March 2, 2011

Ice, Beef and Glory

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Thomas Edison was a total asshole.

Not only did he not invent electricity (you can thank the great Serbian, Nikola Tesla, for that one), but he also left us with these unwise words of self-important rhetoric: “Genius is one percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration.”

Oh really? Then why is it that for days I have been struggling to write a single sentence of this column? Have I not perspired enough? My armpits beg to differ. At this point in our college careers, I’m sure we’ve all mastered the art of perspiration. Cranking out research paper after problem set after prelim may not be fun, but the grind is a standard part of our academic lives. Very little perspiration is actually required to get these mind-numbing tasks done once we know what the hell we are talking about.

The same goes for this column. Without some serious inspiration, I’ve got nothing. Writing itself is not a very difficult task, but figuring out what to write about is a torturous process of blank screens, false starts and nervous breakdowns. Thankfully, the quarterlife crisis has a way of coming through when it is most needed, ensuring that something appropriately ridiculous comes my way to share with you, my sexy readership. Last night was no exception.

As the deadline for this piece approached at blazing speeds, I found myself entrapped by a severe case of writer’s block, doing anything and everything to distract myself from impending doom. This included such activities as folding my laundry, educating myself on the Sheenian art of “bi-winning” and asking myself if Lady Gaga was indeed born that way. I even googled “inspiration,” only to find that a 30-day free trial would cost me $9.99 for shipping. Just when it seemed like all hope was lost, I received a text message inviting me to go ice-skating at Lynah rink as part of a Bridges to Community fundraiser. The rest, as they say, is history.

Considering that I have only gone ice-skating once in my life, at the age of five when I was only a Wee-Losh of tiny proportions, I accepted the invitation, determined to expand my winter sports skill set. Naturally, the night was a mess. Wearing ice skates that were two sizes too big and three sizes too ghetto, I resembled newborn Bambi on ice, my ankles shaking and breaking in every direction. As my selfless and humble friends lapped me without a care, my ass acquainted itself with the ice, striking up a pretty cool friendship. Never have I felt so vulnerable.

Over the course of the next hour, I managed to master the basic glide, traveling across the ice less like a grizzly bear wearing lead boots, and more like Dori that time I saw Finding Nemo On Ice. Declaring my night a success, I assumed that it was time to wind down and potentially start my homework for the next day. How wrong I was.

Apparently, Taco Bell meat is 88 percent beef and 12 percent pure glory. In order to promote this delicious statistic, crunchwrap supremes are only 88 cents this entire week. What better way to recover from icy failure than with basically-free mouth-watering pseudo-Mexican delight? Rather than settling down to do anything of academic importance, I wrangled up a motley crew of sexy characters to travel with me to the holy land of the Taco Bell drive-thru. After assuring the omniscient voice within the menu that there were indeed four passengers within my vehicle and that we were not trying to cheat the two-crunchwraps-per-customer system, we were rewarded with golden tortilla pockets of processed meat, artificial preservatives and special sauce. The way they shined in the March moonlight made me think of younger days … days that created a wild and emancipating idea of endless joy and celebration.

At this point, I could have gone to sleep a happy man, my quarterlife crisis having led me to discover and survive the cruelest of sports, and to indulge in the most delicious of foods. But no! Amongst the characters on my journey to TB was the one and only Tom Lee. Suffering from a case of crunchwrap-induced insanity, Tom, who works for Delta Airlines, offered me a deal that I could not resist: If I agreed to seamlessly work any sentence Tom wrote into my column, he agreed to upgrade my Spring Break plane tickets to first class. I’m quite excited to fly first class for the first time ever, to say the least.

Clearly Thomas Edison had overactive sweat glands. Life is about finding inspiration, not perspiring without a purpose. For every boring day or boring week, life has its ways of making it up to you with truly ridiculous adventures. Keep it sexy and just go with it.

Milos Balac is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He may be reached at mb695@cornell.edu. The Quarterlife Crisis appears alternate Thursdays this semester.

Original Author: Milos Balac