Post Grad – A person newly coming to terms with the harsh reality that, like The Sopranos and good Disney Channel Original Movies, college life is gone forever.
(Source: My fucking life)
I first noticed this little phenomenon about a year after graduating, when I realized I had no fucking clue where those 12 months had gone, let alone where or how I drunkenly spent them. Rather than face the reality that I might have a problem, I decided there had to be another explanation and thus, the Post Grad Binge was born. It’s hard to be too specific about it because it takes different forms and everyone goes through this stage in their own way. Whether you spend that time soul-searching, traveling, or gaining a whole new perspective on the harsh realities of inner-city life (shout out to The Wire), for better or worse, it’s always temporary. There are several types of bingers but thanks to me, you won’t have to waste an entire day thinking of creative ways to make your suicide trend on Twitter because after spending hours reading pathetic Thought Catalog posts trying to figure out what I’m about to tell you, you’ve lost all hope in humanity… you’re welcome.
Speaking of pitiful shit, of all the possible things that could follow a milestone like graduating from a place you spent four years (in some cases, maybe a little more) cultivating your independence and individuality, a one-year extended vacation sleeping in your old room cannot be at the top of anyone’s list. Sure, there are a few perks that come with this little escape from reality, like rent-free living and home cooked meals. However, the all-expenses-paid aspect of this situation is just a thin silver lining on the colossal black cloud of “Fuck Your Privacy” that is coming and it’s just one of many in the shit storm that is about to be your life. Notwithstanding the few times I had to stay with my parents during moves or remodels, I can’t say that I ever experienced any of this shit personally but I’ve definitely seen what it does to those who have. Ironically enough, the people who make these ill-advised decisions are the ones who have always been smart and known as the responsible ones amongst their friends.
It almost reminds me of a famous proverb: “The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” I’m sure these people meant well and thought about every aspect of that decision before making it, but despite all that, the result is more or less always the same…they live at home for a year and become antisocial loners whose unfortunate living situations prevent them from growing as individuals. To be fair, it is particularly difficult to convince new friends you have your shit together when you’re still getting the “Where are you?” texts from mommy wondering if you’ll be home for dinner. Not to mention the anxiety attack a guy gets when he thinks a girl might be interested in him. Suddenly, the phrase “let’s go back to your place” becomes the scariest six words in the English language, after “We need to talk. I’m pregnant.”
Suffice to say, these poor souls spend a year in adulthood limbo binging on old memories and fostering a sad “what if” mentality that eventually causes them to become jaded and basically, no fucking fun. You know that friend who graduated a year before you that you were thinking about reconnecting with once you two were back in the same town again? Yeah, that person – let’s assume their name’s “Alex.” If Alex seems to always have a face that says, “my dog just died” mixed with a little “I may have killed it”, then I have some bad news for you. Alex is no longer the person you remember from college. The Alex you knew went to the “Michael Vick’s backyard” of post grad life and after failing to come to terms with life chained to a truck axle, lost all will to live and died. There is now a new Alex, but don’t expect this one to be pleasant…or fetch.
As crazy as it might be to live at home again, I at least understand the decision. What I don’t understand is why so many people romanticize the idea of traveling abroad. I’ve been all over the world and no matter where I was – Mexico, Italy, or New Orleans (if you tell me Louisiana is the same fucking country, you’ve clearly never been) – after about a week, I always feel the same way…I can’t wait to get back to America. If you really wanna be able to drop that “Well when I backpacked through Europe” line, because let’s face it, that’s half the reason people do it in the first place, just fucking lie. At least that way all your friends won’t have to pretend to give a shit about all of the pictures you took while you weren’t busy making annoying tourist poses on Mount Who-gives-a-fuck, near the I-hope-my-ex-sees-this monument. And just in case you were wondering, when you ask your friends if they saw the albums you uploaded on Facebook during your trip and they say yes, they’re lying…every single one of them.
