Columnist bids rock-star lifestyle farewell

by Jack Sawyers

Waking up this morning on a bare mattress was bad.

The taste in my mouth was worse.

All around my body was the unmistakable stench of bar – the smoky, sudsy, sweaty aroma of another round of hell.

If they sold stink, I’d have been in demand.

And maybe it was the fact I was actually sleeping on a naked mattress while my freshly laundered sheets had spent the past three days in my laundry basket awaiting a bed redressing.

Or maybe it was the pack of yappy-dogs chewing through my cortex.

It just might have been my jaundiced fingers or their sooty smell.

Whatever it was, it was the last straw … or at least one of the last straws.

Now maybe it’s just me in my typical Friday morning funk, but there’s been something brewing for a while in me. A change of direction, you might say, is in the fetal stages.

A new perspective looms on the horizon.

What struck me most this morning was a simple allegory. It seemed undeniable that the social lifestyle of college students could easily be compared to your local Bonanza restaurant buffet.

You see, the “lifestyle” of a socially active student (and by socially active, I mean alcoholically-assisted) is much like the food at Bonanza – the first time you go there’s so much of it and, although it’s not top-of-the-line, it’s good enough to give you a rise – especially for the twist-cone machine and the unlimited Gummi Bears.

As the years go on, you continue to eat at Bonanza at least twice a week, sometimes more when it’s a waxing gibbous, your roommate’s friend’s cousin’s twenty-second birthday, or if your grandmother would have been 80 today.

About halfway through your second year, you hit a pinnacle, wherein you know exactly where the best food is on the buffet line and almost have the cook’s schedule down to a T. Nobody, my friend, gets it fresher than you do.

You are now an upperclassman, wise in the ways of the world and creeping on legal. Life – and Bonanza – is about as good as it gets.

Then one day you wake up smelling like a truck-stop hooker, sleeping on a sheetless mattress and, oh yes, you realize that – holy hell Batman – you might have had your fill of Bonanza.

After all, who wants to eat those popcorn shrimp for the next 40 years?

Not this guy.

And making your own sundae is so for the kids. You’re too old for that, and it’s time to find a new hobby.

But, and I’m going to say the darndest thing here, I kind of liked those shrimp and nothing will ever replace the big vat of macaroni in my heart. There was something comfortable about them, about loving to hate the mornings after overindulging at the relish tray.

They were my smelly shoes – too good to throw away, too rotten to keep.

Unfortunately, the mornings never get any easier and they seem to get more difficult to handle as time goes by. So, I am left with little to do but concede my hard-core status.

Don’t get me wrong, I probably won’t be missing many Thursdays between now and my graduation, but I sense the intensity of these benders has already peaked.

It’s time to slow down, take it easy.

No more kegs and bacon, no more Jaegermeister Olympics. No more chain smoking and no more tequila before 6 p.m.

No more of this rock-star life on a bus driver’s salary.

Well, no more than I have to, anyway.