I’m 23 years old, about to graduate with zero job prospects and my hairline is rapidly receding. What could be better? I used to think the quarter-life crisis was just a marketing gimmick, but now that I’m living it, I’ve changed my tune. Times like these can make a man yearn for the days when things were simpler and he thought he would one day grow up to play first base for the Detroit Tigers.

Jess Cox

No matter. Things have a way of working out, and while it might be therapeutic to use this space to complain about my personal problems, I’ll spare you. I’d rather take these last 800 or so words to reflect on my last two years here at Oh Yeah? and maybe impart a little wisdom on my way out the door. For reasons I don’t feel like discussing, the past four years have felt more like 40, so you’ll have to excuse me if I have come off like a bitter 63-year-old man at times.

I came into this gig as a wiseass punk looking to stick it to the likes of George W. Bush and conservative America, to take a stand and to make a real difference. The only problem was that in the grand scheme, none of it meant anything. Dust in the wind, etc. The Age of Information has been great and all, but we reached the saturation point a while ago, somewhere between the inception of Fox News and the start of the 37-millionth blog. Information exists for information’s sake. We have more than we could ever need, and much more than we could ever want. I’ve lost faith and interest in the written word, and TV news has taken on a terrifying life of its own. But don’t let me stop you — Blog on, you crazy diamonds.

A few people who read Volume I two weeks ago wrote me and mentioned that I seemed broken and weary. Truth is, I am. I’m tired of pretending to be happy or angry or interested or whatever, when I’m really just tired, bored and sad. I’ve slowly realized that I don’t have it in me to change the world, so it’s probably time to move on and give politics and caring a rest.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from this campus and this city, it’s that there are so many well-intentioned wannabe world-changers who, like me, lack the capacity to make any real difference. Unless you’re a Gandhi or MLK, the kind of person who comes along once in a generation if we’re lucky, there’s not much you can do to save the world from itself. I’m not suggesting that everybody should stop caring or give up, but maybe it’s time to try something else for once. The answer to all of the world’s problems isn’t a rally on the Diag or a march on City Hall, nor is it complaining or writing a newspaper column or anything else so superficial for that matter. And since that’s all anyone can come up with, I guess we’re stuck. I sure as hell don’t have any answers for you. I’m starting to think the 18th-century thinkers were onto something with the whole enlightened self-interest thing, whereby pursuing one’s own interests, within reason, one could in turn benefit the society as a whole. Or at least not make it any worse. I could go on about the loneliness of the human condition, etc., but I’m trying hard not to sound like an English major’s LiveJournal. Anyway, I think you catch my drift.

Where does all that leave me? I guess if everything works out, unburdened — but also alone, which I’ll have to deal with. I suppose I’ll live and let live for a while and see where I end up. This is supposed to be the time in a person’s life when he finds a career and settles into the niche he’ll occupy until his death, but that doesn’t sound like anything I should be in a hurry to do. Now that I have absolutely nothing in my life to hold on to, maybe I’ll just drift for a while and see where I end up. Or maybe I’ll try out for the Tigers after all.

And where does all that leave you? That’s up to you. I’ve said all I have to say, and you can take it or leave it. If you think I’m just being an asshole, you haven’t been paying enough attention. Not that I’d blame you.

 

Hoard can be reached at j.ho@umich.edu.

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