Maybe it’s because I’m not really into exploring other cultures or feeling hopeless when I ask someone for help because no one speaks fucking English. It sounds harmless enough, but wait until your phone dies and you’re lost in the middle of Louisiana. On the off chance you’ve watched enough Lil’ Wayne interviews to understand what the fuck anyone there is saying, you still have to navigate road hazards like drunk drivers, alligators, and pregnant women. You better hope you don’t get lost on the way to a dentist; otherwise, you’re really shit out of luck. Seriously though, with movies out there like Hostel, Hostel II, even Hostel III, and Turistas, it boggles my mind how an otherwise reasonable person can still be like, “Ya know, I’m living comfortably in the best country in the world and now that I’m a college graduate, instead of chipping away at whatever debt I now have because of that degree, I’m gonna blow an unreasonable amount of money to live like a fucking foreigner.” Call me crazy, I guess.
Personally, I prefer the traditional type of binge…you know, the one that involves unhealthy amounts of alcohol and drugs, along with more “general health check-ups” *cough – STD tests – cough* than a hypochondriac with a slow connection to WebMD. Maybe it’s the Southern upbringing talking, but I don’t think I’m alone when I say that fucking while drunk comes as natural to me as holding a door open for a stranger. However, remembering to put a condom on drunk has never been so second nature to me. Thankfully, as most of my stories have illustrated, I am blessed with an unfair amount of good luck. It’s that sense of invulnerability that usually leads to this type of “no fucks given” depraved binge or in my case, overall lifestyle but that’s neither here nor there.
I’m sure my own time in “adult limbo” was significantly more eventful than most but they all usually involve more or less of the same type of immoral behavior: excessive drinking, incidental drug use, wanton promiscuity, and countless nights typing “signs of addiction” into Google and watching Intervention. In some cases, your moral ambiguity might be marginally offset by your generous contributions to charity. At least that’s what I kept telling myself when I found that significant portions of my monthly income were going toward underprivileged women and single mothers. Unfortunately, unlike the women I was helping, the IRS was not so flexible and refused to write-off my many charitable contributions to “The Men’s Club” and “Treasures”. I did, however, get credit for “St. James” but it may have been because I conveniently left off the “Restaurant and Cabaret” part. I should probably verify that with my accountant, but you have no idea how hard it is to get a straight answer when you call a strip club asking for a tax ID number.
While my binge may have been much more exciting, it also came with a lot more judgment. Granted, most of these judgments came from people I could give little to no fucks about, it was still annoying as shit. It was like having a life librarian, only instead of shushing you whenever you were too loud, the bitch shot you dirty looks and made condescending remarks on your Facebook posts. Sure, it’s a small price to pay for being awesome but sooner or later, you start to feel like you’re fucking up. Regardless of how much you have your shit together (technically speaking), getting off your parents’ AT&T account, paying your own bills, and getting your rent in on time isn’t enough to silence the little voice in your head that says, “what are you doing with your life?”
That’s because at the end of the day, the binge is essentially just a brief escape from reality. Regardless if you drank until you bore an uncomfortable resemblance to Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas, you went backpacking in Europe, or you never left your zip code, when the binge is over, you have to face the real world. I still have no clue what that is, although, I feel like I’m supposed to. But I guess that’s what being an adult is, right? Trying to navigate the twists and turns of this crazy interstate called life in hopes that each spontaneous exit you take will eventually lead you back to the highway.
One thing I’ve learned since I walked off that stage with my cap and gown is that, regardless of the type of binge, most people never stop hearing that little voice. Personally, I’ve given up on drowning that voice out; God knows I’ve tried. For now, I’m just keeping an eye out for the “Good time” exit signs on the highway because when it’s all said and done, it’s the long drive that eventually turns you into the person you’re supposed to be. Sure, the straight and narrow will keep you on the “right path,” but what good is that if you’re still the same motherfucker you were when you got in the car?
Well, my Jameson is getting dangerously low, so I think I’ll go ahead and end it on that note. Also, I’m starting to reach that level of buzzed where I think I’m a fucking philosopher, which is fine until I call my ex to educate her on the concept of Karma (i.e., the reason her life has turned out so shitty is because she was a whore and that maybe, if she hadn’t fucked one of my pledges while we were dating, her baby’s father would still be in the picture). In any case, that’s all for now. I hope you’ve learned something or at the very least, enjoyed reading my bullshit.
Taken from MORALLY CHALLENGED, an upcoming novel by Vincent Patrick.
Image via Shutterstock