Kamikaze rock star wisdom

Ryan Houk

Kurt Cobain wants me to kill myself this year. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison agree. In fact, most iconic rock stars believe it is better to burn out than fade away.

Yet, transcendent suicide is not among my options. Though I’ve reached the appropriate age, I’ve yet to do anything momentous enough to warrant escaping this life. Instead, I complain about it.

I was removed from my classes this semester. Twice. The first time was probably my fault. I don’t actually remember filling out that renewal FAFSA. But I paid the late fee and re-enrolled, only to learn I was slated for verification just days before the second deadline. If you know how slow the wheels of paperwork roll, you know why there are TWO late registry fees on my bill.

I am an honors student with a dean’s list GPA and no prior payment problems at this “specific” university. Also, I have taken exactly no time off since I returned. But despite this evidence, the Web page registration screen had no problem telling me not to attend while not “officially” enrolled.

The Lesson: The university’s concern for your education is directly proportional to the amount of greasy dollars you thrust into its greasy hands. This is America, and in America everything is about money. School is about money. Your church is about money. Get as much as you can, and hide it someplace safe. If you like others deciding when and/or how much you can have, I recommend your local bank.

Speaking of getting rich, I qualified for “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” a while ago. I had some unexpected free time – see the aforementioned financial aid incident – so I traveled to Cleveland and put my wealth of useless knowledge to practical use. Both Kitten and I made the show, and anyone in a long-term committed relationship knows why that’s critical. The ride home would have sucked to say the least if only one of us had passed.

That’s only half the lesson. Before the tryouts, Kitten and I stayed at a hotel attached to mankind’s purest example of a dive bar. Being connoisseurs, we stopped in for a drink. There we learned of a $200-first-prize-award-winning hydrated white-cotton T-shirt contest. The competition seemed slim – and I use that word figuratively – so Kitten gave it a go.

Here’s the kicker: The contest was decided by popular vote. Once the T-shirts were wet, all the guys voted for Kitten; all the girls voted against her. In the end, she split the prize money with a girl whose most-impressive cleavage was found near her waistline.

The Lesson: First, it is not good to be significantly smarter than your significant other. Second, popularity in the real word – as opposed to in high school – is entirely relative. Don’t be surprised if the fat girls gang up on you.

That’s it, 27-years-worth of wisdom. I was 5 years old when I realized I wanted to be a writer, and since that time, the most frequent advice I’ve received is to write what I know. For the last 22 years, I’ve written very little.

It’s a start.

Ryan Houk is a junior English major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].