (he didn’t even take points off when I handed in a late lab, God bless him), but he grew up in China and still has trouble with English. It’s understandable, considering that I took four years of Spanish classes and still can’t speak a word of it, but it’s frustrating when he has to explain important stuff to the class. I don’t know much about my new TA, but I know his first name is Brendan and his middle name is Patrick, so I’m gonna go on a hunch and say that English is probably his first language, (*fingers crossed*) so learning things should be a bit easier this year.

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3) Join more clubs

This is still going to be difficult for me, because three of the clubs I wanted to join last semester, (a book club, a sign language club, and a literary magazine thingy), were not only all at the exact same time, but also at the same time as my chemistry recitations. Chances are the same thing’s going to happen this semester too.

But I can still join the bowling club (turns out I’m good at it), as well as racquetball. Plus my school has a student-run website that’s basically like The Onion, and I would love to get an article or two posted on that. I think I could pull off satire. The key, as I see it, is to write about a completely ridiculous event as if its normal, such as this, or write about a completely normal event as if it’s extremely significant, like this. Or, of course, you can actually put some effort in.

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4) Be better with money.

Was I the best with money last semester? No. But did I learn from my mistakes and get better as the semester went on? Also no. This time, though, I hope to handle things better, and I won’t allow myself to make the same mistake regarding textbooks as I did last time:

Back in August I decided to save money for my classes by renting all my textbooks on Amazon for a cheaper price than was offered on the school bookstore. Look at me, I thought, saving money like a champ. This worked out fine for my Intro to World Politics course, but it backfired in math and science. Turns out, I had to get a code for an online site where 90% of the online assignments were due, and in order to get that I had to either pay $99 for the access code, or buy another textbook from the bookstore, because those were the only textbooks that came with the access codes. That’s two hundred bucks I’m never getting back. Do I sound salty? It’s my saltiness that’s making me sound that way.

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5) Check my grades as soon as they come out.

Sad fact: because I was so afraid I had failed chemistry, I did not check my grades for fall semester throughout the entire winter break. I just told my parents I had a 2.9 GPA, because that seemed to be on the optimistic side of realistic, and I spent winter break not thinking about anything school related.

Then I was told that if you failed Chem 107, you wouldn’t be able to continue with chem 108. Hmm, I thought, Maybe I should see how I did so I don’t get kicked out of chem 108 two weeks into the semester.

And so I checked my grades, and it was a lot better than I’d expected. C in Chemistry, B+ in Calculus, A in Intro to World Politics, and an A in my public speaking class. Not sure how that last one happened, (not false modesty; am genuinely perplexed), but I’m not going to argue with a good thing.

This semester, though, I’m checking my grades right away. ‘Cause there ain’t no way in hell I’m putting myself through that sort of stress again.

So, uh, yeah. What are your goals for this year? (School-related or otherwise.) And more importantly, does anyone know when Stranger Things is coming back? That show is lit.

Weird Things I Do

What a unique person.

I just realized today that there are a couple weirdly specific things that go through my head on a daily basis, and I’ve always just assumed this was just a Matt Quirk.

(Definition of a Matt Quirk: Strange and unusual behavior exhibited by teen bloggers named Matt.) 

But today I heard a classmate mention that whenever she was on a long car ride as a little kid, she’d imagine an imaginary person running alongside the road with her, jumping over anything in the way and never falling behind. This was such a perfect description of what I used to do that it had me wondering: what if I’m not as strange as I thought I was? What if I’m actually normal?

So I decided to tell you some of things I do, just to see if anyone else does the same thing. If not, feel free to judge me as harshly as you want:

I often imagine myself explaining parts of my daily routine to someone my age from the nineteenth or early twentieth century. Like sometimes when I stop to get gas, or use my phone, or watch TV, I think of how I’d explain all this to someone who’d never seen it before. I currently find myself trying to explain the current presidential election to someone from the 1930s, and it is very difficult. 

When I’m bored in math class, I find myself playing this game with my calculator, in which I type the numbers in the rhythm to a song. Then I press the divide button and type the pattern in again without looking, to see if I get the same thing. For example, the recurring verse to Where is My Mind? by the Pixies comes out to the sequence: 757575757474745545 repeated two or three times.

