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Volume 68, Issue 109, Wedenesday, March 12, 2003


Basket case turned playwright

Jim McCormick
Opinion Columnist

Spring Break was truly wonderful. It allowed me time to reflect on my life. It also allowed me to catch up on all that terrible daytime television that Iive been missing and to start working on a new play.

Why do I do such a thing, you may ask? It seems as though I need to write to maintain my sanity. For me, a case of writeris block is enough to push me over the edge. However, it hasnit always been that way. Two years ago, I would have been fine without something to write about. In fact, at that time, if I were to stop writing, it would have meant that I was successful in my goal of annoying the local school administrators.

Back in October 2001, however, all of that changed. For some reason that I donit understand, I asked a girl out. Despite the fact that she was quite plain, her face really was her best feature. It seems that after I sent her an email and asked her out, she assumed I was stalking her. I learned my lesson about stalking last year. Itis a long story. The person filed a report with the school districtis police force, who called my assistant principals.

If any other assistant principal would have received that report, he or she might have laughed at it, called the girl and her father (who was also behind the report) and informed them that they were crazy for thinking that I would do such a thing.

Instead, the two principals who received the report called her father, who issued death threats over the phone. The principals called me in at lunch break to interrogate me. I wasn't aware of the interrogation at first, but in retrospect, once I realized what was going on, I should have stopped the questioning and asked to call my parents and a lawyer. So, in the course of a few hours, Iive been the victim of verbal assault and been interrogated without the presence of a lawyer or my parents. 

This was enough to send me into a downward emotional spiral, which ended when I flipped out one Friday night after my father laid into me about the situation. If I had known where I could have found one of our old hunting rifles and the ammo, I probably would have committed suicide. 

After a visit by the police, who succeeded in calming me down to a non-suicidal point, I took a shower and had a drink to help me sleep. I donit encourage drinking in this kind of situation, but I seem to remember that we had just run out of sleep aids the night before, so alcohol became the depressant of choice.

After a week of scraping myself up off the floor, I found myself bored in Spanish class, sitting in one of those circular chairs in the corner of the room. As I have illegible handwriting, I had a laptop beside me at the time. I pulled it out, plugged it in, sat back in my chair and started to type.

When I finished, I showed it to my English teacher. It had come out as a rip-off of the typical Shakespearean tragedy, and if it hadn't ended so badly, it would have been funny. It still needed a few edits, and after a little work, the plot was ready. I presented it as part of an English project that I had been given before the situation arose. The teacher didnit appreciate the fact that she had to flip through a 117-page book -- the play was the last 51-- but I still got an A and a positive review.

Since that time, I'm not quite myself if Iim not writing something. Itis become too central to my regained sanity for me to give up. I still canit seem to write a journal or anything, but I am a bit more in touch with my creative side now.

Now Iim more into writing comedy. Though it's harder to bring to a close, it's not as emotionally demanding or as depressing as tragedy. Iid still like to sit down and write a novel, but that will take work on my concentration and focus. 

McCormick, a freshman Biology major, can be reached at


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