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Wednesday, September 29, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 27

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Life -- you gotta live with it

Duy Dao

Every morning, the first thing I do is pray. I pray that every time I have to go to the john, I don't have to bungee-jump from the top bunkbed without busting my knee caps (Yes, I have succumbed to the dorm life). I pray that the idiot who habitually refuses to flush the toilet in stall No. 1 realizes that the knob is growing a thick coat of dust large enough to wear in the wintertime.

I pray that four straight days of sleep deprivation will create hallucinations so bizarre that the Sandman will stand on my pillow like the Pillsbury Dough Boy and all I have to do is tickle his belly button to fall back asleep.

Repeat after me: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

I'm not a religious fanatic but I like to pray for no particular reason. I'm more agnostic, which means I haven't found my god yet. Being superstitious keeps you honest at times.

Suppose a mosquito lands on my arm and I make a decision to squash the living crap out of it. If it is "the chosen one," will a divine being 10 times its size come back and suck all the blood out of me through a very thick straw mouth? I need not know the answer to the unanswerable.

For the past year, my only form of transportation was a second-hand dirt bike. For a piece of crap, it took me places. I rode it to class. I rode it to Kroger. I rode figure-eights all through my neighborhood in a drunken frenzy and never wrecked it. Through rain, sleet, snow, and carbon-spewing hit-and-run drivers, it took me places. I'd ride it to Timbuktu if someone hadn't slashed both tires a few weeks ago.

My conclusion is that a divine being from some sacred realm of Third Ward is responsible. I think it's God's way of saying, "Duy, I sent an angel down from heaven to slash your tires because your bike's a crock anyway." 

Besides, adversity has followed me all my life. There is nothing I haven't faced that I could not resolve. The friends I have are scarce. I talk to the television set more than anything.

I'm almost certain that a higher being wants me to be wretched and lonely because it supposedly builds character. It's funny, though. My drill instructor in boot camp told me the exact same thing while I puked powdered eggs all over his spit-shined combat boots after attempting my 200th push-up.

I think I should be grateful for good health. I've done a lot of things in the past to put my body in jeopardy and still, I am quite fit. How do we explain the phenomenon of healthy, addiction-free individuals who are still dying from incurable diseases, though? Look at Lou Gehrig and Kim Perrot. Look at Keith Richards (no, wait, he's still alive ... I think. And he's not exactly a saint, either).

What I'm getting at is misfortune should never be a burden. If I choose to live today, I can only die tomorrow. The world is mine and I am the happiest man alive. 

No one really has control over his/her fate in this world. If a madman goes into my room and shoots me for scratching my left butt cheek instead of my right, so be it. If I quit smoking and still die from high cholesterol because I ate one too many powdered-egg omelets, that's life.

Dao, a senior media production major,
can be reached at Dweevil@hotmail.com.
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