What I Learned From The Professor

I just saw The Professor: a movie where Johnny Depp plays a dying professor living the last days of his life after a cancer diagnosis. It’s got me thinking a lot about mortality, so if you’re not in the mood for a depressing read about accepting death, you should probably go read something else.

I think that Depp’s character’s nonchalance regarding his impending demise is commendable; he doesn’t tell his family until the last possible moment because he doesn’t want to upset them, he lives his life the way he always wanted to, without the constraints of society to hold him back. Yes, he’s a hard-drinking, nihilistic douche, but let’s be real here: you would be too.

I think about death a lot, not in a suicidal sense, but as more of a curiosity. I wonder what happens when the light fades from your eyes and you pass on. I’ve wondered if you’re greeted by someone who loves you, or if you have to make the transition to whatever’s next alone.  I’ve thought so much about it, but I’m not in a rush to find the answer. People die. It happens, you can’t do anything about it, and it’s not up to you to decide who goes when, so just suck it up and accept it. You’re going to die someday, keep that in the back of your mind when you’re killing yourself trying to extend your life.

Johnny Depp, as I will refer to every one of his characters, really spoke to me in this movie. He’s been a tight-knit stiff for the majority of his life, but with the end within spitting distance, he goes off the rails and starts living life the way he always wanted to. I wish I had half the balls his character had. He says everything that people are thinking, but too cowardly to say out loud, and part of me respects that, but the other part of me just sees a scared man making sure that he has no regrets when it’s all over. He burns bridges at work, while still keeping his family intact for as long as he can. He bonds with his daughter and teaches her a valuable lesson on love.  He rebuilds his relationship with his wife a little, before leaving so they don’t have to face his impending doom. This movie is about accepting life the way it is, and not how you want it to be. Your life isn’t going to go as planned, no matter how many fucking smoothies you drink or how many self-help workshops you attend. His sense of apathy is almost commendable, he doesn’t let anything get to him, not his cheating wife, his failing marriage, his shallow job with uninterested students, or his impending death. Late in the movie, Depp offers advice to one of his students, advising her to write the story of her life the way she wants, and that stuck out to me. This might not be the best movie ever made, or even the best movie Johnny Depp has done in the last decade, but I enjoyed it, and would recommend it.

Death probably is the end of your existence, but it doesn’t sound too bad. You won’t be conscious of the nothingness, you won’t get bored of the blackness, you won’t see the effect you leave behind, if there is any, so why are people so scared of dying? I think it’s because we don’t think it’ll happen to us. I’ve long come to terms with my mortality, I know that someday I’m going to drop, and the people who love me are going to be crushed, and I don’t like that, but what am I supposed to do about it?

 

‘Tis the Season

Today was the first day of my golf season, and I really missed it. It was nice outside, so I figured that I’d run some errands. While on my way back home, I saw that there were a ton of people at the local driving range, so I decided to stop by and hit a few dozen balls.

Everyone who has ever golfed can understand how badly the first time out goes, but today was different. I usually get two buckets: one to practice my short game, and one for my long game. The first swing felt good, sounded good, but shifted off to the right at the last second, which really pissed me off. “It’s your first time out in 5 months, you’re gonna suck a little bit.” I thought to myself, but I just kept going until I found my groove and started crushing it.

I like to have some fun when I practice my short game; there’s a little stream maybe 75 yards downrange, so I practice shooting balls into that stream. It’s perfect for those shots that fall just short of the green, which is an annoyingly-common problem for me, since my long-to-middle game is hot garbage for the first 3 months of the season, before turning into lukewarm garbage by the end of the season. I sink maybe 15 balls into the stream, refilling my confidence in my short game.

As I pull out my driver, the one club I can never use properly, I started to remember all the little adjustments in my swing that I’d been working on all last summer. The first shot was perfect, 250 right down the middle, with that sexy-ass PING on contact. The second shot went 15 feet. Shit. Good thing it’s only March.  The high point of today was when I Robinhood-ed another person’s ball out of mid-air, which is ridiculous, and probably won’t ever happen to me again, so I’m glad I can write it down so I’ll remember the moment.

My Last Day

Today’s the day. It’s finally here. I’ve thought about this moment so many times that whatever happens, I know it won’t live up to the fantasy I’ve created. I’ve decided that instead of doing all the usual unnecessary shit that I do throughout my work day, I’m going to take stock and think about what I’ll miss about this place, and what I look forward to never doing again.

What I’ll Miss:

1. Free Coffee.

2. The few nice Customers.

3. Getting out at 7 on Sunday’s.

4. Fucking with rude people.

5. Locking the doors on people after we close.

6. Listening to music on the store speakers.

7. Trying new flavor combos in my coffee.

8. Hashbrowns.

9. Customers leaving nice reviews on Yelp.

10. Customers leaving ridiculous reviews on Yelp.

11. Giving stressed-out people free coffee, because we’ve all been there.

12. Listening to Raj yell at people for unreasonable things, like using the bathroom he just cleaned.

13. Listening to Raj act super nice when his boss is around.

14. Scaring new Dunks employees with customer horror stories.

15. Listening to full albums at work.

16. Introducing customers to music.

What I Won’t Miss Even A Little:

1. That On-The-Go ringtone that never shuts up.

2. Getting yelled at by entitled morons who think this is an upscale restaurant.

3. People throwing money at me like I’m a bad stripper.

4. Customers complaining because the prices aren’t the same as they were in 1976.

5. Coming home covered in greasy fat and coffee stains.

6. Customers assuming I speak perfect Spanish because I work at Dunks.

7. People placing $50+ orders, and not tipping after.

8. Customers taking money out of my tip jar to avoid breaking a bill.

9. People snapping their fingers while I make their food because they think it’ll speed things up.

10. Blatant heroin users coughing on their money and handing it to me.

11. Drunk people asking if I can add liquor to their drinks.

12. Customers making up flavors and expecting me to know what they are.

13. Parents who bring their crying kid in, and leave them at the counter.

14. Getting 4am calls from the District Manager, asking where the TV remote is.

15. Getting calls at 4:15am from said manager after she finds the remote.

16. Getting called in at 8:30am for a 12pm shift.

17. Having to work 3am-8pm because someone didn’t show up.

18. Coffee “connoisseurs” who can apparently tell the difference between 17 creams and 18 creams in their small iced coffee.