Okay, so this one’s going to be difficult to explain, but I’ll do my best. Have you ever seen floors like this? (the color’s unnecessary)

Now, do you know how to play chess? Because there’s a piece in that game called the knight that could move in any direction as long as it’s in the shape of an L. Two blocks in any direction, one block to a perpendicular side, as shown below.

Well as a kid, and occasionally now when I do walk on such floors, I’d only step in a tile that a knight would be allowed to move to in a game of chess. I’d always be slightly disappointed if the tiles were suddenly cut off, or if a random passerby made me miss a step. Twas a fun game.

I rarely do this anymore though, mostly cause I kept bumping into things. Plus it just looked weird, so . . . *shrugs*

Sometimes I keep the air conditioning on at night when it’s not even hot out, simply because the sound helps me sleep. Sorry about that, Planet Earth.

I’ll occasionally pour water into my water bottle cap and drink from that, instead of the bottle itself. Y’know, just to be fancy.

I quickly swipe at the top of my nose whenever I’m in a stressful position. Especially during class presentations. Not sure if anyone else has noticed, but I’ve been trying very hard not to do this and so far I think I’ve succeeded. Although there’s a chance that I do it now without even thinking, so I should look out for that.

Oh, and I always take the tab thingy off of my cans of soda. Y’know, that thing you pull up to open it? Well, I pull it off completely and put it my pocket, every single time. Partly so I can tell which one is mine if I’m at some sort of social gathering, but mostly because of habit. 

Hmm . . .

That’s all I can think of right now. If you have any weird quirks, feel free to share. (I’ll only judge you if it’s particularly freaky.) And if you are guilty of any of the things I mentioned above, comment below so I know I’m not alone.

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?”


“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.) 

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. 

If I were to tell my colleges about this blog, would that hurt or help my chances?

I’ve been wondering this for a while. On one hand, they should be impressed with the fact that I’ve been writing here for several years, and some of my posts should definitely sway them in my favor. Such as the post where I threatened to punch a bunch of teenagers in the face, or that post where I taught an eighth grader about the value of books.

But then I wonder if they’ll see posts like, “Looking at Colleges: Pros and Cons,” in which I said some pretty negative things towards the colleges I’ve applied to. For example, in my evaluation of Stony Brook University, I referred to Long Island (where it’s located) as a place filled with unspeakable evil. Okay, so I didn’t say exactly that, but I certainly implied it, and I can’t imagine Stony Brook being okay with such slander.

Oh, and I spelled the school with one word (“Stonybrook”) instead of the proper two, which surely couldn’t come off well. 

While I didn’t badmouth many schools too badly, there were a couple things there that I doubt would appear promising for any admissions adviser. The fact that I was willing to hold a grudge against SUNY Binghamton just because one of their vending machines didn’t work doesn’t make me seem like a well-developed individual. And the fact that I listed “abnormally high marijuana use” as a positive for SUNY Oneonta doesn’t help either. 

Or what if they start off with my About Page, which I rewrote a month ago, and make their decision based off that? “I smoke pot, but only because it makes me look cool,” was an actual line that I wrote there. Would they realize that I was being sarcastic? I like to think they would, but I am not taking that chance. No sirree.

But just in case said recently mentioned colleges happen to be reading this, I’d like to say a few things:

First of all, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best student. I’ve been described as a dumbass, a slacker, a super-cool badass, and Han Solo 2.0, although those last two terms aren’t really relevant. The point is that I am really good when it comes to subjects that I’m genuinely interested in. Except of course for biology class in the third quarter of ninth grade. That was a fluke, I swear. In college I’ll be pursuing courses that I genuinely want to take, except for some of those required ones. Okay, a lot of them will be required, but some of them won’t be, and I’m pretty sure I’ll do well in those. And for the other ones, I’m sure I could just copy some notes and cheat my way through them. Wait . . .

Secondly, I really want to go to a four-year college, and yours seems particularly cool. I want to leave home and start again in a new place, far, far away from my family and friends from home. I want a fresh start, just like the characters in season 2 of The Leftovers. Of course, that “fresh start” ended terribly for pretty much everyone involved, so, uh, yeah.

And finally, if you do accept me, can you make sure I get a roommate who doesn’t snore?

I don’t want a roommate who snores, is what I’m trying to say here.

