Take Your Medicine

I’ve been on a wild ride these last 6 months; I left a job that made me miserable, I started a job that I actually liked, I started going to a real college, (there’s also this whole “pandemic” thing going on as well), but the biggest change was that I didn’t take my meds for the first time in years.

It seemed like such a simple thing to do: call your doctor and have them send your prescription to the pharmacy 10 minutes away from my house. That’s the shitty thing about ADHD; things that should be easy are cripplingly difficult. Every time I tried to call in the order, I was put on hold for half an hour because some dumb-dumb who had bad Chinese food last week thought they had the ‘Rona, called their doctor, and clogged up the phone line so people like me who have no patience for phone calls would get angry and hang up.

This continued for months, and as time progressed, I started to notice subtle differences in my behavior, which is wild because I don’t usually notice changes in anything, let alone my own life. My working memory is terrible, if someone put a gun to my mother’s head and asked me what I ate for dinner a week ago, I’d have to say goodbye to Ma Dukes, because I can barely remember what I said a minute ago, let alone a week ago. This is where medication comes in handy. Without it, my brain is in complete control, and instead of doing normal people things, it keeps me up at night thinking about things like “Did people in Star Wars use cotton to make their clothes, or is it some other sci-fi space material? I was up until 5am thinking about this last night. Take your medicine.

I finally got my prescription filled, it took a whole hell of a lot longer than I’d liked, but it’s done, and that’s all that matters. The shitty part is what’s gonna happen after 6 months of not taking my meds is suddenly interrupted by an infusion of the strongest amphetamines science has ever created. I’ll probably be up until 5 again tonight, but for much different reasons. Take your fucking medicine.

The College Experience

I’ve been in college since 2012, so you could say that I’m well-versed in the college experience. It’s all bullshit. I’ve been to 3 different schools, and all three of them were practically the same. The shitty truth is this: college isn’t that hard. I’m a terrible student; I don’t like to study, I don’t do it every day, or even every week, and I get straight A’s. This should scare the shit out of everyone paying $30,000 a year for a piece of paper that I can recreate in Photoshop.  I’m not even that smart, there are tons of people far, far smarter than I am, so how is it that I get better grades than them?

First and foremost, colleges are businesses. If you own a restaurant, you want to ensure that your customers are satisfied when they leave your restaurant so they tell other people about it. College is the same way. If everyone who attended college failed, nobody would go, so I think the administration put pressure on the faculty to ease grading policies to ensure that not only do their students get to brag about their GPA, but also to keep a steady flow of uninformed 18 year-olds with student loans coming through their halls.

I’m not trying to brag, I’m just some uninformed asshole on the Internet spouting my opinions, so do your research before you sign your life away to some loan company that will actively try to take advantage of your financial illiteracy. Student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, as far as I know, so if you aren’t 100% certain that college will help you get to where you want to be, don’t waste your time fucking up your credit score.

If you are dead-set on college, don’t be stupid: go to community college first. It’s not as sexy as spending freshman year blacking out on cheap vodka and Blue Gatorade, but it will pay dividends in the end.  Community college is like an extension of high school, but you’re not pumping hormones 24/7, and you don’t have to spend your days there, so it’s infinitely better, and you save money. Make sure your credits transfer though, nobody wants to go through all that work just to find out that your credits from “Intro to Microbrews” don’t transfer.

If you’re not gonna go to class, don’t go to college. I’ve done my 10,000 hours of partying, I’m a professional, so when I tell you it’s not worth it, IT’S NOT WORTH IT. Yeah, it’s fun, yeah, you’ll think you’re the shit, yeah, doing drugs is fun (allegedly), but is that worth tens of thousands of dollars? No, the fuck it’s not. If you’re going to be that person, do the world a favor and don’t go to college. Just stay in your home town and sell drugs like a normal piece of shit.

Full disclosure: I’m not 1000% certain that I’m right, you’re experience might be different than mine, you might’ve had a completely different experience and think college was the best years of your life. I’m not you, I’m just here to tell my story and hope that somebody gets useful advice from my ramblings.

Writing About Writing

So, as maybe two of you might remember, I’m taking a graduate-level Philosophy class without any knowledge of Philosophy, outside of what I learned from the major motion picture Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Surprisingly, I’m crushing it. I just got my last paper back, and I got a 100%. This came as a surprise because said paper is a 3-page, 3-paragraph, dog fart that wouldn’t have seen the light of day if I had started it more than an hour before it was due.  This leads me to think one of two things. 1) This paper I wrote while barely sober enough to type is actually amazing, and I’m a great writer, or 2) My professor read this cracked-out abortion of a paper, felt badly, and graded me accordingly.