19. People who want their coffee “extra extra light”, then complain that their coffee is too light.

20. Having customers talk on their phone at the counter when they should be ordering.

21. Getting called racist because I ask someone to repeat themselves after they order in another language.

22. Getting cold brew thrown at me because “It’s not cold enough!”

23. Customers getting angry that we don’t have Pumpkin Spice in July.

24. Customers getting offended when I ask if they want their coffee iced or hot.

25. Old people telling me that “Hey Yeah” is The Devil’s Music™️.

26. People who try and order food 45 minutes after the ovens are off.

27. Customers who order small coffees in extra-large cups because they think they’re beating the system.

28. Getting yelled at because I didn’t finish the work that someone else was supposed to do.

29. Getting asked 6 times in a row if the decaf coffee they ordered is actually decaf.

30. Customers who don’t understand what “regular” means, and get mad when they order a regular and it’s not what they wanted.

31. Being told I got a raise, and making the same amount of money every week.

32. Having to do my boss’s paperwork because she wants to go home early.

33. Customers paying for big orders with change.

34. When I greet customers at the counter, and they look at me like I’m offending them.

35. Confused customers who try and get me to pump their gas because they don’t understand how 2 stores can share a building.

36. Customers who get mad that their coffee is on the counter, and not wherever they want to wait for it.

37. Parents who point at me and tell their kids “This is what happens when you don’t go to college!”

38. Overly-complicated sandwich orders that make no sense

39. Having to fix at least one piece of equipment every shift, none of which is ever replaced.

40. Always being out of something that multiple customers want

41. Getting yelled at because we’re out of something a customer wants.

42. Being treated like I’m less than a person because I work at Dunks.

43. Having to pee outside like an animal because the bathroom doesn’t work.

Goodbye, and good riddence

People Are Weird

What the hell is with some people? I’ve been asked so many stupid questions that should’ve died inside the person’s head long before they vomited them out. Working food service has opened my eyes to an unpleasant truth: these people have jobs that effect things.

Whenever I see roadwork going on for months, I think about the construction worker who came in, asking if we could make him a pizza, operating heavy machinery. Now, I’m like 75% sure that these people are just momentarily frazzled, but there are some cases that are too blatent to ignore.

Today, a woman came in, looked at our menu for about 3 minutes, then asked what our soup of the day was. When I had to inform her that Dunkin Donuts does not make soup, she seemed shocked. Now, this wasn’t an old woman, or a foreign woman, just a regular ol’ lady wearing a Gucci jacket, with the matching bag.

This isn’t an isolated incident; so many people fail to use basic reading comprehension, critical thinking skills, and most important of all, their eyes. For example, I was locking the store up to leave, way past closing time, and a guy comes up and orders a coffee. Now, not only are the lights and sign off, there aren’t any other people in the store, there isn’t any coffee left, and I’m literally at the door about to leave. Sounds like a perfect time to order coffee, right?

Usually, I just ignore the urge to laugh, and provide the same excellent customer service that I always do, but today is different. Am I just an asshole, or have people slowly gotten dumber? I’m sure that stagnant education funding has had some effect on the average intelligence levels of our country, but if we keep going down this path, Idiocracy will turn into a documentary, which is something that terrifies me.

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.

I Don’t Want To Be A Townie

There is this guy I always see at my local dive, literally every time I’ve been to this place, no matter the time, this man is there. I don’t want to be that guy when I get older. He can’t be a good role model, good role models don’t drink beer by the pitcher at 11 o’clock on a Tuesday.

Sometimes I get lost thinking about the lives of other people, what they do with their days, what makes them happy, which moments they look forward to, and I think about how I would fare under those same conditions. I don’t want to be in this place long enough to grow old here. I don’t want to slowly see the places I grew up change and turn into something totally unrecognizable, and I definitely don’t want to bitch about it while I day-drink at at a bar located in a residential neighborhood.

I want the place I grew up to be a nostalgic memory that I look back fondly upon, not somewhere I would give anything to escape. I hope all the hard work I’ve put in pays off, that I’m not stuck tending bar at Finnegan’s when I’m 40.

I’ve been listening to Aventdale Bowling Club a lot recently, “Old Dogs” and “Home” are hitting a little differently lately. If you haven’t heard of Aventdale Bowling Club, go check it out, you won’t regret it. “Old Dogs” is a song about all the people who didn’t leave their hometown after graduation, and how their lives have turned out, over an incredible jazz instrumental. “Old Dogs” makes me think about that old man at the bar: he was a high school kid once, he had his whole life ahead of him, and he ended up stuck where he started. That just makes me sad. “Home” is a more mature, reflective song. “Home” is that first trip home after making something of yourself, which I really want to do someday, I just have to make something of myself first.