Uncomfortable Moments of 2015

awkward what britney spears


If you considered my life a never-ending battle against social awkwardness, then this year was certainly a step in the right direction. That being said, there was still a few moments that were as cringe-worthy as a bad Doctor Who episode. And here I shall recall some of them for your amusement. To start off:

That time I handed in my Environmental notes without reading them over first.

In the beginning of the school year, my environmental teacher had us read over chapter 1 of the textbook and take notes of it. I have no recollection, however, of him telling us to write an outline of said chapter and having to hand the paper in. So I just assumed the notes I’d taken were my eyes and my eyes only. 

Fun fact about me: I like to make my notes interesting, by adding little things to them to make them more entertaining for my sake. Some of these things aren’t exactly school appropriate. Take, for example, my notes on the pollution rates of undeveloped countries:

“Regulations in still-developing countries aren’t usually as strict, mostly because no one over there really gives a shit.”

There was also a section covering the increasing mortality rates of frogs world-wide, and in the corner of the page, I had written in “fuck the frogs!” in parenthesis’s, presumably because I have the sense of humor of a twelve-year old.

But I didn’t want to disappoint my teacher on the first week of school, so I handed in these notes, writing a half-explanation, half-apology at the bottom, saying that I didn’t realize it was supposed to be handed in, which explains the lack of professionalism shown. I’d completely forgotten about the two examples above, and never actually crossed them out. It was only until after he handed the notes back that I remembered.

In red pen, he underlined the “fuck the frogs” part and added a giant question mark right next to it. And under the part about the undeveloped countries (I like to think he sat there for a while in a stunned silence after reading them.) he responded in judgmental red pen: “Uh . . . some do!” 

Still got a passing grade on it though, (huzzah!) and he seemed more upset with the fact that it wasn’t a proper outline than he was with the profanity within. So that’s nice.

That time I pissed off an entire elevator.

Have I mentioned yet that I went to Niagara Falls this summer? Because I did, and it was awesome. I also stayed in a really nice hotel that had a view of the falls. The only real problem with it was the elevator. 


Every time the elevator went up you could feel all the organs in your body push down inside you. And once it came to a stop, you feel them jump back up into place. Twas the most nauseating experience ever, I say.

So at one point I walked into the elevator on floor eleven, having to get to floor twelve. I got into a crowded, unhappy elevator filled with angry, unforgiving eyes. “What floor?” the guy closest to the button asked.


“You couldn’t have just walked?” he said.

Shit. He’s right.

I quietly apologized, (apology was followed by complete and utter silence), and my face was all red the whole twelve seconds up. I would’ve left the elevator beforehand, but he’d already pressed the button, so it was too late. 

Thanks to me, everyone on that elevator had to experience that horrible, stomach-dropping experience two more times than they actually should’ve had to. I felt terrible.

I could totally empathize with Captain America in this scene.

I got over it, though. You know what I didn’t get over, though?

That time I accidentally killed a human being.

Okay, so this never happened. I did, however, kill a raccoon by accident. And that was upsetting because I saw it the second before I hit it. I tried to slow down before realizing that it would be impossible to stop in time, so I tried to swerve out of the way, to no avail. I could still feel the bump of the wheel hitting the poor guy. 

And I know you guys aren’t going to believe me on this, but on the exact same drive home I almost hit an owl as well. A really white owl flew right by my window as I was driving down a long, windy road with no lights. This was especially strange, considering I don’t recall ever seeing an owl in the wild so up-close before, especially not one as white and big as this one. Hell, I didn’t even know that type of animal even lived in my area.

“Have all the animals gone mad?” I wondered. “Why are they all throwing themselves at my car all of a sudden?” 

Alas, I’ll never know what was going on that night. I like to think it had to do with some sort of supernatural occurrence within my town. Either way, I ended up driving a good fifteen miles under the speed limit the rest of the way home, just to be safe. 

That Time I Couldn’t Remember Any Other Uncomfortable Moments.

Oh, wait. That’s now. 

Sorry everybody, but that’s the end of this post. Perhaps I’ll think of more cringe-inducing moments in the future, but until then, all you’re left with is my “Tragic Stories From Matt’s Childhood,” page, which does include a few painful moments. 

Otherwise, have a fantastic day, everyone.

