By my calculations, I’ve written something like 25 columns for this newspaper over the course of the past school year. I figure it takes the average reader about five minutes to read one of my columns. I figure roughly 5,000 students read each column. Basic math says 25 columns x 5 minutes x 5,000 students = 625,000 minutes of time that I’ve stolen from you. I’m a thief. Thanks for not pressing charges. If you change your minds and decide to take me to court, then I’ll probably be arrested and executed by a firing squad.
I don’t want to be executed by a firing squad. I want to exit UCSB peacefully. This is my last column for the Nexus, and I’d like to leave a memorable impression on the student body. Unfortunately, I’ve never been very good at saying goodbye.
When the time came for me to pack up my bags and head on down to college, I didn’t know what to say to my folks. I ultimately decided that it was probably best not to say anything at all. So in the middle of the night, I snuck out of my room and hitchhiked to school. I completely forgot about my parents, until a few days ago, when I saw my picture on one of those “MISSING” fliers that occasionally shows up unwanted in the mailbox.
Don’t worry, Mom and Dad. I didn’t get kidnapped. I enrolled in college. College is pretty weird. It’s sort of like a giant summer camp for quasi-adults. The counselors are old professors who do some cool research and write some dubiously useful journal articles. Their classes can be fairly helpful, but the real education comes from interacting with peers and enjoying new experiences.
UCSB is a very interesting place. One day you can be sitting in a huge lecture hall, listening to a Nobel laureate do his thing. The next day you can be drunk in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park, listening to a belligerent hobo spout incoherent freestyle raps while you nod your head and feign encouragement.
I’ve gotten to know this place pretty well. I’ve seen its best and its worst, but it wasn’t long ago that I was just another helpless incoming freshman. I was like a clueless little baby about to be delivered from its mother’s nurturing womb into the harsh realities of the real world. I thought college would be like it is on TV. I expected naked people to be running around, lighting things on fire while ingesting huge amounts of liquor. Crazy. That’s pretty much exactly what college turned out to be.
In fact, as I’m writing this right now, I’m also looking outside my window. There are a few naked people out there, grunting like gorillas while they drink cheap vodka and perform backflips over a flaming couch. Thanks to my education in physics, I can accurately describe the rate at which their jiggly parts are flopping: fast.
Fast will be the pace for the next few weeks. Finals will come and go. Graduation will arrive. I’ll collect my diploma. Then I’ll pose for a few token photos in an overpriced cap and gown. Then I’ll shake hands with some people and share some deeply sentimental moments. After all that stuff is over, I’ll get in my car and hit the road.
I have big plans for my future. Some day, I’m going to fly around the world in a giant igloo with my own specially trained army of polar bears. This is my ultimate goal. Before I can achieve it, I have to make millions and trillions of dollars. It’s going to be tough, but I think UCSB has equipped me with the necessary tools to succeed.
And if I somehow manage to fail, then at least I know that I can always come back to Isla Vista. Maybe someday you’ll see me in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park. I’ll be the drunken hobo spouting incoherent rhymes as horrified undergrads run for cover. I won’t be offended if you choose to ignore me. I’ve already stolen enough of your time, but I do want you to listen to this one last bit of advice: Do your thang.
Nexus Columnist Nick Pasto will win the UCSB humanitarian award for his promotion of the arts, namely hobo hip hop.