Me in my mind
Me in reality
If I die, someone please make it look like a suicide caused by the unjust cancellation of Firefly.
When she asks you if you want to go get some ice cream, SAY YES!
Keep your promises, even when you’re lonely and you think you’ll meet a girl at that party you’d rather go to.
Treat everyone with respect and dignity, and know that you are always deserving of the same. Do not mourn the loss of anyone who treats you otherwise.
Any time you do not feel enough love in your life, love others more. It will come back to you many times over.
Don’t drink so much cola, and avoid red meat. Your intestines will thank you later.
Try running. Go for endurance, not speed.
But seriously, the ice cream. Even if you’re not hungry.
I went to high school in a small town in Arizona. I was a nerd, and looking to get as far from my dysfunctional home as possible. So I applied to MIT. I got waitlisted, but a spot opened up. It was the first time in years that someone from my school had been accepted to MIT, and only the second time ever. But that year there were two of us. Deanna was a friend, sometime rival, and I worked for her father every summer. Did you catch the part about it being a small town?
She went on to have what I would call a successful college experience. I got struck down with Crohn’s ileitis from the very start. Spent two months with the med center trying to figure out what was wrong. Finally got put on prednisone, and after about five days, the debilitating pain started to ease up. I ended up salvaging a few classes from that semester. Tried again in the spring, but in the end, even with the steroid treatments, it was too much.
I spent a couple of years taking time off from school. Almost died from some kind of viral infection that made me throw up or dry heave about 40 times within an hour, including one time so hard that a stewed tomato came out through my nostril, and gave me a fever of 106ºF by the time I went to the emergency room. My “photographic memory” was never quite the same after that, so there may have been some minor brain damage.
Anyway, I somehow figured out that I could manage my Crohn’s without medication if I simply avoided all caffeine and related xanthine alkaloids (think “tea” and “chocolate”.) By then, I had been on prednisone for two solid years. One of the side effects of long-term steroid use? Depression. Not to say I wouldn’t still suffer from some form of clinical depression today, but I’d certainly have better odds if I’d never had Crohn’s.
Two years later, I went back to MIT, found some old friends, made new friends, studied for two and a half more years, struggled with undiagnosed depression, and then, sometime during that last semester, finally started getting counseling. There was talk of Prozac, but I never got connected with someone who could write a prescription.
If I had, everything probably would have been different. When I came home and I finally saw my doctor and got started on Prozac, it was like night and day. I am not exaggerating when I say that it saved my life.
Still, even without finishing my degree, MIT taught me things. And not just loads of technical knowledge, much of which is outdated now, anyway. The most important thing, which seems so obvious now after 42 years of living, is that I don’t have to know how to do something in order to do it: I only have to have some place to start. I can figure out the rest as I go along. To a know-it-all from a small town, suddenly thrust into a bigger world, that’s been a pretty valuable lesson.
I wanted to be an astronaut. I still wish I could. It’s heartbreaking to me that the only nation to ever put men on the moon now doesn’t even have a vehicle of its own that can take someone to low earth orbit.