Tragic Stories From My Childhood: My Terrible Experiences with Group Projects

So the other day I had to do a presentation in front of one of my classes. There were two other students in my group, but one of them refused to speak. “I’ll just stand here for moral support,” he said, standing towards the side, leaving the other two of us to do the presentation for him while he just sort of stood to the side. 

The whole situation felt hauntingly* familiar, because I’ve been involved in a lot of group projects over the years, and in elementary school they tended to end with only a few people carrying the entire team.

Once I got to high school, these two things changed a little. Because by the time kids reach fourteen or so, they develop a small sense of empathy, and they start to feel guilty about being the freeloader in any given group. With the exception of that last presentation I had to do, most of time, everyone carries their weight.

However, all those feelings of guilt vanish immediately when both members of the group do nothing but goof around. Such was the case back in my Sports & Entertainment Marketing class, in ninth grade. I forgot what the project was, but me and this guy Aron were partnered together and we were given a good five days to work on it.

Some facts about Aron:

  • His nickname was A-Rod, because duh.
  • He later ended up a total pothead. (Looks like I was a bad influence on him, am I right?)
  • We chilled out a lot at the time.
  • Not to brag or anything, but we had sort of become best friends forever during ninth grade. But then ninth grade ended and we drifted apart, mostly because we had zero classes together. Now we never talk anymore.
  • Well, we do nod whenever we see each other in the halls.
  • But that’s kind of it.

During this five day project, we spent the first four days getting literally nothing done at all. We didn’t come up with a title, we didn’t write a header down. Hell, we never even opened up a new document. We didn’t have time to do any of that because we were too busy dicking around.

But don’t worry; we weren’t completely irresponsible. We agreed that we could slack all we wanted during the first four days, but we’d both get our shit together on the fifth and complete it as quickly as possible. We were going to be the most productive group in the history of productive groups. Nothing could stop us.

And then the next day came, and Aron showed up to class stoned out of his mind.

I know, right? So reckless. I would never do such a foolish thing. Nay, I only do drugs outside of school, because, y’know, responsibilities and whatnot. (#rolemodel) I don’t know how he even managed to get so high, considering it was near the end of the school day and you can’t just light up a joint in class without the administrators punting you out of school like a football.

I suppose he could’ve eaten one of them pot brownies, but as someone who has only come across the drug in smoking form, I’m starting to wonder if pot brownies are a thing that actually exists, or are just something you see on TV.

But that’s not important right now. What is important, is that he was incapable of focusing on anything. He spent the majority of the period playing on this website called Cool Math Games and giggling as he did it.

Well, I thought to myself. Looks like it’s all up to me.

Now, not to brag or anything, but when I get focused on something. Like, really focused, I am hella efficient. I got that entire project done in forty five minutes stat. I got it done so quickly and finished it so easily that it had me wondering just why, exactly, we were given five days to do this.

Aron had sobered up a bit by the end of the class and he apologized afterward. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but “my bad,” was the gist of it.

“It’s all cool,” I said. “But if you ever pull this shit on me again, I will murder your entire family and make you watch.”

The moral of the story is that: if you’re my group partner, you better pull your weight. Or people will die. Oh, and that drugs are bad. (Stay away from them, kids!) 

So how do you feel about group projects? Any particularly bad experiences? And does anyone else agree with me when I say that Sprite is the best type of soda? 


*I chose the word “hauntingly” because its October, and I’m trying to create a spooky vibe. Have you been properly spooked? Good. 

My Goals for Autumn 2015

This is the most autumn-y post in the history of autumn.

So yes, my goals for the summer didn’t go too well. If that post was a test, my teacher would’ve written “see me” on the top of it. But there’s no shame in failing, as long as you try your best. 

Of course, I didn’t actually try my best, so there is some shame after all. *shrugs*  Anywho, I’m going to try again, this time for the wonderful season of autumn. Which in New York is known as: that season in which everything dies and all the color slowly fades from the earth. It’s a fun time, really.

(Note: there will only be seven goals this season. Life is short, and so are my prospects.)  

Goal #1) Get Straight A’s.  

