Things are pretty low when you begin to hear a song by John Mellencamp, poor man’s Bruce Springsteen, and say, “Gee willakers. I never thought of the human existence in that light.”
Song in question: “Jack and Diane” of course, although “Small Town” does have its own poetic nuances. Well, pathetic nuances.
Yes, I believe that what I’m going through is a life crisis of some denomination. The largest one I can think of is “quarter-life” but I don’t want to sell myself short. I intend to see my 120th birthday and my grandchildren’s grandchildren’s grandchildren (grandchildren cubed,) so let’s call it a “sexta-life crisis.”
Senior year’s been kinda weird. Life itself didn’t change completely — I didn’t start to breathe hydrogen nor sprout extra hands out of my chest, although I’ve often thought chest hands would be a great and practical anatomical addition. But last weekend when I went to the cesspool of Syracuse to check out what I’ve been told is “The fourth largest mall in America” with its 1.5 million square feet of soul-sucking mallish awfulness, I had to start considering whether or not to buy certain things based on the fact that my future employer may not look kindly upon things that my friends refer to as “hooker chic.”
Mostly, though, I kind of feel like I’ve done everything I set out to do in college. I learned four languages, and saw over 50 concerts. I interviewed all my favorite bands as well as other idols of mine (Tina Fey!), traveled over 2/3 of the inhabitable continents, scraped by in classes doing my reading while watching marathon sessions of “Friday Night Lights” (R.I.P.), visited most all my friends at their schools on approximately 25 road trips, partook in all sorts of activities that may or may not be legal in the state of New York (technicalities, really), tried to get out of Ithaca as much as possible, tried to become Ithaca-like as much as possible, wore sweatpants for an entire calendar year, made friends, got rid of friends, hated humanity, loved the world. I wrote down a list of 100 things I wanted to do not only at Cornell or during college but in life, and I actually did them all, with the exception of driving a hearse and driving the Popemobile (or both at the same time).
But good ole Jack Cougar Mellencamp once wrote, “Oh yeah, life goes on. Long after the thrill of living is gone.”
If you want to make fun of me, go ahead. Upon the realization that I was actually listening to John Mellencamp, I lost all remaining self-respect anyway. But if you, like I, feed off adventures like a trailer trash vampire in True Blood, then eventually, probably by your senior year, the thrill will be gone and you’ll become tolerant where you used to get high, so to speak. I suppose B.B. King also said “The thrill is gone”, and claiming that my grand epiphany came to me from the diabetic blues master would have left me with a lot more street cred, but I’ve always been an honest-type person, so I told you from whence my inspiration really came. John Mellencamp. At a Hangover’s concert. And I didn’t wash my hands after I used the restroom.
So, since life goes on, and hedonistic-self-life-coach may or may not be working for me as an occupation, I’ve decided I have three options.
Option 1: Take up Religion.
This seems to really be something people get passionate about and I’ve decided that “heaven” sounds like a “place” that I’d like to “live in eternally.” I love Denzel Washington and Billy Ray Cyrus so I’m thinking Pentecostalism is right for me. It would probably take up a lot of my time, and also I am always into learning new languages, like tongue-speaking. Additionally, rock music has bereft me of the ability to dance, so not being allowed to dance in public, a plus.
Option 2: Take Up a Baby.
This also seems like it would take up a lot of my time. Though I currently have a freshman protégé, (who just told me she doesn’t read any of my columns — her name is Alicia and she loves strangers that touch her,) who I am trying to shape in my image, I feel like someone littler and more malleable (like the soft spots on their heads) would be easier. And I babysat that one time when I was 11, so it should be a simple transition.
Option 3: Take up a Do-Gooder Alternative Lifestyle
Well, this is troublesome because I have a very heightened sense of smell. This comes from my father, who steps into a room and can name the last edible object that was present there. We’re suspicious that our genes have been mixed with canine. Thus, hospitals, or anywhere that smells like old people or things old people might eat are not acceptable to me. Children tend to sneeze all over themselves and not wash their hands, so that’s out of the question too (unless the child has my genetic makeup, as in Option 2, whereupon sneezing can be systematically phased out).
Thus, I am left with animals, to whom, as I mentioned, I might be related anyway. Mom says if I get a pet in college she’ll disown me, so volunteering with animals might just be crazy enough to work. I have visions of Homeward Bound where all the dogs and cats talk to each other with Michael J. Fox’s voice and have adventures in San Francisco. Oh wow, if the animals can teach me their adventures, I’ll be back on track.
So thanks, John Cougar Mellencamp, the personification of mid-life crisis. I should have known you’d show me the way. You’re part animal too.