Monday, January 3, 2011

O Captain! My Captain!

A few weeks ago, I was at Youth Group, making the usual fool of myself and trying to convince the rest of the Christian teenagers present that God was a delusion and that they were wasting their time worshiping an imaginary figure. (But not really. Actually I just sang the songs and ate the snacks when they were offered to me.)

But I was making my typical weird jokes and offering my bizarre commentary which usually involved tying Bible stories into Woody Allen movies or trying to state my case for why I thought it was likely that Zacchaeus was not just a short person but in fact a leprechaun.

At our snack break, (I swear to God, we have those--they serve Chick-fil-a and cheese with crackers and grape juice and breast milk), I was making a particularly ridiculous joke which I think involved elements such as Richard Dreyfuss, bunny rabbits, and a French housewife. Once I was done, I got the usual response. Scattered laughs, mostly blank stares, and a few kids silently praying to God to forgive me for my terrible sins.

This time, however, one girl--who usually just stares at me when I make my weird remarks--looked me in the eye, smiled a little, and said, "I hope you never get boring."

At this moment I had a flashback to The Breakfast Club. There, staring at me curiously and vividly from my memory, is Ally Sheedy. Her cheeks are glossed with fake tears. Her wild, dark hair sits on top of her head like a giant brown mammal, and her eyebrows are thick and beautiful. She waits for a dramatic pause and then, voice dripping with trepidation and nervous excitement about the secret she's about to share with her four unlikely friends, she speaks.

"When you grow up, your heart dies," she says.

Then there's Judd Nelson, with his perfect, criminal face. His eyes are filled to the brim with what appears to be almost genuine apathy, nose wrinkled only slightly, mouth open just wide enough to prove how angst-ridden he is, and fantastic hair splashing onto his shoulders like a waterfall in heaven--a shocking contrast to his role of the attorney Robin Weathers in From the Hip.

"Who cares?" he replies with a perfectly delivered but clearly fraud lack of interest.

Ally Sheedy, who does not seem to be thrown off by the question, replies unflinchingly.

"I care," she says.

Then I'm transported to a private boarding school in Vermont. There are the faces of over a dozen teenage boys, all staring befuddledly at a photograph of a class of boys from decades before them who are, apparently, not unlike themselves. They're exchanging glances and occasionally throwing frightened looks at Robin Williams, who has his hair parted neatly and an impossibly sweet and docile twinkle in his eyes despite his reputation as an actor and comedian.

And the boys are craning their necks and straining their ears to understand and to listen, holding their breaths so they can hear. And then there's Robin Williams again, whispering hoarsely out of the corner of his mouth,

"Carpe....Carpe....Carpe Diem...seize the day, boys....Carpe Diem."

And then I'm transported back to Youth Group. I'm standing in the room alone. The session ended two hours ago--according to my watch--and I'm pretty sure I was mugged--because my phone, wallet, and shoes are all missing.

Carpe Diem. This is a phrase which has had so much meaning in my life. A phrase which I would even describe as my motto, if not for the fact that Carpe Diem most literally translated from Latin does not actually mean "to seize the day," but instead "to fondle the day."

Take chances. Do things you have always wanted to do. Live your live as if today was your last day. This idea, Carpe Diem, is a perfect philosophy for life. Human beings are like turtles: they're most comfortable inside their little shells. They're afraid to take risks, and oftentimes they have difficulty getting anything done because they're afraid to leave their comfort zone. They're also like turtles in the way that their blood is highly nutritious. (Don't look at me like that. I read it in the Life of Pi.)

And now I'm remembering what this girl said. Never get boring, she told me, a short way of saying, You may get a load of crap sometimes for being who you really are, but don't grow up and become an accountant who hates children and eats frozen dinners for both breakfast and supper. And this is advice I won't easily forget. Instead, I'll remember:

Carpe Diem. Seize the day.

That Blond Guy

16 people secretly have a crush on me:

Eeshie said...

Whoa...I feel all reflective...

Carpe Diem. Nice.


Kindros said...

Great advice. Strangely, it makes me think of Fight Club, which might have to be viewed tonight now.

Great advice. :)

Mischief Managed said...

I know I only apply to about 7 of your "Ideal Girlfriend" qualities, but can we get married? Please? I mean, any guy that makes references to highly nutritious turtle blood must be the epitome of perfect. How does it feel?

RainboRevolver said...

This was a deep one.. I like it. You're very poetic when you're not making sarcastic comments about youth group.

Fondle the day, that made me laugh.

Have a nice day. (fondle it!)

That Blond Guy said...

Eeshie: Whoa, man. I dig that.

Kindros: Where is my mind?

Mischief Managed: Sure, I'd love to! When should we? What should we name our nine kids? And in answer to your last question, it actually doesn't feel that great. It stings a little, and oftentimes it's very itchy.

Julia: Why thank you.

Mischief Managed said...

Okay, so I think a Spring wedding would be nice. With flowers. I mean, unless you don't want flowers. And our nine kids will be named... ONE OF THEM WILL BE NAMED FABBIO! I've always wanted a kid named Fabbio. You name the rest. Other than Fabbio, I'm really no good with names.
And it kind of sucks that being awesome comes with a price like that. I guess my dreams of being awesome aren't so great after all. TIME TO CHANGE MY NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION!

Mandy Thomas said...

This one made me a little sad.
Hm, you're quite peculiar.

Lexa Be said...

I am fairly sure next time I say carpe diem I shall begin laughing and confuse everyone around me. I believe my friend Jason needs to "fondle the day"

And you are quite entertaining, if you hadnt have written your list about a girlfriend I would think you were gay... Sorry, all the decent guys I know that are still single are gay, and being the GSA president really doesn't make me any less suspicious heh.

Glad you aren't gay. Too bad you don't live near me, I could use a nice straight guy friend.

Mandy Thomas said...

I wish there was a "like" button, because if there was I would "like" Lexa Be's comment.

Smokey_Cat said...

Nice Post!

Taking changes I agree with, it's better than wondering 'what if'
your whole life.

Shannon said...

Woah this was actually a really good post and good advice. How was Texas?

Red Sunshine said...

Great post! never get boring is quite good advice

Kassandrah said...

fabbio iz a ghey name.
i hope you guys are planning a fake marriage, because if i remember correctly, you've already proposed to me.

Mischief Managed said...

AND NEXT. Can't we have, like, a three-way marriage? I mean, I could make an exception for you, I guess.

Kay said...

cerpe diem carpe diem carpe diem

I have written so many essays on this topic

but the message never lessens in significance.

rose said...

so now you've managed to take me back to grade 10 english, and i really really loved grade 10 english.

gather ye rose buds while ye may, old time is still a flying, and this same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying

or something like that

carpe diem!

rose xx