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this yet, but my grades during the last year or two haven’t exactly been stellar. You’d all be appalled by my terrible work ethic. Luckily, however, I nailed the SATs, (#genius) and in my college essay I wrote about a story that excuses my poor grades while also making it clear that I am now more motivated than ever. (That last part isn’t strictly true, but hey, I’ll let the colleges hear what they want to hear.) You may not think much of this approach, but at least it’s better than the first essay I wrote.

Yo, I’mma be honest, I ain’t the best student. But y’know what? If you let me in, I’ll holla at e’rrybody up in my school and I’ll tell’em, “Yo, Binghamton University is the real deal! You should apply there if you know what’s good for ya.”

The only problem is, if I don’t do well in the first half of my senior year, those colleges will know I’ve been schemin’ it up, and they’ll decline my application, in favor of some jerk named Brad. (Fuck Brad.) So yeah, getting good grades is definitely going to be a priority, at least for the first semester.

Goal #2) Be More School Spirit-y.  

When it comes to high school football games, and basketball games, I rarely ever attend them, despite the fact that I usually end up mostly enjoying myself. I just never really want to go. Like, I really would rather not. In fact, here’s a conversation that happened just the other day:  

Friend: Hey, you wanna go to the football game tomorrow?  

Me: *stabs self with a pencil* I’m sorry, but I’ve just been stabbed in the stomach, and will need to be hospitalized for the next few days.  

Friend: Oh, okay then. You could’ve just said no.  

But I think I should give this another try, because if I don’t I might end up regretting it twenty-five years from now. Extremely unlikely, sure, but I suppose it’s possible.

Goal #3) Do the McDonald’s drive-thru, in the snow.

This is the only reason I’m still working there. I’ve always wanted to be sitting in the back booth with a jacket on, drinking hot chocolate, and working with a nice view of the beautiful weather. It would be a great conversation starter with the customers, too.  

So how about that snow, huh?  

Yeah, it’s very, uh, snowy.

Goal #4) Blog on a near-daily basis.

Watch out followers, because your blogfeed is about to be overloaded with nonsense and tomfoolery. I know I’ve made declarations like this in the past, but this time I’m in it to win it.  

Just, y’know, if I do fail, can everyone just pretend I never wrote this?

Goal #5) Apply to Colleges.  

I’m definitely going to achieve this goal, because my parents would be so pissed off at me if I didn’t. “Really, Matt?” They’d say. “You’re not even going to bother applying to anywhere? What do you even want to do with your life?”  To which I’ll respond, completely serious and on the verge of tears: “I want to be a dancer, Mom. Just let me dance.”  

Goal #6) Get a sexy tan.

“But Matt, if you couldn’t accomplish this in the summer, what makes you think you can accomplish this now?”  

Shuddup, hypothetical person. Just let me dream.

Goal #7) Get Freshly Pressed again.

This may seem like quite a huge, slightly self-absorbed goal. But trust me, I don’t want this for me. Well, I do, but mostly I want it so I could improve mankind.

How so, you ask?

Well, there’s a survey of random, yet important questions I’d like to ask the world, but I’m not going to ask them unless I know that a huge amount of people are going to answer. So the best time to ask them would be right after getting freshly pressed, when thousands of people are going to be lurking around my blog. 

Also, getting freshly pressed is like, the greatest feeling ever. The whole month afterwards I had a new, confident spring to my step. “Hells yeah,” I’d think to myself. “I ROCK!”


Now, before I leave, I must ask: does anyone here watch The Leftovers? Please comment below if you do, because I need someone to talk to about that last episode. I haven’t been this excited about a season premiere since the fifth season of Lost.

(Also, is your sarcasm detector on point? Take this quiz to find out.)

Tragic Stories From My Childhood: That Time I Cursed in Class

This is the second post of my Tragic Stories series, in which I tell true stories from my childhood for your amusement. I’m trying to get all the early childhood stuff out of the way so we could get to the all the interesting and more serious middle school shenanigans soon.

This may surprise you all, but I curse a lot. I curse so much that it would make an old man take off his hat, shake his head and say, “That kid’s sure got a mouth on him.”

Okay, so maybe it wouldn’t, because I rarely ever swear with adults in the room (respect your elders and whatnot), but with fellow teens it’s a bit different. In fact, here’s how a friend and I greeted each other the other day in the hall, as we walked by each other.

“What’s up, Fuckboy.”

