Jun 292010
 


I think about this song a lot.

I have a good life, and I don’t want to ever give the impression that I do not. I have a wonderful son, a wonderful other half, a home, and a good job. I act on a fairly regular basis, and I’m moderately active in social networking circles. I’ve got it pretty good.

I am, however, acutely aware of the missed opportunities in my life. Two things, in particular. I am aware of how much damage I did to my body by not making the conscious choice to be healthy until my late twenties, and of how I pissed away the opportunity to actually go to college full time. More so than my weight, the fact that I did not take my education seriously until it was far too late for me to devote all of my energy to it is a constant source of shame and sadness for me.

I had a taste of what is described in this song. One small, fleeting moment in my life that I can still remember vividly to this day. Six months that I absolutely pissed away and which I describe as being miserably lonely, and yet I can recall countless moments from that time period that still make me smile to this day.

Such as…

The first day of orientation and how excited and nervous I was. Sitting in the Student Hall surrounded by other students like myself and feeling all of that energy in the room.

Sharing a cigarette with my English professor on the steps of the building our class was in and realizing that we were sitting right next to the spot where George Wallace protested the integration of the University of Alabama.

The first time I went to the gamers meeting and realizing that I wasn’t the only geek on campus.

Seeing comedian Henry Cho at the campus nightclub, and how he was having so much fun just telling us stories about his college days that he went about an hour over when he was supposed to finish.

Spending my Sundays with old family friends at their home outside of Tuscaloosa watching the Buccaneers play.

The absolute stunning beauty of the campus at the University of Alabama.

The parade of honking cars that snaked all over campus the night we beat the Auburn.

Hanging out with my Hall Monitor and thinking that the math he was studying was something I’d never even come close to comprehending.

Watching Twin Peaks in the basement of Mann Hall, the residence hall on campus that didn’t have monitors because you basically had to be a MENSA member to get in. As a result it was the place where you could score the best drugs and there was ALWAYS some kind of party going on.

I could go on, but I need to get ready to go to work and as much as I am enjoying this trip down memory lane there’s nothing I can do to get these experiences back. That’s why this song makes me sad. If I had simply done the bare minimum…just put out SOME kind of effort…I could have had four or more years to build these kind of memories. I am, alas, stuck with a mere six months.

More than some people get for sure, but not nearly enough by far.

The List

30 Day Music Meme
day 01 – your favorite song
day 02 – your least favorite song
day 03 – a song that makes you happy
day 04 – a song that makes you sad

day 05 – a song that reminds you of someone
day 06 – a song that reminds of you of somewhere
day 07 – a song that reminds you of a certain event
day 08 – a song that you know all the words to
day 09 – a song that you can dance to
day 10 – a song that makes you fall asleep
day 11 – a song from your favorite band
day 12 – a song from a band you hate
day 13 – a song that is a guilty pleasure
day 14 – a song that no one would expect you to love
day 15 – a song that describes you
day 16 – a song that you used to love but now hate
day 17 – a song that you hear often on the radio
day 18 – a song that you wish you heard on the radio
day 19 – a song from your favorite album
day 20 – a song that you listen to when you’re angry
day 21 – a song that you listen to when you’re happy
day 22 – a song that you listen to when you’re sad
day 23 – a song that you want to play at your wedding
day 24 – a song that you want to play at your funeral
day 25 – a song that makes you laugh
day 26 – a song that you can play on an instrument
day 27 – a song that you wish you could play
day 28 – a song that makes you feel guilty
day 29 – a song from your childhood
day 30 – your favorite song at this time last year

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  One Response to “30 Days Of Music: Day 4 – A song that makes you sad”

  1. (Warning–this turned out super long, so I am going to post this in my own LJ too)

    There will always be things you regret during your college years, Mike. I actually regret never joining a sorority and/or living on campus. I didn’t realize until my final semester when I hung out with people from school who were living on campus and in sororities that I was indeed missing something. I thought I was “too cool” for that, but I think I missed a lot by feeling that way.

    I regret wasting all of that time with Aaron. I would have had much more fun in college without him. Craig too, that was more time wasted and things missed. I don’t miss dating them…and I think that’s largely a defense because I did spend a lot of time with them, but I regret that I spent so much time trying to please them and not enjoying the college experience like I should have.

    So you spent that time living in a dorm and immersing yourself in those people if only for a short while. That was more time than I ever did. At least you have that. I know you don’t seem like it’s much, but I am glad you got to enjoy at least a bit of it.

    And the fact that you have spent so much time in college has allowed you to graduate with honors. Again, I didn’t get to do that either, as I had damaged my GPA at SPJC and that counted towards my overall at USF. It brought it all down–if I was able to keep those GPAs separate I would have graduated with honors–or at least closer to it than I have ever been in my life. I think I got maybe 1 C at USF? But, I really struggled with math a lot at JC, so I don’t think I could have done any better with that part of it.

