Saturday, July 16, 2005


I dreamed of leaving today.
“What if I moved back to the east coast?” trilled in my mind.
Somewhere new, where nobody knows you.
Escaping a life which is becoming as convoluted and airless as the last.
If only I could keep running away from the people I adore perhaps I might live happily, alone. You know that old wives tale about cats sucking the life out of babies?

That’s kind of how I imagined love would be, if I ever saw it.

Like a giant, 2-hundred lb tabby cat sitting on your chest drawing your breath out of you ‘til you’re left blue, eyes staring straight up to the ceiling, at nothing.

I sat on a wooden bench and enjoyed being outside in the warmth.

Blue skies, honeyed-gold light, California’s grizzly bears extinct since 1922.

I watched the student orientation groups ebb and flow around me, a swirl of the sweet nectar of youth, fresh out of high school nothing but a bright future ahead of them. It makes me happy for some strange reason.

Each year approximately 5,500 bachelor’s degrees are awarded by the University of California, Berkeley. CalSO is our first arrival into the Berkeley lecture halls as students of the University. From that very first day until the last degree is awarded at our commencement ceremonies, we are told that we are going to achieve Great Things. Among us we have Nobel laureates, McArthur fellows, Fulbright scholars. Robert McNamara, Timothy Leary, the President of Costa Rica, and Judge Ito from the O.J. Simpson trial, all within the ranks of our austere predecessors. The worst that can happen to us is infamy which is, of course, far superior to the nameless anonymity that befalls alumnus of lesser schools.

Our faces shinning with the light of admittance into this exclusive club, and the glow of our completion of the four (or two) years of hazing, and the satisfying industriousness of the time in between and we never pause to do the math. Even allowing for an exponential increase in enrollment since 1873, that’s a lot of Great Things that should have been accomplished. It doesn’t add up. The only way it makes sense is that maybe some of us are destined for Mediocre Things, Pretty Okay Things, Won’t Change The World Things.

Maybe that’s why these tides of reincarnated Golden Bears make me happy.

Like having the losing lottery ticket but the drawing hasn’t taken place yet.


T.Q. said...

Yeah. And that's not even mentioning the make-work degrees like Art or Area Studies.

Feralnerd said...

That was a goddamn amazing entry.


Ann Thrope said...

Hi Rick,

Thank you for your generous donation to the Keep Eleanore Blogging Fund (KEBF) With your gift of just a mere 3 cents a day you can feel the warm fuzzies of knowing that you have personally contributed to keeping little Ego here fed and warmly clothed and shod in affirmation.

Seriously though, thanks :) I appreciate your kind comment.