“Hey Shitfucker.”

We were immediately taken down to the principal’s office, and when the hall monitor explained what she heard the principal just threw his hands up and gave a sad sigh of defeat. “Why?” he asked us. “Why would you feel the need to say something like that to each other?”

But it wasn’t alway like that, no sirree. There once was a time where just the mere utterance of a bad word was enough to make me gasp. I remember reading the word “ass” in the dictionary and giggling. (It said “ass!” Hilarious!) and I remember hearing the same word in an episode of The Simpsons and immediately turning the channel to watch something more age-appropriate. It was around this period in my life when The Incident happened.

What was The Incident, you ask?

Well, it took place near the very end of the school day, back in first grade, or maybe it was second. I know it was in 2004 or early 2005, because that was the time 1985 by Bowling for Soup was released, and my friends and I were obsessed with that song. 

(We never saw the video for it until years later though, mostly because YouTube wasn’t a thing back then.)

So I was talking amongst my group of seven year old friends when a certain word slipped out by accident. I’m not sure what exactly I was talking about, but I do know that I had meant to say the word “dance,” and instead it came out as “damn.” I know, right? Quite the scandal, if I dare say so.

My entire group of friends gasped aloud. Okay, maybe they didn’t literally gasp, but they were all shocked, and none of them were as upset as me. I was panicking. I was feeling an immense wave of guilt and a fear that I’d never felt before. I could already see the phone call home, the expulsion from school, my parents putting soap in my mouth.*

I immediately started apologizing to everyone, explaining the mistake. It’s amusing for me to say that they were all actually scared for me as well. They were genuinely concerned for what would happen to me.

A girl nearby (let’s call her Taylor) asked another girl who heard me:

“What happened?”

“Matt just said the d word.”

“Oh my goodness,” she looked around at the teacher, who was busy grading papers or something. “Do we tell on him?”

“Please don’t,” I begged her. “It was an accident!”

Of course, Taylor did in fact tell on me, (we called her Tattletale Taylor for a reason, y’know), and I ended up having to explain to the teacher what happened, and I burst into tears about halfway through. (Spoiler alert: pretty much every story involving younger me will feature me crying for stupid reasons.)

Luckily, the teacher took pity on me and I didn’t get in any trouble whatsoever. She also gave me a hug. All in all, I’d consider that day a win.


Read my previous tragic story right here.

*I’ve never actually had soap put in my mouth (if I have I’ve forgotten), but I’ve always feared the possibility.

In Which I Fail Terribly at All of My Goals

This is going to be me in ten months

At the beginning of this summer, I set a lot of goals for myself, and then I immediately forgot about those goals and just sort of dicked around for the next two months. Needless to say, I did not accomplish many of them. Now that school is back in session, I believe it’s time to look back at the past two months, and reflect on how horribly I’ve wasted them.

Goal #1: Get buff.

Yeah, I didn’t have much hope for this one. I did do some push-ups at one point, though, so I suppose this wasn’t a complete failure.

Goal #2: Get a sexy tan.

I’ve been doing the drive-thru at McDonald’s a lot lately, and what happens is that only one side of my body tends to hit by the sun, (thanks to the roof and the windows and whatnot), which results in coming home with sunburn on the left side of my face. (Sunburn. Never a tan.) Twas a failure, I say.

Goal #3: Finally Take Advantage of my Netflix Account

I didn’t take as much advantage of this as I could have, (still haven’t caught up on Daredevil), though I have watched a lot of movies lately. Has anyone seen Mad Max: Fury Road? Because that movie was mad good. (har!)

Success level: eh.

Goal #4: Confront My Inner Demons:

did confront one of my inner demons, actually. He beat me up and took my money. Not sure if this counts or not.

Goal #5: Get featured on Engie’s Quarterly Rewinds.

Basically, Engie (who’s secretly John Green, but that’s not more important right now) recaps each season, and in said recap she features her five favorite posts from other bloggers. And if I don’t step up my game by the twenty-first of June, I probably won’t make it. Mostly because I’ve barely been posting lately. I blame the government. Oh, and chairs. Fuck you, chairs.

So I didn’t make the spring rewind, but I still have a chance to make the next one. I just gotta fire the ol’ noggin right up and write the greatest post of all time. Shouldn’t be too hard.

