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the world in a new light

By Tom Collins
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 23, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

My oh my but is that spring weather something beautiful to behold. Damn if that sun doesn't make it extraordinarily difficult to sit in the classroom or go to work.

Then again, what doesn't make it difficult to sit in the classroom or go to work? Really, wouldn't we all rather be freshly retired or suddenly rich or at least engaged in some activity that allows us to achieve a psychologically notable state of actualization. Indeed, this distinctly Tucson March sunshine does more than dry laundry quickly; it puts things in a clearer light. And this week, as we stand behind the counters of our local corporate fascist places of employment, (the advertising from which pays the pittance that moves my pen) the "take the first thing that comes along and pray" mentality that creeps up on one who is on the down side of a decade at this university appears less than bright. Have a drink, have a smoke, take out a loan.

The sun, the sun, the sun, hallelujah. And this must be why, outside of the 50,000 of us who are under thirty, this is a town of retired Toledo machinists and NYNEX phone line repairmen. Obvious, yes, but worth noting. Because like the imitation daylight and canned air of a casino, a day like today or yesterday or tomorrow is designed not to drive you, but to keep you in your seat, which is to say, to remain unconsidered (unless of course, you're a med student, a former Charles Schwab finance intern, or a Flinn Scholar and then, at least, you're driven. Anyhow, the rest of us are waiting to sell copiers.) The rest of us are waiting to sell copiers. I only say that because one presumes matriculating to this university community was a decision in some measure based on a desire to not be a machinist or climb telephone poles or mine coal. But we will buy lotto tickets just the same. We, however, will all be available via digital portable personal communication systems. In addition, we will carry a substantial debt and think our lives are Parker Posey or Eric Stoltz films starring our lovers as Parker Posey or Eric Stoltz; at least with the lights out. That is how I feel right now, Eric Stoltzing myself with the lights out.

The sun, the sun, halle-goddamn-lujah, the sun. Too bright, too searing to sustain any of those post growth spurt broke down Bukowski fantasies of excellent failure and the unappreciated beauty in vomit and vomiting. Looking for a new paradigm, I've tried Haley's Malcolm and Suze Orman's Mothership of Money. (I'd try Andrew Weil, but the New Republic declared his practices specious and my grandfather said men with facial hair are hiding uncomfortable secrets. Both those sources are, obviously, unassailable.)

With no hope of finding meaning in Mailer and Morrison, I plan to turn to aromatherapy, Andean flute music and reading greeting cards in the Hallmark aisle at Walgreen's. It 's a little religion I like to call mine. It makes me feel like Eric Stoltz in a Suze Orman bio pic and I don't have to carry toner in the backseat of my car. It's about actualization, habitualization and opiates for the soul. Also, sun worshipping. (And you know what that means. Yes, of course, lots of barbecues and wine coolers. Have a drink, have a smoke, take out a loan.)

And so I sayeth unto you: Ask not for whom the copier salesman calls, he calls for you. And look not to your Bible or Koran or other religious tome, but look upon the words of that crabby woman who is mascot for Hallmark's Shoebox Greeting line for there is great meaning in those words, whatever those words happen to be. And, forsooth, go forth to Southwest Supermarkets and buy many candles and bring them to your house. They will smelleth nicely. In addition, sendeth, to the house of myself, money. I'll set you free.