The first in a line of many

Adam Griffiths

They told me to write a column.

A blank page. A clean slate.

It’s what we all get every day, more or less. It’s what we all got when we came to college. It’s what some of us probably need after last weekend. A bottle of aspirin and a week-long extension on all the homework we didn’t do wouldn’t hurt either.

But the fact of the matter is we hate blank pages. Waking up is hard to do. As extroverted as you were, there was a butterfly or two lingering the last time you saw whomever before being truly on your own. And a hangover – a hangover is a speeding ticket that you crumbled up and threw away, refusing to pay it, but then later fished out of the trash can and flattened out in hopes of putting it all behind you. (You know full well you’ll do it all again tonight.)

I hate the blank Word document that this column was half an hour ago.

So you kick off the covers and stumble to the bathroom. You knocked on a few neighbors’ doors, introduced yourself. You hit the “snooze” button on your alarm because there is no way you are going to class today.

I typed, “A blank page. A clean slate.”

But wait, let’s do this right.

Hi. I’m Adam. I’m 19. Magazine journalism major. Born in Akron, raised in Warren, from West Chester.

There are some things they might tell you not to write about. Sex. Drugs. Alcohol in the under 21 crowd. Death.

Well, the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment reported in Fall 2005 that, on average, guys are sleeping with more than two people a year and girls have sex more than once. More than 30 percent of college students have smoked sometime in the past month, and more than 10 percent have done pot at least once in the past 30 days. Twenty-two percent of college students drink more than three times a week.

And almost 90 people between the ages of 15 and 24 die every day.

But tabooing the painfully obvious is what we like to do.

We hate spending precious seconds squeezing out the last drop of toothpaste because we keep forgetting to buy more. Introducing ourselves to countless faces in new situations is redundant. And that guy you made out with last week when your boyfriend had already passed out at the hotel – not the thing you want making headlines on your News Feed.

I’ve never been good at sugarcoating, which is why I’ve never been good with thank-you cards, long-term relationships or group projects. I fidget with my cell phone to avoid eye contact when I walk around campus. I systematically exorcise my exes from my life.

This isn’t the editorial. (Check out the top of the page for that.) I don’t have a secret agenda. This Forum page offers you, just inches away, other opportunities to spend your time.

I’m going to write about sex, drugs, alcohol and death, among other things. I might write about the girl I saw with her portfolio strapped to her back walking to class this morning. I might write about staying up until 2 a.m. eating multiple pints of Ben and Jerry’s. You know, I might even write about the time I gave a speech about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

They told me to write a column.

I told them to make me weekly.

Not so blank after all.

Adam Griffiths is a freshman magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].