confessions embarrassment

Ian's construX XonfezzionZ: the Essay Incident

9:38:00 AMPaul

This one is not so much a xonfezzion in that I'm embarrassed as to what happened here, but rather in the sense that no one, ever, has been familiarized with this story, which tells of a scrivener-like determination to avoid one's assignations, assuming instead the most assinine of postures.

For some reason, not only was it decided that I go to college, but someone within the Clemente household at the time truly believed I was proper fodder for a collegiate honor's student.  It may have even been me that initially conceived this completely conceited contrivance.  So I applied to Honors colleges nationwide*.  Later regretting the decision, I made a calculated attempt at eliminating myself from consideration at many institutions by either not responding, not pursuing or, in the one instance where my mother was actually interested and therefore (passive)aggressively encouraging (enforcing) my application process to the IUP Honors College, not even remotely trying**.  The example that resonates with me is my answer to the following question "Between losing your sight or your hearing, would you choose blindness or deafness, etc etc etc?"  I thought of the silliest answers I could at the time***.  I can't remember what I answered for the other essay I selected (or what I selected...) and I know there was a word limit that I strictly obeyed^.

I don't even really clearly recall most of what I wrote.  I know that after a long and thoughtful and fruitful contemplative meditation, I opted to lose my eyesight.  The only logic I can remember verbatim is that, "While I wouldn't be able to watch my favorite show, The A-Team, I would still be able to hear BA Baracus call people fools..."  I'm assuming I received a rejection letter a month later because I failed to mention that BA often also called his friends and enemies suckas.  That's the reason I remember so vividly the exchange, either that or the fact that even at the time (as well as now with compounded insight), I had legitimately good responses that I still contemplate. I would like to use this space and take this opportunity and waste your time to properly answer this question.

*[The story of my enrollment into higher education is recounted often and bitterly, as I had at the time no desire to attend, and quickly set about to wasting the four years allotted to me (although one major accomplishment I fervently labored to execute was that of completing in just those four years, no longer an average span, if I'm to take my peers' examples.)  The only firm missive was to go, with no consideration as to my desired field of study (I was passiveaggressively pushed towards law, but I knew even then that I would have already suffered a fatal heart attack attempting the bar and I found out just this year that such a phenomenon exists as the unemployed lawyer!) and no investigation as to the most beneficial institution; it was only decided that I needed to go in-state as to take full advantage of all the financial aid available to me (though it should be pointed out that I was expected to go to school and to pay for it (that's another story) and duly noted that the father pressing me to go to school as cheaply as possible also passed on the opportunity to go for four years for free through his own father...all side jabs these).  So for no other reason than the apple of my young and green eye would be hitting the books at CMU, I decided to study down the road at Pitt (and I remember having to lobby hard at first).  In order to leave it as the only plausible choice out of a total three or four seriously considered (all in Western PA) was by sabotaging the others.]

**[In all fairness, I have to admit it probably doesn't matter what college anyone goes to and all that trash because we all end up gouging and gauging each other assessing assumptions that we all possess innately the skill we studied or wasted the years of our happiness pursuing that which would elude us furtehr forever.   I remember having researched briefly the honors college at IUP (my mother's alma mater and my brother's all that mattered).  The students in the program received their own dorm complete with 24 hour quiet hours.  While I remember the sample dorm with its threadbare carpeting appearing like a cramped version of what I would come to later define as a suicide apartment, I certianly could use some imposed quietude these days.  Not then, though, and I remember glazing through the rest of the tour dreading change and deriding it in silent monologue as the death of fun I had known my whole life--or in that moment convinced myself I had known).]

^[I would always very formally comply with formatting rules while always trying to iconoclastically and snottily defy the rules concerning content of various writing and scholarship contests. As one can imagine, I never won any of the scant few I actually entered.  And would you believe that my free form paen to lightning bugs was actually returned to me?!  Not because it was a terrible sub-juvenile attempt at hyper-intellectualized childlike wonderment, but because it exceeded the prescribed bottom margin.]

***[During my first semester, I knew I wanted to study fiction writing, but my first course (by Keely Bowers), doubled with my disobedient negligence and impish impetuosity at the time resulted in a quick change to literature and a minor in journalism.  I still maintain that the first and only journalism course (Dean Kearnes') I completed was the most beneficial in terms of strengthening my writing and analyzing structure (a course I can truly admit having benefitted me practically).  It was in the first day of Newspaper 1 the following term that I realized how dreafully boring the entire process was and would be (and I haven't yet confirmed this, but I strongly suspect there's out-of-work Journalists too!).  I went to the office of life decisions and talked to them about my options and opportunities.  For a fleeting moment (of about a week) I set off on a course to teach secondary education...  That's a successfully buried fact that's exclusive to you chuX chaZerZ.  This led em to replace the Newspaper time slot with my first ever art course, taught by Kenneth J. Neal who would become a longtime mentor and associate.  I quickly dismissed the idea of teaching anyone else anything for the entireity of my life.  So I had finally found my cirriculum, literature and art history.  I have never come close to using either degree in any practical way, but at least I got to spend a portion of my youth learning that there are those in this world who strive to create beauty (as well as those who pretentiously (r)ape or malign beauty or depth for their own egotistical gratification and misapplication of the artist title) and have taken comfort that there are unemployed accountants and informationalists too so it doesn't much matter what you major in because colleges give nothing except... um, nothing.]

****[What ended up occurring, though, is that in my housing scramble to avoid a repeat of what had happened in my first year (cramped and depressed and disappointed and instigatory, although Alma Hollis visited me once!), I applied to the honors college and actually was accepted, but although the cramped portion of the equation was alleviated, I was still constantly depressed and disappointed as the newness and casualness of the initial depressing introduction to college life wore off, replaced by mounting responsibilities (and I don't actually mean that euphemistically).]

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