Wednesday, August 7, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 162


Figure out if life is serious or not

Cara Sarelli
Opinion Columnist

OK, so there's this part on page 88 of my copy of Breakfast of Champions, which is a book by Kurt Vonnegut. And anyway, this guy, Kilgore Trout,
who is a not-so-famous science fiction author, is hitching a ride with a complete stranger, who happens to be the driver of an 18-wheeler that
has the word "Pyramid" written on the side of it in all capital letters. And they're rambling about things, kind of like I am now, and the driver says to
Trout that he can't ever tell if he's being serious.

And Trout replies, "I won't know if I am myself until I find out whether life is serious or not." He says, "It's dangerous, I know, and it can hurt a lot.
That doesn't necessarily mean it's serious, too."

So, you're asking yourself what this has to do with the Opinion section, eh? Well, here's where the opinion part comes in: Trout's got a point. 

People are too serious these days, especially college students. Yes, I'm generalizing; I might just know some really serious, hard-working
people and you might not be one of them. But, seriously, there just aren't enough slackers these days—that's not to say we need more, but we
do need more romance, comedy, art and poetry —and room for human error. 

(We also need more Weezer, because Weezer rules.)

Did anyone see that recent issue of Time magazine with the big story about overachieving 21-and-22-year olds who recently graduated college
with A and B grade point averages and can't find jobs because the economy is less-than-booming right now?

Well, I could have been one of them. I'll be 22 one month from today, and I'm a lowly sophomore. But life is great, college is fun, friends are
important. "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may," right? Carpe diem, or whatever. 

It's just that so much stress and sadness exists in the world, when really all people need to do is loosen up a little. I used to believe there was a
time and place to be serious, as there was such to be goofy. But when the lines between the serious and goofy, genius and insane,
wise-beyond-years and totally regressing are blurred a little bit, guards can be let down and life can be lived. Real life, you know? Not just going
through the motions of living, but actually doing it. 

I sure as heck hope this doesn't sound preachy, 'cause I don't have all the answers. Oh, my gosh, I'm almost 22 years old, and I don't know the
meaning of life yet ... no, I don't, and I'm not going to pretend to. 

And I'm not going to grow my hair out so that by the time I am a 30-something professor I can put it in a bun to match my gray suit, either. And I'm
not going to be too old to get drunk with the freshmen this fall. (They'll have to get their own tasty beverages, of course; I'm not about corrupting
young people.) And I'm not going to suddenly stop digging pop-punk music; I mean, A New Found Glory just put out a new album, and I just got a
Superdrag CD today.

Of course, I'll study. I'll read everything and make mostly As like I always do, but at the same time, I'm going to be young. There is more to college
than getting a piece of paper or meeting a future spouse, which is what a lot of people my age talk about. There's more to life than what a person
does. Beauty is inherent in nature, even a city consumed with human nature. Sometimes a sunset in the polluted sky can be just as
breathtaking as one in a clear sky. We've got colors here some country folks have never seen, and I know, 'cause I just returned from nowhere.

Sarelli, a sophomore university studies student who would like to wish Keenan Singleton a happy birthday, can be reached at

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