Columns / Discourse / May 16, 2012

Knox seniors face future, death

Hey there, seniors, can you believe they actually want us to leave now? Just yesterday we were thinking, “Graduate? No way. I’ll worry about that tomorrow.” Well, guess what. A day passed. Today is tomorrow. Guess what else? After today, there’s an endless supply of tomorrows! Well, not quite endless. As everyone knows, we’re all going to die.

Gosh, it seems like just yesterday that we were four years further away from death. The year was 2008. Steve Jobs was on a mission to discover the very first iPad. The economy was making everyone sad and angry. America was electing its first black scapegoat into the White House. We seniors were but freshmen, and the freshmen some of us like to make out with now were well underage. It was a simpler time, an easier time. Hundreds fewer people were alive and headed toward inevitable death.

Don’t fret; you’ve got some life left to look forward to. The best four years of your lives may be over, but your student-loan debt will last forever. Be proud, you are Knox! Your diploma entitles you to listen to people of all ages hilariously ask you for the hundredth time if you went to the “School of Hard Knox, get it?”

It’s time to compete in what people like to call “The Real World,” or what others like to call “Survivor”, except in this version there are no camera crews to save you from starving to death. People will find it odd if you smile at strangers you pass on the sidewalk. Out there, smiling is code for “mug me.” In Real Survivor World, the only “theme” parties they have are funerals — everybody wears black and cries. My advice: move to a state with a high minimum wage, get a large dog and train it to kill on sight.

But that’s not all. You went to Knox. Not any Knox, but Knox College, the Harvard of southwestern Illinois, or at least Knox County. It’s not going to be enough to just survive in Real Survivor World, you’re going to have change it as well. If you’re reading this, you’re probably just one person. But imagine all the people who are graduating from Knox this year. Several hundred at least. And God knows that when several hundred people try to make changes in this country, they’re always effective! Just look at Congress!

My fellow soon-to-be-Knox-graduates, it’s time to change the world. We are what that whiney John Mayer song has been waiting for. Let’s solve global hunger by allowing starving orphans to borrow guest meals! Let’s give liberty to Chinese workers by organizing an international Flunk Day! Let’s put an end to bipartisanship by convincing everyone to be as liberal as possible! Then let’s come back to our 50-year reunion (it’ll be here faster than you think!), breathe in that good old Knox air, reflect on our successes (and failures!), make out with one last freshman and then drop dead.

Ben Lee

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