    There are many, many things I DON’T miss at all about college. I don’t miss the all nighters one bit. I don’t miss busting my ass studying and reading Henry Miller and a bunch of other white guys. I don’t miss coming up with utter bullshit in order to write an essay. You could write an essay on *anything* and as long as you argued it well, you’d get an A. That’s not the way the world works.

    I do miss the cool classes I took–Witchcraft and Paganism and the Bible as Literature in the same semester, Women’s Lit, Folklore, Greek Mythology and visual art. I was encouraged to go on and get a Masters in visual art (even though I can’t draw for crap–I can put things together well), but I was so burned out and in debt that I decided against it. I am flattered that I had offers from my profs to write letters of recommendation, but not particularly sorry I didn’t do it.

    Visual art was an expensive class–I mean you have books for other classes, but that was all in the beginning–in art you are constantly buying materials throughout the semester.

    On the day I graduated from USF, I flipped out and cried all day because my safety net was gone and I had to go into the real world. My roommates came home that day all excited for me and were rather surprised to find me alone and sobbing rather than drunk and happy. And I was still delivering pizza for a while after college too, because it was hard to find a job.

    When I got laid off, there were many, many days I was home watching TV and see those “Do you want to make more money–go to college!” commercials on TV. I would get so angry at those commercials because they are a load of shit.

    College *is* why I am employed in such a good job now, and I am not sorry at all I turned down offers of promotion at Sound Advice. If I were to take a promotion, I would have had to work full time, and I knew damn well I didn’t want to sell stereos for the rest of my life. I do wish I didn’t have to sit at a desk so much, as I love my job even more when I am walking around talking to people all day. I feel like I am truly in my element then and notsomuch when I am in the office. So maybe figuring that out earlier and majoring in something else like nursing may have been better for me. But I don’t think I could have done that either.

    With that said Mike–I envy that you have been able to get as far as you have without college, much less a degree. I don’t think I could have done that–I didn’t/don’t have the ability to do that on my own. I don’t have any profitable gifts like you do. I am not saying that to fish for compliments, I know I have some gifts, but they don’t make a living. I was fully aware of that back then too.

    I went in the direction I did because I knew what my capabilities were. I went to SPJC and not “regular” college because 1) I really suck at standardized tests—like a lot. I fail tests when I DO know the material. I have a reading problem when I am up against the clock. As a matter of fact, my reading skills are pretty bad. I have a hard time with comprehension and I really have to read everything more than once to understand what I am reading. 2) I knew damn well I didn’t have the self control to go off to college and be unsupervised. I knew I’d drink and party and I knew I’d flunk right out if I went away.

    I would say that maybe you should have known that about yourself, but having known you back then, I don’t see how you wouldn’t have been aware of that. While you did some partying in high school, you didn’t do THAT much. You probably didn’t think you would make as many friends as you did, and you probably didn’t think you would fit in as much. I did more than my share of drinking and skipping class in high school and so I knew that without someone to answer to it would have been much worse for me. I don’t think you had much of an idea that you would have those opportunities.

    You may think you messed up that way, but I don’t think you did. You realized you could be a part of a community of friends and you found a good part of yourself. You met the mother of your son when you moved back to Florida—I don’t think you would have moved to Lake Wales if you didn’t leave St. Pete. For all that’s worth, you have Alex—and that’s worth everything. You are now the person who holds your close-knit friends together. You are the one with the open house on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. You have the place people come to when bad things happen. When that does happen, I know you say “we shouldn’t wait for ____ to happen to get together,” you say that every time. And you are right, but you know life gets in the way. It sucks, but it’s true.

    You also wouldn’t have lost the weight if your self esteem didn’t come up to the level it’s at now. I know going to Alabama didn’t do that, but it was a major stepping stone for you. You would have never left, and you wouldn’t have had Alex, and you wouldn’t have lost the weight. I’ve seen you do diet after diet, and I’ve seen you go up and down. You needed the self-boost to lose it for good. I don’t know if you remember, but when Chris Farley died I went over to your apartment and told you I was scared you’d wind up dead like him at 35. Granted, he took a lot of drugs too, but his weight was deadly anyway. You don’t see many old overweight people running around for a reason.

    You needed a reason to get healthy—it took many years after Alabama, but it was the first step in your path to get where you are now.

    I am not going to tell you that you shouldn’t regret the mistakes you have made that led you to not finish college, because I know that won’t change those feelings anyway. But you have the gifts and talents that have allowed you to live without it.

    For what it’s worth, I keep my degree in a Madonna coffee table book that’s packed away in a box somewhere. Yes, it’s given me my own opportunities, but I never felt the need to frame and display it, and I don’t feel like I ever will. But I needed it. Not everyone does, and you are smart enough to be one of those people.

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