October 4, 2018

The Old College Try

I drove by an ivy-walled university, the kind you see in the movies, the ones with gray bearded professors and leaves falling from the trees...lecture halls with wooden floors and wooden lectures from wooden instructors...college football Saturdays...the things you dream about when you grow up...college life, good times...I saw some students milling around and it reminded me of my time in college, not that there was a lot of it...I wasn’t a good student, and I don’t think I measured up to even being a poor student...there were too many distractions, cheerleaders, parties, friends to go to the beach with, and my own mind spinning in crop circles and trying to figure out what I really wanted...I knew one thing, I didn’t want anything to do with any damned early classes...no 8 a.m. math class for me...my classes started at 10 in the morning at the earliest, and I had trouble making those...I gave it the old college try, or at least the best version I could muster up...but I soon lost interest in Algebra, Accounting, Business Management, and and all those other classes that I can’t remember because I didn’t go to...oh, I attended for a little while, but soon lost interest...that includes Biology (although I did have a cute cheerleader named Donna for a lab partner)...my best memory from college is the time her, I, and a sweet girl named Karen from the same class went on a field trip where we were supposed to collect some samples of dirt or plants and then go back to school to do some research...we walked around the little forest for a few minutes and then separated ourselves from the rest of class /professor and went over to the local mall nearby to walk around and have lunch...me and Donna dropped off Karen back at school and then went over to her Donna’s parents house where there was conveniently nobody home and then we did our own kind of research...I didn’t like high school, I don’t know why the hell I thought college would be any different...so one day I started cutting classes entirely and going over to the library instead to read all day...from Karl Marx to George Allen...books on psychology, eastern mysticism, sports, poetry...yeah, a variety of things...maybe I should have gone for a Psychology major since that kind of stuff always interested me, but who was I kidding?...I didn’t have the studying chops for that, or at least didn’t think so, though I occasionally regret not trying it then...I loved the library, it was a quiet place that felt like a friend putting its arm around me and saying that everything was alright...I’d go to the ‘quiet floors’ that were exclusively for studying...I loved the hum of the fluorescent lights...I could sit there all day lost in the words...after a few hours, I sometimes went down to the school cafeteria to hang out and look for a hand out...sometimes if you signed up for something some young crusaders were passionate about, you’d get a free sub or piece of pizza...then, I’d take a slow walk over to the fountain area outside, to lay on the grass and dream about being famous, top 40 songs playing in my head...I loved the crisp fall days, the leaves turning autumn colors...the baseball season was winding down and getting ready for the playoffs...and there was the football season in high gear...after some daydreaming, then it would be back to the library for some more reading...in the late afternoon, I’d go home...this charade lasted for a couple of semesters or so and then I told my mother who probably noticed I never brought a book home or did any homework that I wasn’t going to go to school anymore...she didn’t say anything other than “What are you going to do now?”...great question... how could I answer it when I didn’t know myself...but I just knew I didn’t want to listen to some self-important English college professor prattle on about writing a twenty page dissertation and I couldn’t hang out in the library forever…so I gave up college and started spending some time with my friends (who didn’t exactly have a lot going for them either) at the Four Aces Lounge and played pool and Pac-Man and talked about girls and sports and life...I guess I needed more discipline, and I’ve never had that club in the proverbial golf bag...the last I’d heard, Donna quit school about the same time I did and moved to Texas, and Karen’s whereabouts were unknown.