I used to stay up all night burning candles dim and
punishing my mind, I was searching for the right rhyme.
I cashed a petrol voucher in for a single cream egg so I
could pocket the change. That would buy a dozen beers
later on that day when the overnight essay was eventually
out of the way – 1.5 spacing, a pretty decent
bibliography considering I’d only read the back cover
of one book. (But I read it heaps – as if there was a secret
in there that might help to unlock the essay).
Back then 1500 words would tie us all in knots, now I
lap that shit every day – and no one is asking, there is no
deadline and there are infinite extensions and the bibliography
is a separate document that never needs to be handed in.
I took such pride in passing someone’s philosophy essay for
them; I wasn’t enrolled. But I guaranteed them a pass-grade
(it was a B- and I got a dozen beers for the night of no sleep).
Someone gave me an old stereo and I spent $100 on records
at a dollar a pop. Instant collection. Would play my meditation
tapes in one deck with Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygene playing
on the turntable as a special soundtrack to the spoken instructions.
There were posters on every inch of the wall, when I ran out
of space I just went down the hall.
And for our French exam we wore berets – skulled a cheap
bottle of champers straight after and laughed down the hill.
My only study-prep was reading a book about Charles de Gaulle
so I could drop that name fucking good and extremely hard.
It worked. The B+ made me bulletproof.
History classes were history to me after the very first. Politics
was passed just by reading the paper. And I did like the English
texts because they included On The Road and The Great Gatsby
and things I’d already read or would have wanted to get to anyway.
And hey, another easy pass – and that felt pretty good. And all of
it was such a crock of shit and a whale of a time and a lapse into its
own special – and very entitled – faux-madness. And when the year
was over no one wanted to live in a flat with me and I couldn’t
blame them and I didn’t care. So I moved into a bedsit, let
rats shit wherever they liked, it barely seemed to matter because I
had Songs in The Key of Life and a lava lamp.
I also had no chance of doing it all again. So, sure, I went to
student health and stole the pad with the medical certificates,
faked them a bunch and got the law lecturer
to agree that they were the genuine article.
But when I phoned up for my results the wheels came off.
Big time. I was a joke. And now I knew it too. Things
had to change. But they didn’t.
And it sometimes hurts to think about it – simply because
it’s so stupid, so utterly embarrassing. You might say
wasted talent. But only one of those words is accurate. And it’s
no excuse. And it’s the reason for the embarrassment.
They were good times. I still told myself that.
But even I couldn’t believe
it any longer.