Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Reflection #39/40

Well before I went to college I knew that I was going to major in English. Not because of any solid career plan, of course, but because I really liked English.

Like my mother before me, I went to Transylvania University. People in Ohio always say, “Oh yeah, that’s in Pennsylvania, right?” It’s not. It’s in Lexington, Kentucky. For the first couple of years of my college career, I worried that I had made the wrong choice. Was Transy really the right school for me? But it turns out that it was, because I met
 Alice there, and that’s where I made most of my best friends.

I also learned stuff. In one of the introductory lit classes we read “A Rose for Emily,” and while we were talking about it, something clicked in my brain, and I really got it, the connection between form and content, and I could visualize the text as a complex web of meaning. In that moment, I truly became an English major.

I took way more English classes than were strictly necessary. I had enough credits for both a major and a minor in English, if such a thing were possible. Romanticism, 17th Century Lit, Metafiction, Genre Movies, Demystifying Faulkner, African Fiction, Detective Fiction, Creative Writing (Fiction), Creative Writing (Poetry) . . . I hated writing papers but I loved those classes.

The first friend I made at Transy was Jason C.
, and through him his roommate Chris, and soon afterwards Skaught, the tidiest Discordian of all time; Steve C., who I would later share an apartment with; Steve Johnson, my lifelong collaborator and fellow creator of unmarketable ideas; Ryan, who bought more comics every week than I did; Jason W., always calm in a crisis; Stacy, who I could talk to for hours on any subject; Ray . . . the list goes on and on. In particular I should mention that Ray was the one who encouraged me to get back together with Alice after the two of us broke up that one time, so my children literally owe their lives to their Uncle Ray.

By the end of my college career I was sick of writing papers and wanted a break, but I also feared change, so graduation was an odd time for me. The night before graduation I sat there, alone, in the Hazelrigg basement computer lab, wondering how it could all possibly be over.

After graduation, I knew I would see Steve and Skaught and Ray and Stacy and all of those folks soon enough, probably within the week. But there were so many other people I didn’t know if I would ever see again. That’s what’s so hard to process, to have people around who are a part of your daily life, and then one day they aren’t. It’s like your TV show has been cancelled, and your story will continue in a new series with a new setting and a different supporting cast.

The day came and we graduated. Before I went back to the dorm to carry my stuff down to the car, I said my good-byes. My last was to Kim W., star of the English department and all around good person, and it suddenly struck me that I might never see her again. It was a disturbing thought.

And I was right; I never saw Kim again in person. At least now there’s Facebook, and I can click “Like” on the pictures of her kids.

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