Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Coovo's College Experience . . . & Summer

Like many other blog-related promises I have made since we started this thing, I totally blew it in NYC. Instead of trying to come back right away and make up for it, I gathered my thoughts and am going to start over and recall what was a very memorable summer. This is a post I had started at the end of the semester:

At first I thought I would write a comprehensive and funny post detailing all the differences between my first college experience (GO FLYERS!!) and my new one. However, my dueling editors Roller and Ryan, thought that should be saved for my first novel. Seriously folks. Today, I'm typing this on my laptop in Chipotle when 15 years ago we all bided our time waiting for each person to finish with the Brother 1400. I don't know how people blogged back then.

The biggest concern I had going back to school was the age factor. I'm 32 but I have enough (tons) of gray hairs that despite my teen-like physique I have been mistaken for a 40 year-old before. I was thinking that the majority of grad students would be like 23-25, with maybe a few older stragglers like myself. And from that standpoint I was pretty much right on. What I didn't foresee was having combined grad and undergrad classes. Now, we're talking me and 20 year olds. Yikes.

It was the third day of class when the gap became apparent. One of my teachers says, "anyone know who Todd Marinovich is?" My hand shoots up thinking "Duh." The only other person who knew was a U of I football player and "he sorta knew the name." This includes all the mid-20 grads and the stragglers like myself.

My other professor put it best when towards the end of the semester he said that his problem was that he keeps getting new students who remarkably stay the same age as the old ones and though he gets older, he still feels like he's 27. Ditto. I don't tend to look at myself as that much older, one, because I don't spend a lot of time looking at myself and, two, I don't have a lot of the things older people have: Wife and kids, a house, a car, socks.

But this Marinovich thing shook me up. So I looked it up. If he left USC in '91, then a grad student who graduated college in '07 who was 22 would have been . . . 6. So the undergrads--never mind, commence age-complex. It was then that the freshmen (and freshwomen) equipped with their braces, pony tails and jeans tucked into their boots started sticking out like pro wrestlers at Star trek convention. Even though I lived (and still live) in grad housing I was becoming convinced that everyone was 15 years younger than me. I mean even my teacher in Sports Law, who was a law student, was younger than me, and with only two other grad students in a class 45, I constantly overheard talk that made me feel as if I needed to look for my Geritol.

Though the complex probably won't ever entirely go away, I am no longer consumed by it. I'm fine with it. I think the thing that finally made me stop obsessing was the news that my youngest cousin (by 13 years) is enrolling here in the fall as a sophomore. Age is like the weather, you can't stop it. You can only roll out a tarp or put a roof over the field and keep trying to play ball.


Roller said...

Nice post, Coovo. I can only imagine I'd have a similar experience. 2-3 years ago a friend emailed a picture of a "blossoming" late-teenage girl to some of us with the subject "Lindsay". I had no idea who it was, and replied to all with the question. The sender half-jokingly apologized that he should have been more specific, and replied that it was Lindsay Lohan. I still had no idea who Lindsay Lohan was.

But it could be worse, you could be in school with a bunch of people who are 10 years older than you.

I suggest you style your hair like Vanilla Ice, wear a Walk-Man to class and make a habit of singing along to the songs of your youth.

She's so mean, but I don't care!
I love her eyes, and her wild, wild hair.
Dance to the beat that we love best!
Headin' for the '90's, livin in the Wild Wild West!

Marty said...

I think that you should just tell all the undergrad girls that are not in your classes that you're a professor. That way, they're certain to want to sleep with you just to soak up all of your culture and experience. Just go Donald Sutherland from Animal House on these girls...invite them over to discuss some classic literature and have drugs on hand...and of course, be wearing a sweater...and nothing else.

Roller said...

Tweed jacket. With suede elbow guards. Pipe. Horned Rim glasses. Loffers. Leather Briefcase. Your office should be in constant disarray. Mug that says "Three reasons to teach: June, July, August." Always have an apple, an umbrella and picture of your brother Danny Haren on hand.

Professor Coovo. The Art Of Seduction 101. Class is in session.