I’m a little embarrassed that the first post of 2011 goes live in the middle of Spring… It just goes to show how busy I am. Did I mention I’m taking my MCAT this year? (Stop making excuses!) *Bows* I apologize– rest assured, I have no intention of letting this blog gather dust. It’s almost as if school goes out of session here on Kept After Class when school is in session in real life!
It is however eerily fitting that the post directly before this one touches on my fears of death apathy. For those of you who have been reading my “Everyday Life” category posts, you would know all about my room mates when I first started college. As a quick recap, I lived with three room mates Freshman year, which was typical for those living in the on-campus apartments. In my posts, I differentiate between my room mates by referring to one as “cool,” one as “never home but alright,” and one as an individual who is a idiot/drunken mess. At the end of Freshman year, I kept in contact with the cool room mate, the “alright” one disappeared with their own friends, and neither of us knew really what happened to the drunkard. Come Sophomore year, we would see them around campus and would only really exchange a nod or two. Last I heard, they were pretending to be Irish to try and get lucky at parties.
About two weeks ago they died in a car accident.
As repeated as it sounds, they were gone just like that. It became known over Facebook and was spread by word of mouth to those who did not have it (like me). When my friend told me over MSN, I first laughed that they had gotten into an accident and then shut up when I heard they died.
As you all know, I conduct regular self assessments of my character. I remember that all I could say to “apparently they died” was, as stupid as it sounds, “wtf.” I consider myself a stable person, emotionally. When I cry at all, I tend to cry at happy things, which I consider healthy. I tend to be good at improvising and can think quickly in emergency situations. However, I still cannot sort my feelings toward this news. I was sad, certainly… But what bothered me is that I was kind of… Happy too? Writing this in text gives me a queasy feeling in my stomach, which means it must be true to an extent. All I know is that I did not feel pure sadness– I did not know what to feel.
Allow me to shed some light on the matter. As hinted above, this person was not going anywhere with their life. In their Freshman year, they were failing entry level classes and kept thinking about changing majors largely due to “enjoying the college life too much,” to quote my dad. They would arrive home drunk at times (underage) and would sometimes bring home individuals (plural) of the opposite sex who would sleep in their bedroom. At the end of the year, they moved out leaving most of the apartment a mess (which we had to clean to avoid getting charged). During the first half of Sophomore year, once and a while, my new room mate would call attention to their oft-posted Facebook status updates about being drunk or being at clubs.
I’m not exactly eulogizing my former room mate am I? At the very least, I wanted to portray this individual in a truthful manner. Now of course, they were not all bad– they were friendly and welcoming of new friends. My parents liked them when we first moved in. However, the fact remains that somewhere, my room mate took a wrong turn and strayed off the proper path; they got lost.
One of the things that really bothered me was that people would not mention any of these things when reminiscing about them. My cool room mate from last year referred to them as “pretty cool.” I understand that saying “the person was an idiot” to someone talking about how they died is not socially acceptable. It just nags me inside however– “elevating” someone when talking about them after they died may be socially acceptable, but is it right? Take the case of Michael Jackson… After he passed, he was widely referred to as the “King of Pop” (as he had once been called) and spawned revering pieces such as the movie This is It, celebrating his career. Such is the legacy of a great artist, but, does anyone remember “Michael Jackson” during the years leading up to his death? While I do not have any opinions about him, in everyday society, “Michael Jackson” was a child molester and loved little boys. I do not support or disregard the rumors that morphed his image into this man, but the fact remained that being compared to “Michael Jackson” then was not exactly a compliment. Where did those labels go after he died?
I am the sort of person who leaves people alone if they do not affect me. I never ratted my room mate out for underage drinking or anything, but if they started storing alcohol in my apartment, you can bet that I would not hesitate to drop an anonymous tip. It’s just how I think– people who do things like that will figure it out sooner or later, similar to Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” theory in economics. If people put me potentially at risk due to their bad behavior, I strive to remedy the problem right away. That being said, I am also someone who uses peoples’ adherence to rules as a tool to judge how much respect I place on them. For example, someone who drinks underage (even if it is only a few times where nothing happened) is significantly less respected by me than someone who does not… That’s the sort of person I am, and I can do that because I have solid friends.
So you can imagine that when my room mate died, I might have experienced mixed emotions. I was sad from the parents’ standpoint… I could only imagine how they were affected by the news. I shook my head at how wasteful my room mate’s life was. I was however, grimly satisfied that they were “smacked by the invisible hand.”
It was a feeling troublesome enough that I talked it over with a number of my friends. It scares me however how some, such as my parents, are very quick to exclaim how sad the event was. Reverence of the dead is one of the things that separates the homo genus from other species. I am… Very fearful of becoming apathetic, but perhaps I am justified in this case? I did after all live with them for a year. My final thought which put me to ease was that my room mate, despite being an intelligent person through high school, had died from the moment they got lost in the world of beer and clubs.
One person was killed February 27, 2011 as a result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident in Spring, TX, born August 31, 1990 in Tulsa, OK. Graduated from Tomball High School in 2009. A sophomore attending the University of Texas – Dallas majoring in neuroscience. A member of Alpha Phi Omega. Was traveling east in the 7900 block of Spring Cypress on Sunday morning when they changed lanes to pass another vehicle and lost control of their car, crossing over into the westbound lanes, authorities said. Had just left family’s home to return to Dallas.