Goal #6: Finish that book I’ve been writing. 

Still not finished, but I am close to the end. Then again, I’m not nearly as close as I’d hoped I’d be.

Goal #7: Get Beta Readers

Oh, that reminds me: would anyone like to be my beta reader? I’m not an expert at the whole thing, but I’m pretty sure this is how I’d like it to go:

  1. I would send you my WIP via google drive, (or possibly another format if you prefer).
  2. Because I’ve found that google drive gets a bit laggy once you write more than 30k words, I’m dividing my story into three parts, Suzanne Collins style. I’ll send you one act at a time, and once you’re finished with that I’ll send you the next one.
  3. Presumably you’ll provide comments and feedback and whatnot with each act.
  4. I will say “thank-you,” and hand you twelve thousand dollars for your hard work.
  5. Point #4 may not be true.

8) Get to do the drive-thru more at McDonalds.

Aha! The one goal on this list I can proudly say I’ve accomplished with flying colors. In fact, I now do the drive-thru so often that I’ve gotten bored of the whole thing. Plus I got a whole bunch of stories of all the crazy, sometimes horrible people that come through the drive-thru, that I will tell you all in time. Spoiler alert: there’s sooooooooo many high people, it’s ridiculous.

9) Actually finish a book.

Aha! I finished book two and three of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. They’re graphic novels that are all about . . . well, I don’t really know what they’re all about yet. There’s this guy called Morpheus who’s the Lord of the Dream Realm, and he’s pretty much the chillest guy ever.

10) Take advantage of my Six Flags pass

I didn’t go to Six Flags at all this year. 😦 Mostly because my aunt never bought us the season pass, as I’d expected. She decided not to because, what with all of us (my siblings and I) having jobs this summer, she figured we wouldn’t have time to find a day to make the two-hour drive to the park. Y’know, despite the fact that it would’ve taken only the slightest bit of effort for the three of us to make take off on the same day. Really, I think she’s just mad because we last year we went to Six Flags and didn’t take her son with us.


I may have failed horribly with my goals, but perhaps you did a tiny bit better. Feel free to tell how you did in the comments. Or if you don’t want to do that, you could try to guess what color eyes I have. (Winner gets a high five.)

Tragic Stories From My Childhood: The Time I Got My Card Flipped

Credit goes to http://www.upperelementarysnapshots.com/

I’m starting a new series of posts, ones that will probably be posted every once in awhile until they eventually peter out of existence, and it’s all about the things that happened during the last seventeen years of my life, told from my point of view.

I should warn you though, that some of these stories may be exaggerated or distorted. Memories aren’t perfect, after all. But I will try my best to keep things as accurate as possible. 

My first story will bring us back to when I was a wee little child, attending the second grade of my adorable little elementary school. My second grade teacher was Mrs. Rippa, (I hope you’re reading this, Mrs. R.,) who I remember hating her very much, mostly because she made me cry a lot.

To be fair, it didn’t take much to make seven year old me cry, because I was one miserable piece of shit back then. If you were to compare me to any Rugrats characters, I would’ve been Chuckie, no doubt. I was always worrying about things and thinking they were so much more important than they actually were.

To be fair to my former self though, kindergarten me was a total thug. Back then I was kicking ass and taking names, shoving weaker kids into the dirt and flirting with the first grade honeys. Something terrible must’ve happened between kindergarten and second grade, because by the time I was learning how to multiply single digits, I’d become a total wuss. 

Back in elementary school the teachers had a very unique method of discipline: the card system. There’d be a pocket chart thingy on the wall, and everyone would have their own little envelope-thingy (I’m not too sure on the actual names of these things, as I’m sure you can tell). If a student was acting out in class, they’d be told to flip their cards.

The cards went like this:

Blue: The best card. It shows that you have yet to do anything wrong and that you’re one well-behaved kid. Your parents must be so proud.

Green: A warning. Not the worst thing in the world. Just, y’know, don’t do it again. 

Yellow: 5 minutes off recess for you, you good-for-nothing nobody.

Red: No recess at all for you, and you go straight to the principal’s office. I’m not sure what’s in the principal’s office, but I assume there’s forced cannibalism involved, because every student was terrified of going there. 