My writing process usually comes down to two methods. The first, and most natural one, is to just type whatever comes into my head, edit it for clarity, and let it rock. This usually works, but after I submit it, I dissect every word and think of ways to improve it, which usually makes me want to delete everything and start fresh. This leads me to the second method; what I like to call the “Fuck You, Run It Again” method. This method only comes out when I’m under pressure, and can’t just edit as I go. This usually leads me to finishing a paper, reading it 2 or 3 times, and deleting it and starting it over because I don’t like the direction it takes. This method is incredible, it has a nearly 100% success rating, but makes me all boo-hooey for a while after, because if you spend hours at a time hating yourself and your writing, you’re going to have a bad time. I’m trying to refine both processes, combining them to make a single fluid workflow, but it’s rough, and since I’m my biggest critic, I’ll probably go above and beyond what’s necessary and make something completely different in the process. This whole quarantine thing has given me an abundance of free time, so I should have it squared away in no time.

My Musical Journey

As I’ve said before, I think music is a wonderful thing that influences us and helps make us who we are. My musical journey started when I was young, and hopefully won’t stop until I’m dead.

The first memory I have is listening to “Born to Run” on one of the first trips up to Maine, and to this day I still love it. I’ve always had a soft spot for classic rock, it’s what my parents played in the house, it’s the first genre I delved into when I started to get interested in music, and some of it’s still in my rotation today, but I like to ease off for a while and get that nostalgic feeling that comes with it. I was that weird kid in middle school who thought that today’s music sucked, and that 60’s and 70’s music was the best there was. I was kind of a pretentious little shit back then.

Toward the end of middle school up into high school, I started listening to some more contemporary music, things like Metallica, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, and Linkin Park. These artists spoke to me more than the artists my parents listened to, and I felt like they understood what it was like to be an sad, angry suburban kid in the 21st century. I don’t really listen to most of the albums I was obsessed with back then, I revisted them recently, and a vast majority of them suck, but they still meant the world to me, and those feelings I had when I was 13 make up for it.

Toward the end of my sophomore year of high school, I was looking on YouTube for something new, and I stumbled on an Eminem video. This was my introduction to rap. I was blown away by The Eminem Show and the Slim Shady LP, but my parents hated it, which made me like them even more. As I listened to more and more Eminem, my YouTube suggestions lead me to discover artists like Ice Cube and Cypress Hill. I didn’t even smoke weed yet, but I still loved Cypress Hill. I remember seeing tickets go up for a Cypress Hill show nearby, but when I thought about how my parents would react when they heard their music, I reconsidered going, which was probably for the best, since I don’t think a nerdy 14-year old white kid from a small farm town would fit in with the weed-smoking 90’s rap fan.

I really don’t want to admit this, but when I first started smoking weed, I was obsessed with the Kottonmouth Kings. I was 16, and convinced that they were better than Eminem and Dr.Dre. I’d play Long Live the Kings and Rollin’ Stoned for my friends, but they were still into hardcore and metal, so while it wasn’t really their thing, I have to give them immense credit for putting up with it and soldiering through.

My music tastes started to really evolve when my friends and I started partying. Nobody wants to here “A Little Piece of Heaven” at a party, it scares the girls away. As we met more people, we listened to their music too. One of the first people to expand my rap knowledge was our friend/friendly neighborhood weed guy Tom, who introduced me to some of the most important artists in my life, people like Mac Miller, Logic, J.Cole, and Kendrick Lamar. He also introduced me to a lot of garbage that I can’t stand to this day. I related to these people, mostly Mac and Logic, because at the time I was partying a lot, looking forward to college, to getting out of my town and making something of myself, and I looked up to these people a few years older than me doing exactly that.

As I began college, I was still listening to all of the music I’d always listened to, but as I went to frat parties and hung out with douchebags, I started getting into people like Jay-Z and Kanye West. I was blown away by the production, I still am. As college proved to be a really tough environment, I started using music to cope with the fact that sometimes I couldn’t get out of bed or do anything else. Specifically, Watching Movies With the Sound Off was my soundtrack, and it’s still one of my favorite albums, but hearing certain songs like “I’m Not Real” and “The Star Room” brings back memories of smoking joints by myself at 2am, thinking about how bad my life was getting.

