Wasted Words: The College Daze

wastedwords

If you like obscure authors, you’ll love this one…

When he enters the prestigious Northwestern University, Lucas Lloyd still has respect for rules. He has never drank, smoked, or gotten anywhere worth mentioning with the opposite sex. The first 18 years of his life have been devoted almost exclusively to academic success.

Wasted Words follows Luke as he comes to realize that the college years go by in the blink of an eye and that A’s are overrated. While knowledge might be gained by listening to professors preach, real wisdom is attained outside the classroom. Though his path to manhood is littered with more beer cans than books, by the time he reaches graduation, Luke has learned how to make his way through the world.

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Ch. 2 Rusted Wagon

While terrorists didn’t scare me much, the thought of freshman year did. On a muggy Friday morning, with the nation still stunned, I packed up my things and prepared to write the next chapter of my life.

I had crammed all of my worldly possessions into the back end of our ‘88 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser station wagon, baby blue with rusty fake wood paneling (as though wood could rust). A high school teacher of mine, Mr. Buenavista, once told my European History class that if we should ever see him behind the wheel of a vehicle with fake wood paneling, we could throw a brick at his head. I’m certain he was serious.

Our woody was (approximately) thirty feet long. Some people might call it a boat. There was an extra seat in the way back where I’d sit with my siblings when we were little, facing the car behind us, waving at the driver. If he was nice and waved back, we’d say we had made a friend.

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Holloween

We were warriors once, of the Scottish variety, wrapped in tartan blankets with our faces painted blue. Our women were Playboy bunnies, bare skin bound in black Lycra, shivering in the frozen night.

The air was so cold that our breaths became crystals, suspended in front of our ­faces before shattering to the ground. State Street sat a long mile from our hotel, and the walk there was killing us. The shots we’d downed were not doing their job of cloaking our souls in liquid warmth.

“How many more blocks?” Shelly asked me as she wrapped her arms around her frail torso.

“Fifty,” I said.

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Anyone Can Play Guitar

Ah, but let us return to a fresher time. When classes first started, the air grew cooler, green leaves turned golden brown. Every morning I would hop down from my bunk (landing as cat-like as possible lest I crack my ankle upon hitting the floor), slip on my shower shoes and go next door to the bathroom for a quick cold shower. I’d have preferred a hot one but could never get the water any warmer than the deep end of a pool.

Back in our room, I’d towel off and dress to the sound of Steve’s alarm clock and him snoring through it, so unconscious that even his ears were closed. I’d smack his snooze and be on my way.

Outside, the sidewalks were crowded with students being pulled down by backpacks and burdened by books (the cost of which appalled me) — forty bucks a pound for what amounted to paper and ink. All told, I’d blown half a thousand dollars on these texts, which left me approximately half a buck for spending money.

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Traffic Jammin’

I was up and out the door at dawn as morning thawed to gray. Sean yawned at me from behind the wheel of his mother’s tan Toyota. Xander was sitting shotgun, snoozing, with his face buried in a pillow against the passenger door. His blond bedhead was out of control.

I stuffed my duffel bag into the trunk and crawled into the backseat beside a big blue plastic cooler that was packed with the provisions we’d procured the night before: wheat bread, peanut butter, strawberry jam, apples, oranges, peaches and a case of bottled water. This would be our sole sustenance for the three days that lay ahead.

We pulled out of my driveway and onto the highway – southbound, baby. Our destination (destiny) lay half a thousand miles south in rural Tennessee. A man had a farm there where music would be.

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