So one day I was chilling in class, doing one of those stupid activities second graders do, like cutting snowflakes or some shit. Not really important. Anywho, I was getting into a real deep conversation with the girl next to me, Dominique. We were talking about how cracking your knuckles would cause arthritis, which was something my aunt had told me the day before.

(You’re gonna love my aunt, by the way. What she said was this: “You know, Matt, if you keep cracking your knuckles you’re gonna lose the ability to bend your fingers. And you’re going to go through your whole life with incredible pain.” She then proceeded to give many examples of things I would not be able to do because of said permanently-straightened fingers, like driving or typing or holding onto things. She told me I could no longer read books because I would be unable to turn the pages, which seems like an needlessly cruel thing to say to a seven year old bookworm.)

Our conversation was suddenly interrupted by a cold, harsh voice that cut across the classroom. “Matthew, flip your card. No more talking.”

I didn’t think it was possible to go from happy to shocked and upset so quickly. If I had to compare it to any moment, it would be that scene from Mockingjay when (scroll over to read) Katniss sees Peeta for the first time. At first she’s thinking, “Hells yeah, I’m reunited with ma boi Peeta Mellark, best baker since Rachel Ray,” and then as Peeta strangles her to death she’s all, “Hot damn! This ain’t even close to how I expected this to play out.”

But as a student I was nothing if not dutiful, so I proceeded to walk all the way across the room, head bowed in shame, to flip my card for the first time ever. 

As I made the walk, I felt all the eyes of the class on me. Some people laughed. Others made that obnoxious “Ooooohhh” sound that kids love to make. I, meanwhile, was trying very hard not to cry, a process which would pretty much always fail. I’d feel the tears swell up and I’d think, “goddamnit, eyes, this isn’t even that big of a deal. You better not start shedding tears over this.”

Then my eyes would be all like: “Nope! It’s tear city for you. Have fun looking like a total wuss in front of everyone, crybaby.”

And I’d be like: “Come on, eyes, don’t do this to me.”

And my eyes would just start leaking an obnoxious amount of tears out into the world, further ruining my reputation as a hardcore thug.

I haven’t even mentioned the worst part yet: later that day there’d be an Open House for the school, in which the parents would visit the school and be in the classrooms and whatnot. Mrs. Rippa had kindly informed us that if anyone had their cards flipped, those cards would stay flipped until the following morning, so any parents attending Open House would get to see what a failure their child was.

So as you can guess, it was in my best interest to get my card back to its original blue before the day ended. But this was harder than it seemed. 

My options, as far as I could see it:

1) Sneak over and unflip my card.

2) Hold the class hostage until Mrs. Rippa agrees to unflip my card, and also to make me the line leader for at least a week. (Because if you have the chance to demand line-leading privileges, you take it.)

3) Run away and never come back.

But I knew none of these ideas would work. #1 might have, but I knew if I was caught I’d likely get a yellow—possibly even red— card, and I couldn’t risk that. So I went with secret option number four: I decided to beg.

I know, I’m not proud of the fact. Later that day I went up to Mrs. Rippa and tried to persuade her to unflip my card. I tried denying the fact that I had talked at all, and when that didn’t work I tried apologizing and then I’d never doing it again. When that didn’t work I decided to blame it all on Dominique, but alas, it was to no avail. 

It may seem like a scumbag move to try and wrap Dominique into this, but hey, I might as well have had a gun pointed my head, I was so desperate. Besides, Dominique would later do some terrible things to me, so I don’t feel too bad, looking back. Also, I’d like to remind everyone that I was only seven at the time, so y’know, don’t judge.

Anywho, I spent the rest of the day in a bad mood, despite various attempts by other people to cheer me up. When I went home I confessed to my parents, breaking into tears and whatnot, and they weren’t actually upset at all. Presumably because, well, it’s just a stupid card.

But it wasn’t stupid. That card flipping system was an ingenious system of discipline through the use of public shaming. I applaud the people who invented it, while also hating them for all the misery they’ve caused. 

So how about you, readers? What punishment did your elementary school teachers use? Especially if you went to Catholic school, let me know. Because I know many adults who went to Catholic schools, and the stories they have are just horrifying, especially when compared to the wimpy card-flipping system some schools like mine had. 

I don’t know about you guys, but I for one will always be afraid of nuns.