I was stuck in a funk for a long time, leaving college because I was failing classes because I was either too depressed to get out of bed to go to class, or because I was too hungover to do my homework because booze temporarily made me feel like a person. This lead to me coming back to that sleepy farm town I’d worked so hard to get away from. I started working at Dunks, and with that, started having time to kill, so I filled it by listening to albums. Now, at this time I was working 10 hour days 6 days a week, so I had a lot of time to listen to new music. This period of time is when I discovered a wealth of new music that I adore to this day.

The first album I heard was Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and it blew me away. I’d listened to Kanye in college, but it was usually just the older albums and the hits, so when I heard “Runaway” for the first time, I was blown away. I’d never heard so many good songs on one album before, back to back to back, and I finally understood why people put up with Kanye’s shit.

During the Dunks Period, I started to branch out my tastes, which lead me to discover Anderson. Paak. I was blown away, it was like the music I used to listen to as a kid got a makeover, and became fresh and relevant. Malibu was my entrance to soul music, albeit in a modern sense. As I dove into soul music, I started listening to jazz and big band music, and started to value live instrumentation in all forms of music, especially rap. I discovered Avantdale Bowling Club, a project by New Zealand rapper Tom Scott, and I was blown away. It was everything I’d been looking for in an album: it had great rapping, it had live instrumentation, it had a message about coming home and growing up that spoke to me on a material level, and it was a cohesive piece of art. Hell, I’m probably going to go play that record right now, it’s one of my favorite in my collection.

As time went on, I started to get bored with listening to the same ol’ music all the time, so I looked for something new to scratch that itch. I found myself listening to a lot of indie music, Speedy Ortiz, Portugal the Man, Bright Eyes, Beach House, Gorillaz, The Internet, Tame Impala,and many more. This new influx of sounds and ideas really hooked me, and I still love all of the music I discovered back then, and I’m super looking forward to hearing the new Bright Eyes album.

Recently, I’ve gotten more into jazz, specifically modal jazz, from people like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Duke Ellington. I like the creativity and musicality involved, no structure, no limits, just artistic expression. It does make me feel hella old and lame when I put on Frank Sinatra songs in the car with my friends, but fuck them, they can walk if it bothers them that much.

I like to think that the music I’ve listened to shaped me in a way, made me a better, more rounded person. I’m still immensely curious, I’ll listen to just about anything, except for EDM, because I’m not a 20-year old frat kid on Molly, but anything else, I’ll probably give it a listen. I’ve been collecting records, not only because they definitely sound better, but they also serve as a sort of time capsule for me so when I get older I can look back at these records and remember what it was like to discover them, and how different life was back then.

The Ol’ College Try Pt.2

So I’m about 3 weeks into the semester, and I’m surprised at how well it’s going.

I had some concerns when I first started; the “easy” English class I thought I was taking turned out to be a graduate-level Philosophy class, so that was a bit of a transition. My professor is a grad student that’s younger than I am. I’m actually doing pretty well in that class, I just have to quietly Google things when I don’t know what they’re talking about. For our first paper, we had to determine which philosopher most influenced the 1992 comedy film My Cousin Vinny, which is probably the weirdest assignment I’ve ever done. I had no idea what type of philosophy Joe Pesci subscribed to, so I just said Socrates, and hoped for the best.

Accounting is a no-brainer for me, which is weird because usually I suck at math. I got a 94 on my first quiz, so I’m pretty much crushing it right now. I really like the professor too, he seems like one of those goofy math teachers that are really passionate about math, so they find a way to have fun with it. That’s this guy and cash flow statements.

I don’t know why I was so worried about transferring to an actual college, but that’s the thing about worrying: things are never as bad as you think they’ll be.

Productivity is a Pain in the Ass

Why do we have to do things? Why can’t I just give in to that little devil on my shoulder that wants me to drink whiskey and watch re-runs of Parts Unknown all day?

Every day, I make a checklist of what I have to do. Usually, most of those things don’t get done right away.

I go days without achieving anything, but when I get things done, I Get. Things. Done. Maybe it’s the ADHD, maybe it’s because I like to be efficient, maybe it’s because I only get a certain amount of energy per week, like some sort of terrible solar battery. For example, for one of my English classes, I’d slacked off all semester because I was depressed and couldn’t get out of bed to go to class, and as a result, I had a semester’s worth of homework to do. I banged out over a dozen papers in day, and aced all of them. I wish I could do that for everything else in my life.

