I don't wring my hands in fits of anxiety too often. I'm even-tempered, as far as my Irish blood will allow. But two things have my constitution in a nervous twist this summer: a repetitive-stress injury from too much typing, and my impending (and wholly voluntary) self-sacrifice at the temple of higher education.
I will take my first university classes this fall, an activity I've been anticipating since my drug-addled and painfully naïve youth. I used to wander the hallowed and tree-lined lanes of the university campus, lost in the romance of academia, frozen in the mysterious airs of autumn. Now I cringe when I see the campus skyline, and imagine myself trying to slit my wrists with a dull pencil the night before a midterm. It won't be long, I tell myself, before I am led to my slaughter - like a quivering lamb - into the drooling maw of indifference.
Ouch! And it hurts to type. Not every word, mind you. But after a while it does. My career aspirations now shy away from technology, taking with them fantasies of lofty condos near water and cars that run on attitude. Those who can't do teach, but those who teach can't afford groceries.
Maybe it won't be all that bad. Maybe the eager light within my eyes won't be extinguished so soon by soul-sucking professors and under-slept TAs on crystal meth. Maybe I won't cry myself to sleep every night to the echoing sound of laughter coming from smarter and younger classmates. Maybe I'll find a way to embrace technology without losing the use of my thumbs. Maybe I can find a way to put my degree to use without chaining my foot to a cubicle.
Maybe I'll actually do well. It's not entirely out of the question, but I don the cape of demonspawn now in anticipation of my turn at the wheel of casual dismemberment. Less experienced students that come after me will suffer, too. What doesn't kill us makes us much less likely to resist the dark side. If you can't hear the ripping of flesh from bone and the blood-drowned screams for help, you're in the wrong lab.
I want nothing more than to work at NASA someday. That would be pretty sweet. If I'm existentially eviscerated before my tenure as student comes to an end, I'll reassure myself that the U.S. government always needs janitors... who can't type.