I want to have a vodka tasting party and force everyone to dress up in furs. There would be no smiling allowed.
I opened up a Word document that I saved at 5:10 on the morning of August 8th, and this is all that I found.
It wasn’t a disappointment.
My college education is the best gift anyone has ever given me. My parents saved the money to send my brother and me to college since the day we were born. My parents planned every second of their financial lives to give my brother and me an outrageously generous opportunity. I get how people can throw tons of hate on me for that, especially as more and more students graduate from college with debilitating debt.
But here’s what my parents didn’t do. They never taught us to believe that they wanted us to go to college because we deserved it. They taught us to believe that they wanted us to go to college because everyone deserved it. It drove me to want to give that opportunity, in whatever way I could, to other people, which is the main reason I spent two years working as an AmeriCorps member with a pre-college program.
Seeing someone sacrifice like that for you builds a pretty strong bond and some pretty significant respect. It made me trust them completely and helped build a parental relationship that I would never trade with anyone. They made sure we understood what our privilege meant, and that many people didn’t have it, which I’ve grown up to realize is a much rarer lesson than it should be. My parents never taught us to expect anything in return for our education. They emphasized that if we wasted our opportunities, if we took advantage of what we had, it was on us. They made us feel a sense of obligation to deserve the opportunity they’d given us - not the other way around.
I’m sure there are kids whose parents have paid for their educations who are straight up ungrateful pieces of shit. I’m sure there are kids who expect that because of the opportunity their parents gave them, they’ll shit rainbows their whole life. But I’m not those people.
Two days before Steve Jobs died, I was asked to submit a bio for myself to my new employer so they could put it in an inter-office newsletter. I hate writing bios for myself, because I inherently love to make myself sound like I’m the best person I know. I try to steer clear of activities that encourage this awful habit. Instead, I try to make fun of myself.
I wrote a bio for Steve Jobs but replaced his name with my name. I work at an advertising agency as a copy/content writer, so I thought I’d pretty much hit the nail on the head. I patted myself on the back for being clever for I don’t know, about two days.
It ended up being one of the most insensitive things I’ve ever done.
I started thinking about this after reading Erin’s post about how weird it is to have to write your own bio. It is awful. Once I start thinking about embarrassing things I’ve done, I cannot stop. I keep going back into my email archives and reading the bio over and over and wincing. I become virtually paralyzed by my own awkwardness, so I’m just going to let this out into the world so you guys can imagine what it must have been like to be my employer, realizing you just hired a complete asshole.
Limbs – I’m going out on one. I spent the entire summer after my graduation from college reading Eat, Pray, Love. I spent a month between India and Bali, mustering up the stomach to finish it. Please understand first that there were parts of this book that I found genuinely enjoyable. Please also understand that this book is so far from my experience – I’ve never been married, I’ve never been in love (by my own estimation), and I’ve never been in any sort of relationship that fueled anything other than resentment or ambivalence. I spent my entire four years of college “soul-searching” and most of the time since learning to be myself by myself, which I now understand is something many women don’t feel they are allowed to do. I went to Italy by myself and just kind of did the damn thing. I suppose that is why I don’t really understand the need to force one’s self to do this, and after experiencing this story as both a book and a movie, I realize how lucky that makes me. I’ve read many reviews and testimonials about this book and the way women have experienced it, but there is one thing I’ve never seen written about it. This is a story about a woman who is profoundly unable to be alone.
First, I am happy for the men and women who have fought so hard for the past ten years to make sure this day would come. I hope Osama bin Laden’s death means that they are steps closer to being brought home to their families for good, although I have lived in a nation at war long enough to be skeptical. I am happy that President Obama is able to announce this news, because he needs the confidence and the power it will bring him in the eyes of the American people. I am happy for the families of the victims of 9/11, who possibly feel a greater sense of closure with a little less evil in the world. I understand that many people see this death as a victory, but I have a hard time understanding how, as a nation now embroiled in three wars, we are victorious. Saddam Hussein was put to death nearly five years ago. We are still fighting in Iraq.
Osama bin Laden was one man. There are nations of people who hate Americans. He is a symbol of something deplorable that happened to Americans, but he is not the only man who unnecessarily harms his fellow men. His death is symbolic to the United States because it provides a sense of closure, especially to those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks, but I worry that in our polarized political climate, many of us have gotten carried away with symbols. We burn Korans and outlaw the practicing of the Muslim faith because many members of al-Qaeda are Muslim. We accuse our first biracial president of being Muslim as if it is a dirty word, because he looks different, and we cannot understand that he could be so similar to us. We are focused on revenge and on who will pay for what has been done to us – both emotionally, in our wars abroad, and economically, as we determine who will “pay” for our recession.