So, these are going to be excerpts, okay? I can’t just write the whole memoir and post it out here for free. The truth is, I can’t write anything longer than a page at a time anyway. In fact, I’ve begun to think that way, a page at a time, which is good for some things, like blogging and making grocery lists. It’s not so good for maintaining relationships, holding down a job, or contemplating the future. A page at a time. Could be the motto for my new twelve step group, Frustrated Writers Anonymous. Will you join? The coffee is horrible. But, it’s free!
Actually the cops had my dead neighbor’s car. And, I didn’t have my license on me when I got pulled over. So, they actually had squat. I told them my name was Fred and they were more concerned with the smell of liquor to pursue my last name. My dead neighbor’s name was Fred and I had borrowed the car. Fred was dead and I was running across campus. However, my oxygen intake was limited by pack-a-day lungs and I was starting to gasp and see stars. So I ducked into a little grove of trees to catch my breath. Beyond my gasping, it was very quiet. No dorms or bars or people around. The Charles Hicks Chemistry Building (CHC) loomed close by and a pond was between me and a campus road. A police car prowled slowly on the other side of the pond but I was in the trees and very still. I knew every inch of this campus from pizza delivery and six years of tepid undergrad commitment. So, I waited in that grove and thought about my life.
One thing was clear. Beyond the exhilaration of the shenanigans and lack of responsibilities, I was heading nowhere and I was fucked. College was just the scaffold that held my life together. Officially, I was a student. In reality, I was a grubby drug-addled drunk looking for the next blast. Fun and games on the surface, dying slowly on the inside, stagnant and sad. No one was going to recognize my unique brand of devil-may-care genius and give me a job or a book deal or even a sandwich. Professors reached out to me, encouraging, wanting to mentor. I perceived them as threats. These realities, long stewing in the swampy shame at the bottom of my (now ample) gut, bubbled up and I shed tears in those trees, which may have been from exertion but, for the purposes of this story, were tears of release. As I hid from the cops and my heart rate came down and I realized I left my cigarettes in the car, (Fuck!), I knew that it was time for a change.