Slack off and sack squirrels

Sitting at my desk and staring blankly at the everlasting pile of work before me, I spent most of my junior year of high school engulfed in a reverie of the paradise that would be senior year. And heading into second semester and what ultimately is the last lap of my high school career, it has yet to disappoint.

All in all, it has something to do with the fact that this semester really does not matter. Don’t get me wrong, an education has never been comprised of grades and college transcripts, and in no way am I advocating the zombie behavior exhibited in classrooms by students inflicted with senioritis.

Let me resort to a Hollywood analogy to avoid riling up my teachers. In the movie Rat Race, nine people are tricked into embarking on a race to get from Las Vegas to Silver City, New Mexico, with the victor receiving $2 million in cash. As the title indicates, these nine contestants are in fact unknowing contestants in a rat race.

We, too, are unknowing contestants in a rat race. We are caught in a system that tells us that we need good grades to get into college, good grades in college to get a good job, a good job to make a lot of money, and a lot of money to be happy. Life will always have some version of John Cleese in it, constantly making us run after the perpetual carrot dancing before us.

And finally, we seniors have reached a long awaited and undoubtedly well-deserved break in the rat race of life. The pressures of academia are for all intents and purposes insignificant, and we are left to relish, relax, and recoup.

With our college applications submitted, no longer is getting good grades the basis of our focus, but now our attention can be shifted to other, more important things. It isn’t so much about resorting to a complete apathy towards schoolwork as previously alluded to, but rather that there no longer is pressure for us to commit anything and everything to our classes. Up until now, our time and energy has been devoted to our academic performance, but for one year, our occupation no longer has to be constricted to solely being a student. For example, this year I am Jay Lee, amateur filmmaker and avid squirrel-hunter. With our newfound time and energy, the possibilities are endless.

We realize that this utopian state of “chillage” is only temporary, as we will move on to the next level- that of college- where we will look to accumulate enough decent grades in between binge drinking and having multiple sex partners in order to get us any type of employment in the face of outsourcing and a shaky economy. That’s what makes it that much more imperative for us to enjoy the here and now. Lap One may be completed, but Lap Two looms ahead, so taking a breather to stretch and relax may actually be beneficial rather than counter-productive.

Out of the nine contestants competing in Rat Race, the first person to reach Silver City was Rowan “Mr. Bean” Atkinson’s character, who ironically enough, suffers from a severe case of narcolepsy. As he first began his trek towards Silver City, he abruptly falls asleep mid-gait in the hotel lobby, leaving curious bystanders to question aloud, “Is he dead?”

Maybe Paramount Pictures and the creators of Rat Race were on to something. If the outcome is not adversely affected, there really must be very little harm in taking naps in hotel lobbies. Often times, the behavior of second semester seniors leaves those around them wondering, “Are they dead?” No, we are not dead, we are very much alive. We are merely taking a break.

A point has been reached in the rat race where we have half a year to take as long of a nap in the hotel lobby as we please without adversely affecting the outcome of the race. It would be absolutely tragic not to take advantage of such circumstances. So play your music a little louder, nap a little longer, and finally hunt down that squirrel that has been giving you the evil eye. We’re going to be stuck in this rat race of life for quite a while, we might as well take the breaks as they come and enjoy as much as we can of what is left of our senior year.

This column was originally published in Glenbrook South High School’s Oracle in January 2008.


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