You go to school. Well, I say go, you’re forced against your childish instincts of play to go to school. Parents chuck you in, glad to be rid of your screaming, attention seeking self, glad to return to a bed at a decent time and not have to worry about you shitting yourself again.
So you’re thrown into a school so some mid twenties graduate can teach you how two plus two works while trying to stop one of the kids from eating crayons and shoving micro machines up their nostrils. I emphasise “trying”, because these are some determined kids.
And it goes on, moving slowly up the grades, slowly encountering teachers of all varieties: bored teachers, sadistic teachers, depressed teachers, actually interesting teachers who give a damn, teachers that give zero fucks and read the text book until one of the sleeping kids falls of a chair and cries.
Meanwhile your parents are increasingly concerned with your “odd” fashion choices in your teens and wondering what the hell you’re doing for six hours at a time in your bedroom in eerie, headphone powered silence. They’re just glad you’ve stopped using your clothes as a urinal at this point.
You learn more from school, you pick up interesting facts from some of the more interesting teachers, you play, you spend time outside of school, you do dumb shit, and then suddenly:
Exams fucking everywhere. It’s an exam apocalypse. The teachers, the staff and your parents are acting like its the end of the fucking world if you don’t PICK UP A TEXT BOOK AND LEARN IT YOU BASTARD, LEARN! This is at a time when you discover that that girl that used to have cooties in year 2 is starting to like very interesting now, despite that fact your pimple wrecked face has zero chance at having a conversation longer than the words “Um, uh, what? hey. Hey!…oh”.
So you’re mostly distracted by the appearance of boobs and the apparent end of all existence that’s coming.
The exams loom, everyone proclaiming your life will terminate and heaven will fall from the sky and crush your very soul into paste if you don’t pass every one of them. All the teachers (even the cool ones – yes they exist, rare as they are) start slamming exam practice, and suddenly every subject – science, math, music, English, art – even fucking art for Christ’s sake – boil down to rote learning an exam script and every question and answer.
It’s tedious. Dull. You think you had an interest in chemistry at one point but that got burnt out of you when you ended up spending two hours practicing exam technique.
This is about six months before the exam you’re supposed to take.
Everyone is fucking bored. You’re sixteen, waiting to just kick these exams into touch to do the more interesting things.
Your parents still question your ever changing wardrobe and keep reminding you to do it so you can go to college, so you can do it to go to university.
And lo, you pass! Hurray! Everyone’s gathered for results day, everyone’s happy, everyone’s asking you what you want to do with your life and you smile and say “Oh, plenty of things” before realising that you haven’t given a day’s thought about tomorrow between fucking about in a park after school and slamming Xbox all evening.
You bid your farewell to the cool teachers that actually taught cool stuff, that made you think. You nod at the other teachers that were fairly laid back and didn’t push you. You know, the type that chatted about foreign schools at great length (a trick you tried to repeat ad infinitum every single day to avoid speaking French – to mixed results). You ignore the shit ones, and lo and behold, their apathy is still in full force.
So you go to college, picking an assortment of subjects you might like/be good at. And you go through the process again, only its harder, more involved, and your wardrobe choices are far more distressing as no one wears a shitty uniform any more. People start driving, and suddenly the idea of late night KFC becomes the thing to do between 16 and 18, as if a shitty takeaway reachable only by car is late teen mecca.
Some of you discover curious hobbies – music, technology, weed. Everyone discovers alcohol, even though that was already in vogue in school, and no one had a tolerance beyond three cans of bow before breaking down into a crying heap. That’s if they don’t either vomit over someone (It’s always someone), or declare their love for a girl they caught a glimpse of down the road once two weeks ago.
You burn through college, again the threat of exams dangling like Damocle’s sword over a future you still have fucking zero idea about because everyone’s been banging on about tests and revision. You took a science but so far you’ve learned how to answer questions and not actually anything about science. You think it started with P.
But you got an A! You must be so smart!
So you take your As. You take them all the way to UCAS, picking universities you’ve heard of, universities you’ve never heard of but look decent, and “universities” that would accept a particularly well trained puppy if it paid the tuition.
And off you go!
Into Debt. You spend three years in uni, meeting super interesting people, actually learning for once (even though the lecturers are somehow even less interested than the school teachers) and end up doing dumb, stupid shit in the time you should be becoming a smart, clever shit in a given field. Or at least give the impression you are.
You take a job in some random student bar, pouring pints for punters and trying to avoid giving freebies to flatmates. It pays awful and you don’t sleep but who cares – you’re starting to earn money. I mean the job’s kinda pointless but it pays and keeps you going. you’ve got eyes on bigger things now. It’ll do to tide you over.
Eventually, after the fun and games, and the dissertation, and slamming exams (again), you pass. You graduate. You’re free. You throw the hat into the hair, people take pictures, it’s all grand!
Fucking A – it’s over! You can now actually earn money! Well decent money – you’ve been dreaming of having your own place, just to get out there on your own for a while.
Or so you think.
Turns out that was crap and no one wants a fucking graduate that’s done geology, English literature or the study of the habits of East Indian Pirates in their fucking company. Right now, the only jobs going are call centre ones or admin temping.
Unfortunately you’ve moved back home so the bar back in uni is lost to you.
But it’s ok! You work really, really hard to get out of the mess you’re in. A company offers a grad position. After months of rejection, pain and hard graft, someone values you.
You take it. I mean, it will do for now. And you’ve done what you’ve been told to do all the way through life – get a job, earn some money.
Everything up till now has lead to this point.
You get a desk, company phone, laptop, company ID. You suit up. You get a flat, you move out, you get a car, you commute. You pay taxes.
You do this for a while.
Work tirelessly at first.
Work some more….
Work a bit.
Then not at all.
“How is the report?”
“Good, have it by my desk on Monday.”
“…sure. Want some of my soul with that?”
“Please, if you could. It would taste delicious. Do you have any tears to go with it?”
And that’s when you starting asking:
What the fuck is your job?
Analyst? What the fuck are you analysing? I guarantee it will be a Wikipedia page on ancient greek crockery, even though you previously had no god damn interest in it.
But the thought of even opening an excel document has you frantically searching the internet for something, anything that can further that clock’s advancement to 5pm, so you can fuck off and wallow in self pity every evening before doing the exact same thing tomorrow.
I mean you could look for a more important job but that requires effort. Effort you’re out of, because you “Work” 40 hours a week which leaves you so mentally devoid of any faculty you’re starting to wonder when your mind will snap and drool escapes your lips onto the keyboard.
Fuck, if you did that your boss might even promote you for being so committed to your job you appear to have self-lobotomised yourself through sheer hard graft (more like sheer fucking tedium).
Ain’t life grand. I mean the job’s kinda pointless but it pays and keeps you going. It’ll do to tide you over.
Any day now, you’ll up root and actually find yourself.
Any day now….