From the Loser
By Tim Drugan-Eppich
If I don’t have a breakdown of some sort at least once a week, I begin to fret as to whether or not I am getting the correct amount of vitamins, minerals, or celery. Everyone has their own calibration that lets them know they are in equilibrium and that all is well with their mental capacity. For me, losing my mind is how I know I’m doing alright.
I have a weekly tradition of questioning everything I do to the point of becoming overwhelmingly distraught, believing that I am wasting my life and the talent I have yet to find. You would think that since this is such a frequent occurrence, I would get used to it. But every single time I have such thoughts, I am astonished at how seductive my horrible ideas are. In the moment, following my gut and taking a new path seems like the best course of action, one that would be a life-changing endeavor. Only after I stop and think for a moment do I realize that it would be life changing in the same way that gaining 75 pounds from cheeseburgers is life changing … not life changing in a good way.
I may be confusing you, so let me elaborate. In fact, I’ll give you a couple of examples.
As recently as the second day of the semester I came terribly close to dropping out of school. This is not the first time the idea has maneuvered itself into the spotlight of my consciousness, but probably one of its best performances. Along with presenting a stronger argument, this idea seems to be finding more and more opportunities to push into my psyche. I just worry about how much longer I can stave off its alluring glow.
I must give myself credit where credit is due. The fact is that I am at least getting closer to reasonableness in my inner debate. The first time I considered dropping out of school was when I was at Emerson College in Boston. I was convinced that upon dropping out, what awaited me was instant fame in the stand-up circuit, a doting and gorgeous girlfriend, and six pack abs. Why six pack abs? Because while I’m fantasizing, might as well wish for the impossible.
It didn’t take too long to realize that I don’t have the mental toughness to work a restaurant job during the day and hustle around long hours from stand-up show to stand-up show. All just to barely make rent, have nobody listen to me say unfunny things and fall desperately behind on sleep. So I did what anyone else in my position would do. I quit everything and moved home to bum off my parents. Grown up life is hard and it can wait.
Yet, halfway through the fall semester there was that little voice again. The great call of adventure echoing through the plentiful empty space in my head. Are you experiencing life here? Why are you doing this stupid school thing? Education is overrated! Time to go to Thailand and just chill for a while. Yes, I hate to admit it, but that was my solution. I would just “go hang out for a bit.” Having exactly no money didn’t play a role in my vision; I was convinced my good looks would pay my way. Then I looked in the mirror and stayed in school.
So this time, I surprised myself by coming up with a more reasonable argument. This time it was “wwoofing,” or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Yup, I was going to farm. How would I pay to get to the farm? I would walk, because rational thought is for dummies. I gave myself six hours to bask in this fantasy. Six hours until I told my dad the plan, and saw his face change, reacting perfectly to the stupidity and overconfidence that was flowing so freely from my dumb mouth. Just moments before I had a watertight plan and then, just a few simple questions: What are you going to eat? How are you going to travel? Where are you going to sleep? My dream deflated faster than a fart cushion underneath a fat guy. I spent the next day running around, trying to add classes to make up for the ones I had dropped, doing my best to get my life moving towards a goal once again.
But here’s the thing. I haven’t really given up on my dreams; they’re just on hold for a bit. No matter how hard I try to pay attention in class, I’m spending my time daydreaming of the adventures to be had. And the minute I get enough money? I’m taking off. Because I want to have adventures. Stuff means nothing to me, but a plane ticket? That’s golden. I just hope, for the sake of my parents’ sanity, it happens after I graduate.
Tim Drugan-Eppich is a junior majoring in English.