November 16, 2016

JAIN | On Moving on From Mistakes

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I’ve made it a habit of putting falsely serious titles on columns that are pretty much six paragraph jokes. My hope is always that some sentimental person out there clicks on the column hoping to shed an afternoon tear, but really just walks away semi-amused or at least somewhat confused. I’m excited to someday write the titles to articles your mom shares on Facebook. You won’t believe what I’ll come up with. But to be honest, I’m tired of all of this. Jokes can be funny, but this isn’t The Onion. Lots of people are reeling right now, but unfortunately you’ve come to the wrong place if you’re looking for a laugh. This column is on mistakes and the powerful repercussions they carry.

I’m a man of relatively simple pleasures. I like to eat Greek yogurt in the mornings and take a walk around the Arts Quad before my 2:30 class everyday. My life, in all honesty, can be pretty easy most of the time. As much as I like to complain about all the work I have to do and all the pressure I feel like I’m under, I’m still somehow at one of the best schools in the country studying a subject I genuinely care about. What’s there to complain about?

A few days back, I went to my fraternity house to eat dinner. It was just a regular day in my life. Nothing had really changed. I wasn’t really feeling whatever food the chef had made, so I decided to just eat Rice Krispies. There’s nothing quite like a snap, crackle and pop to wake you up from your skewed sense of reality.

I poured my cereal from the industrial sized bag of Rice Krispies and made my way to the milk dispenser to finish the job. I pushed down on the handle, but no milk came out. No big deal, just have to change the bag. I went to the fridge to find another bag of milk, because real heroes don’t wear capes. To my dismay, there was no milk left. We had run out of milk. This never happens. This wasn’t supposed to happen. What do I do now? What happens to my cereal?

I looked at my full bowl of moistureless Rice Krispies and realized I had no choice. I had to find a milk alternative. I searched the fridge and found the first thing that seemed to even remotely resemble a solution: a bottle of half and half. As more of a skim milk kind of guy, I had never really used half and half, but I figured if you could them both in coffee, you could probably put either of them in cereal too. I poured a splash of the half and half into my cereal bowl and walked away thinking I had made a difference and rebuffed establishment breakfast culture. Oh how I was wrong.

For those of you who don’t know, half and half is an equal parts blend of whole milk and cream. Essentially, half and half is likely what actors guzzle down when they’re trying to quickly put weight on for a movie role. One normal serving, which would be a few drops in a cup of coffee, gives you 87 percent of your daily-recommended serving of saturated fat. Keep in mind I poured myself a bowl full.

The first spoon was definitely the worst. It had the consistency of a runny clam chowder and the never-ending taste of pure fat. It was like I had just been breastfed by Paula Deen. After initially recoiling from the taste, I thought to myself, “This couldn’t possibly get any worse. I’ll just finish the bowl and go back to my simple life.” I finished the bowl, but the taste didn’t get any better. I went to campus to study after that and got a pretty insane stomachache. It was one of the rougher times in my life. That being said, the stomachache ended and my life went back to being doable and easy going.

I know what you’re thinking, that was probably the worst story ever told. What I hope was clear through the above paragraphs is that this past week was tough for a lot of us, but a fair amount of us were able to move on. That being said, a significant number of us have not and will not ever recover from this past week. Some of your friends’, classmates’, and relative strangers’ lives will be permanently and irreversibly changed by last week’s outcome. I am not one of those people. As I have repeatedly said, my life is simple and has very few drastic problems. Many students on this campus live a life of similar privilege. While last week’s outcome can be summarized as a temporary bad taste in some peoples’ mouths, many others are still reeling, and will continue to for far longer than you may realize. If you are lucky enough to not be one of those people, I urge you be empathetic towards your peers and not tell them to just move on. Moving on from a nationwide mistake as significant as this has no due date.

Akshay Jain is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at ajain@cornellsun.com.College Stuff appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.

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