Thursday, May 24, 2001

No Title 3

These are the days. Nostalgia. Today has been nostalgic. What it is about yesterday? It always seems to have a glow that today just doesn't-and it stays so by and by. I was better looking. I ran faster. I was funnier. I was more interesting. Today, frankly, I'm not.

Last week I trucked to Kansas for to teach a customer the features in SQL Server 2000, a fantastic database by Microsoft. Nonetheless, the lady was older than I was. In fact, she had two sons my age. I wonder: is what was going through her head anything like what is constantly going through mine?

Things like, "You know they'll find out soon you're faking how clever you are" and "You're passing your prime for this industry" and "You can feel it; you're not keeping up with the changes." They're plagues convincing me that I'm losing my edge as I get older and older. Sure, I'm 27 and that's not so old, but it used to be, when I was 21.

Let's think about when I was 21-the year 27 was ancient. It was my senior year in college, 1995. I had just met Kyndall for the first time and was expending loads of energy to convince her how far better a choice I was than her ex-boyfriend. I was starting to feel the panic of real-life after graduation. I was addicted to X-Files.

Man, I was bold. Speeding. Why did I speed so much? Arguing. What was with me? I had to defend the finest minutia. Ego. Where did it come from? I felt unstoppable. Pimples. Stinkin' pimples. Sheesh, how old would I need to be before those blasted things would leave me alone?

Yeah. When I was 21. It was a very good year. It was a very good year for seniors in school, and breaking the rules. I got a brand new pc. I learned to use FTP.

School was great because we were all together. Down the hall was Jason. Upstairs were Paul and Dave. I lived with Mike; he ran the newspaper and I was the political cartoonist. What a hay day. Everyone loved to hate my cartoons as I shamelessly berated my victims. Ah, what a year. We'd all walk to dinner together.

Our college president had changed, a most traumatic experience. All the ivy on Jewell hall seemed to die overnight. The fraternity houses were ramping up their new dens off campus. It seemed so tragic.

But there was still Frisbee. The harder you threw it, the more likely I could catch it. Security had a pickle trying to keep us off the quad, but the disks kept flying. I felt like the king. Students walking by to class as I caught a 30-yard pass behind my back. Girls leaving the library as I launched one under my leg. It was awesome.

Then it stopped. It was sudden. People began to vanish. I had never heard the word "resume" so often. Why was everyone interviewing for jobs but me? Should I go to graduate school? Can I defer my loans? Where am I going to live? What am I going to drive? Was I employable? Would people hire me if they found out I didn't get a 4.0? I was doomed.

But Doom was part of the fun. ID Software, Inc. had just released the most successful first-person network game of all time. Naturally, we had a pirated version. Null serial cables draped through the halls trying to get two computers to connect. Let the fragging begin. Doom would consume most of our nights, and lots of our days.

Seminary? Mike's going to seminary? Steve, too? Sheesh, I could do that. The Peace Corp? Sure, that sounds like it could be fun. Missionary? Uh, yeah, I suppose I might be able to do that. Grad. School? What's an MBA? An internship? No, I just don't know.

Then the gown. The diploma. Then what? Wow, I was lost. I moved in with grandpa - just wasting time. He didn't care; he liked the company.

Then, it happened. June 29, 1995. I turned 22. I could hardly believe it. 22. Kyndall tried to make it special. Oh, it was. The fact: I turned old. Age 21 was cute, but 22? Pathetic. Speeding at 22? Hoodlum. Frisbee? Frivolous.

Bring on the work. Bring on the stress. Next the friends: Marry 'em off. Move 'em away. Minimize the communications. Sterilize the conversations. It's time to grow up.

Wholly smokes! I turn 28 in a month! I save for retirement. I'm going to be a father! I can remember the lyrics to Thriller! Time and tide wait for now man.

Sure some people look and me and sigh. They see me as young because they think of themselves as old. Lately, I catch myself sighing a whole awful lot.

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