I’m sure there are numerous internal factors that are responsible for my lack of productivity lately; I haven’t been to the gym in awhile, I’ve been eating like shit, and I haven’t been sleeping that much, in addition to school and work responsibilities.

Hopefully, I’ll figure it out and crush it like I always do, but there has to be a limit to how far I can push myself before everything comes crashing down.

I think those bursts of energy can be stretched out and lengthened, so I’m going to try and figure out what brings them on, and try to do that more and more, until it’s just second-nature, and that lazy demon is banished, or exorcised, or whatever you do to demons.

What The Fuck Am I Doing?

I’m not a functional person right now. I’m trying to fix that though. I just wish I could skip all the annoying middle parts and go straight to being awesome.

I always question the things I do, how do you ever know if you’re doing what’s best for you? I wish it was easier to figure out.

My ego loves the idea of muscling through adversity, but let’s be real here, there are millions of people who would kill for the life I’ve taken for granted. Life’s hard, but I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with it by myself.

My parents are getting older, and the idea that they won’t be there every step of the way is terrifying. They’re the best people I know, and they mean the world to me. I hope we make some improvements in medicine so that my dad can live long enough to go to space, and that my mom can meet my kids, if I ever have any. I want them to enjoy the rest of their lives, they’ve done enough to be allowed to relax a bit.

I think this website will be one of those things I look back on in 10 years and groan about, like the “newspaper” I made in middle school, or the Applebees campaign I came up with last week. It’s helpful for me to write all this shit down though, so I can see it and realize how dumb most of my random thoughts are. Maybe all that embarrassing crap is important to who I am as a person now. Or maybe it’s just bullshit I should drink away. I’ve also been having these weird dreams where I die in super mundane ways, like slipping on soap in the shower, or getting hit by an asteroid. I’ve always liked the idea of having a vault of unreleased material discovered after you die, so maybe that’s why I keep having gnarly dreams about dying.

Does anyone’s life plan actually work out the same way they thought it would? Does it even make sense to plan things out, given the unpredictable nature of life? Fuck, man, I wish Google answered questions like that, instead of pointing me towards the closest Starbucks.

The Ol’ College Try

I’m starting college again on Monday, and I’m fucking terrified.

I haven’t had a great track record with college; I colossally flamed out my first time, and I excelled the second time, years later. I’m batting around a .500, which isn’t great when it comes to spending thousands of dollars on education. I’m only taking two classes, but I’m still worried about them.

The first class is called Winning the Argument, and it’s an English class, so I shouldn’t have any trouble because writing is one of the things I’m not completely awful at. I’m sure that I’ll do fine in that class, but my Managerial Accounting class is going to be a nightmare. I did fine in the last accounting class I took, but that’s because I got angry that I wasn’t doing well, and stayed up late trying to figure it out because failing hurt my ego. I can’t rely on that to save me this time.

I’m 50 credits away from a Bachelor’s degree, so I’ll be in college for awhile. Remember that old Ryan Reynolds movie Van Wilder? If you haven’t, it’s about a 27-year old rich kid who is having too much fun in college to want to graduate.  I’m probably going to be 28 by the time I graduate, and that worries me. If I were an employer, I wouldn’t hire the guy who took 10 years to get a 4 year degree. Hopefully, advertising is filled with fuck-ups who took forever to finish college too, or I’m going to have to find a new profession.

I don’t want to be that weird old guy in class, that guy who butts into the lecture to jerk-off his ego and feel like he’s contributing something helpful, even though everyone else just wants him to shut up and not talk again. There’s always one in every class, so I’m hoping some other poor, awkward soul falls on that grenade for me.

Maybe it won’t be terrible. Maybe I’ll meet some new people and enjoy my college experience. Maybe I’ll find some club that interests me, or find a way to shmooze my way into an internship this summer. That’s the thing though, you never really know what’s going to happen, and that bugs the shit out of me. I don’t like being unprepared for what’s coming to me, I like knowing what’s going to happen beforehand, so I can set up a game plan and figure it out. I’ve had more college experience than most people I know, I should know what I’m in for, but I don’t.

Previously, I went to community college, and, for the most part, it was a breeze. I worked at about 60% capacity, and I got great grades. I don’t know if I can do the same at a real college. I’m worried that getting straight A’s at a community college gave me too much confidence in my abilities, and that I’m going to blow it this semester. I feel like a much poorer Billy Madison: I feel like people took it easy on me, and that I’m not really as smart as I think I am, and that everyone else sees it but me.  I’m not as much of a fuck-up as I was the last time I went to real college, so maybe I’ll be okay.