In the memorial service (for the victims of the deadly tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri), Mr. Obama praised the courage and sacrifice of pizza shop manager Christopher Lucas, a father of two, who ushered everyone into the freezer room as the tornado approached.
The freezer door wouldn’t close from the inside, so Mr. Lucas found some rope and closed it from the outside.
“Tying a piece of bungee cord to the handle outside, wrapping the other end around his arm, holding the door closed with all his might,” Mr. Obama said. “And Christopher held it as long as he could, until he was pulled away by the incredible force of the storm.
“He died saving more than a dozen people in that freezer,” he said. “There are heroes all around us all the time.”
My mother always had this saying, “When life gives you lemons, eat them.” (Not really.) So when I’m feeling down, I visit my friend Ronald, who offers warmth and love in the form of golden, crispy french fries, USDA certified beef-like products, and enough sodium to dry up the Red Sea. Although this form of therapy may in fact be considered an eating disorder, everybody seems to have praised that weird dude who ate 25,000 Big Macs the other day.
Consuming thousands of Big Macs is bound to create more problems rather than solve any current problems, the same can be said about to most other vices, such as drinking or gambling.
It was an interesting coincidence, when on the way back from my latest trek to the Golden Arches, a man stopped me. I don’t think he was drunk or high and I couldn’t really tell whether he was homeless or not. He was likely in his 30s, ambiguously ethnic, wearing an over sized striped polo and a baseball cap. Closing his hands together, he started off by profusely apologizing for any potential offense I may take. He was walking toward the hospital (yes - the closest McDonalds near me is a 24 hour location inside of a Children’s Hospital.) and he explained how his sister had called him a few hours ago, his niece wasn’t doing too well, he was new to the area and didn’t know anybody and needed $2.75 to get to North Philly to be with his family. The guy was on the verge of tears. Alligator or otherwise, he did a convincing job of looking distraught. He spoke quickly, continually apologizing and literally was begging for help.
(Note: this is not an actual rap, more like an really long extended rant.)
Since judgement day is upon us, I may as well confess something. I kind of wanted to be a writer, you know, before the apocalypse and all.
It’s cliche to aspire to be a writer, the stereotype of a pretentious, delusional hipster is just dying to be mocked. I can only imagine how annoying it would be to enroll the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and being surrounded by elite intellectuals who mistake their talent for a license to be awful. No thanks.
As an only child with the social skills of a starving feral cat, I was pretty avid reader. At some point, it occurred that I could be an author. I’m not sure how much logic I used in deciding upon my calling, I’m pretty sure I just wanted to be wealthy, famous, and admired. With such powerful motivators, it is no surprise that I haven’t made much progress in my career.
I entered the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards in 8th grade, with a long, rambling story about nothing that I entered into the humor category. I earned honorable mention in the region. Not much has changed since then.
Two semesters and enough student loans to finance a high end luxury sedan, I now have a master’s degree. Given that I studied higher education, I was naturally curious as to exactly how many Asian Americans have graduate degrees. The answer is 17 percent, which also is the estimated number of Indians in the entire world. So much trivia, so little time.
It’s funny because I have been a student for 17 years now. And now I am not. Granted, a masters in higher education generally prepares students for professions within colleges and universities, so it’s likely that I won’t be that far removed from the academic world. I’ll just have a different role.
I never really felt like I got to take advantage of all the perks of being a student. It always seemed like grown ups envied students, who had no real responsibilities. It’s a luxury to be able to learn, but it’s not as if it was the singular role I had growing up. I have been working ever since I was legally allowed to and I don’t recall really doing any of the stereotypical nonsense that undergraduates are known for: I never slept in until noon or went to Cancun for Spring Break or pulled a ridiculous prank on the dean. I never even got to have class outside, sitting in a circle on the grass.
I’m not lamenting the underwhelming social experience of my educational career, but I have to point that it was indeed underwhelming. I remember having to cut through the residential halls to get to my apartment last year, as a graduating fourth year, envious of the younger students and their seemingly carefree attitudes. Why didn’t I play frisbee or nap under a tree or wear flip flops everyday? It was too late, I missed my chance. My youth is over, and all I have to look forward to now is getting a discount on Amtrak when I turned 65.
Although I’m exaggerating my bitterness and resentment, I’m not particularly optimistic about the future, nor am I filled with nostalgia from my glory days. If these are supposed to be the best years of my life, does it mean it all goes down from here?
When I was a senior in high school, my AP English Teacher, Ms. Weiss, asked us to write letters to ourselves, 5 years in the future. Next month will be five years. Assuming I receive that letter, I wonder what I wrote. At the time, I was pretty depressed about some issues out of my control and that probably dominated my thoughts.
I wonder now, though, what would the 17-year-old version of me think of the 22-year-old version of me? What happened to majoring in English and being a journalist? Why didn’t you do more as an undergrad? Why did I get a masters in Education? Who is Sarah Palin and how did she become so famous? (Your guess is as good as mine, kid.)
Sometimes I feel as if I have the emotional skills of a 17-year-old: unfounded confidence, irrational insecurities, the tendency to be over dramatic. But I’m not 17 anymore and over the years, I have learned a few things, grown in a few ways, and built up the skills necessary to cope with not be a student anymore. So if I end up disappointing the 17-year-old version of myself, it’s fine. That kid was a dumb jerkface anyways.
Apollo 13 Going on 30: Tom Hanks goes into space but ends up being a 30-year-old magazine editor in NYC, which is not as great as he thought it was going to be.
I Love You, Iron Man: Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark feels like he cannot connect with other men until he meets Jason Segel and they bond over Rush.
Joy Luck Fight Club: Chinese American daughters cope with the tension stemming from the relationship with their mothers by starting a secret violent group.
The Fast and Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Brad Pitt gets younger as he drives faster with Vin Disel for some reason.
The Blind Sideways: Sandra Bullock goes on a tour of Napa Wine country and meets a talented football player and hooks up with Sandra Oh.
The Good, the Bad, and the Coyote Ugly: Clint Eastwood has to get a job at a Western-themed bar where he dances on tables to Leann Rimes songs.
The Notting Hills Have Eyes: Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock Julia Roberts are stalked by a group of psychotic people who live in the desert.
Up in the Air Bud: An old man, an Asian American boy scout, and a basketball playing dog have to travel a lot for their jobs but realize that home is where the heart is.
3 Men and a Million Dollar Baby: Hilary Swank is adopted by Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, and some other dude.
Murder on the Pineapple Express: Seth Rogan and James Franco are two stoners who have to solve a crime on a train.
Eternal Little Miss Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: To forget his bad breakup with Kate Winslet, Jim Carrey gets in a VW van and competes in a beauty pageant, helping his dying grandfather and suicidal uncle along the way.
The Fantastic Four Weddings and a Funeral: I don’t know the plot to either movie, so figure it out yourself.