[I wrote this little open letter for a pretend-publication called Contraband that some of my friends put together this year. Enjoy.]
“What’s up man? Hey, you’re graduating and leaving forever? That’s cool bro! Later!”
I know that’s a sort of nasty way to tell you “good luck,” especially when you just waved hello and asked if you could chill with me in the coffee shop. But you know, fuck it, and fuck you graduating seniors, because it's the truth. In just days you’re going out into the world to lead your meaningful lives that I probably won’t be a part of. It’s cool, I’ll be here in Spokane finishing my degree, feeling lost and wondering why I wake up in the mornings. Who am I going to go drinking and second-hand smoking with now on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings? How am I supposed to get into the Empyrean for free anymore when Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful doesn’t open for every show? What will happen to my self-esteem when the girls refusing to date me aren’t a solid year older than I am? When I take Core 350 this fall, who will be around to tell me how much worse Core 450 is going to be? “Who am I supposed to build ramps for! Who am I supposed to build ramps for now!”
Seriously though, I’m actually sad you’re leaving. You’re a special class. And while I don’t mean that as a short-bus joke, I also don’t just mean, “Aren’t you special like everyone else.” I mean it. My class is great too and all, but we lack the tight-knit coherence yours seems to have. There’s an elusive coolness in your class’s solidarity that will just evaporate from Whitworth’s campus when you all leave, and I’ll miss you a lot. I’m sure I’ll be a prodigious crybaby when it really hits me.
But don’t let that go to your head, asshole. Do you really think just because you’re a year older than I am there’s anything you can do that I can’t? I endured the awful karaoke band just like you to spend Monday nights at the Bigfoot. I read The Brothers Karamazov too, before you did. I ate at both Senior dinners this year, and they were delicious. You know that one girl you all hooked up with in BJ your freshman year and now gossip about all the time? Well...I hooked up with her too, even though I’m not really sure who the hell she is. I wedged my name into the lineup for your Senior farewell show. I wrote for the underground campus magazine your class invented as a senioritis outlet. I sneaked onto the Senior booze cruise, and nobody noticed because you were all very drunk. I even gave money for your senior gift. Oops.
But you do get to graduate (most of you, anyway), and I don’t. So with the shock of realizing that 2/3 of my friends are leaving in a matter of days (so, we’re talking, like, four people, but still…) I’m also noticing that somehow in the last three years I managed not to meet basically anyone at Whitworth who’s younger than I am. Shit. Well, I could take this opportunity to applaud your class for befriending a lousy underclassman like me, or to reevaluate my own failure to invest any of my energy in younger Whitworthians; but I’d rather stay mad at you for leaving.
So here I stand in the twilight of the waning idols, wallowing around the spiritually empty hole of my new found class standing, trying my best to sputter a sendoff—maybe on behalf of my own class, or maybe just in a halfhearted, too late effort at self assertion—to a group that always impressed and sort of intimidated me. Either way, there are a few more things you should know about me before you’re out of here for good, so here are the rest of my junior confessions:
Since coming to Whitworth, I’ve tricked all sorts of awesome people into being my friend on the pretense that I am a cool person too. If you’d known me in high school, you would recognize the trick right away. But I think I had you guys going. Ha! Just ask any of my close friends though; they’ll sell me out in a second.
The last song I played when I opened that show on Sunday was about you, but you didn’t show up to listen even though I sent you my mass-text. So shove it.
Visualize the piece of writing you did in college of which you are most proud. Now visualize me writing the same thing, only better, because I won a $500 writing award for it, because I did that three times.
Remember that time you were working in the library and your computer just shut down without warning because someone unplugged the surge protector? Well that wasn’t me. It was Nic Vargus, the humor columnist who made you laugh every week at the same Jonas Brothers joke as the week before.
I don’t really have enemies, and I like basically everyone I meet at Whitworth. So if I was ever a douchebag to you—like by making fun of you so you will know I am just as cool and smart as you, or by writing a Contraband farewell article about how I am just as cool and smart as you, or by ratting out Nic as a joke in said article—that’s something I’d like to blame on social ineptitude. I promise I don’t mean to be such an asshole. I am very tactless. Also I’m sorry.
For all we bitch and complain about it, Whitworth is a pretty amazing place to be an 18-22 year old. And I think when you’re gone, even though it will be missing a big part of what made being here so great, I will still love it. So that’s why I’m staying. You will be missed, though. No joke.