Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

Surly, ill-tempered, crass, offensive and colorful are all words that have been used to describe me, but “old” has only recently been added to the litany of less than enviable descriptors about my person.

Admittedly, there’s no question that I feel older, especially whilst shaking my fist at more youthful drivers on the road or silently complaining to myself when confronted with Pokémon Go players.

Quite frequently, I assume my waxing readership is about the age of 12, and to them I must seem like Schmuckey the Clown, an antiquated relic from an age before the advent of social media.

There are benefits to having a dilapidated, old curmudgeon like myself around: I have a broad range of experiences based off of a lifetime of poor decisions, and I’d like to share some of those maxims with you today.

1. Be a social butterfly

…offline. Listen, it’s not like I don’t get it: Social media is arguably the most dynamic invention in human communication since Sumerian Cuneiform was developed an epoch ago, but that doesn’t mean you ought to bury your face in your mobile device 90 percent of the time you’re awake.

Honestly, how many times can you refresh your newsfeed? Pay attention to the people around you and the answer to that question is mind-boggling. The funny part about this behavior is that you’re ultimately stunting yourself socially, which is ironic, and I have proof to back this up.

Take humor and/or sarcasm for example. In real life, it has the potential of netting you all sorts of intangible rewards. Your friends will think you’re witty, potential partners will think you’re more attractive (sometimes), and your overall demeanor will be more positive, provided of course you prevent yourself from acting like an imbecile.

A perfect example of how this works can be found as close to us as our parents. My mother thought my father was a laugh-riot, and they’ve been together for 32 years, thanks in part to his never waning sense of “humor.”

Take that same behavior to the internet, and, woo-hoo… you’re in for a rude awakening. The same witty retorts that garnered acclaim from friends, family and strangers alike will more than likely deliver a mixed bag of results if you’re lucky.

Couple the incendiary remarks with the troglodytic experience of hiding in what can only be construed as a cave will inevitably lead to your de-evolution into one of the most basic creatures on Planet Earth… a troll, and we all know what happens to trolls (Hint: Fire, either literal or metaphorical, will be involved).

2. There’s more to life than money

…and that’s a good thing, considering our economy is beginning to resemble an off-color carnival goldfish. Sure, it’s swimming around now, but at some point we know we’re going to find it bloated, belly up, drifting listlessly around its tank and the only thing left to do at that point is to flush the thing before our children notice it’s gone missing.

So what’s the moral here you may ask? Simple: Be cognizant of your finances, folks, because the future’s looking grim and you won’t be able to get away with half as many ridiculous fiscal antics as I did.

Don’t let the Republicans fool you with the clamoring about the stock market either; those yahoos don’t understand how economics work any better than you or I do, and just like my soon-to-be brother in law, they fail to understand how important balancing a budget actually is.

Rest assured—like rest stop sushi, the mistakes we make today will haunt us tomorrow. As previously mentioned, the bathroom will be out of order due to an overabundance of our dearly departed carnival fish.

3. Be productive

…outside of class or work. Although this sounds easy, I’ve found that most people are confused when I present this concept, and it only gets worse when I dig into the deeper meaning of things. Seriously, if you try explaining Heidegger or Camus to some of your cohorts, you won’t have enough breadcrumbs to get home.

The best thing I can do for this generation is to spell it out as simply as possible: Make a thing. Anything. I don’t care what it is, just produce something, even if it’s total crap. Write a book, build a log cabin, program the next Pokémon Go clone, or, heck, whittle and sell your thing at a fair.

What many young people don’t understand is the deep satisfaction you can get from creating something as opposed to the satisfaction you get from lifting weight, complaining about politics or chilling with your friends. Upon completing your thing, you’ll be able to say, “THIS, I have done!”

You’ll experience a fulfillment, or resentment you’ve never known (depending on how horrible your thing turns out). Either way, you’ll have learned something about yourself, and that, supposedly, is what college is all about.

Ryan Wasser is a fifth-year student majoring in English writings track. He can be reached at RW851045@wcupa.edu.

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