The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Wendel Sloan

College essay as true now as ever


While recently going through a treasure/trash trove of my youthful musings, I ran across an essay written as an 18-year-old lonely freshman in a four-person dorm suite at East Texas State University.

My hometown roommate and I played high school football, and got stuck rooming with two players from a town that had beaten us, 36-0, in bi-district.

They were well-off and rubbed salt in the wound by wearing letter jackets as they pulled up in new sports cars with name-brand groceries and two-ply tissue — while my roommate and I made Vienna-sausage sandwiches on white bread with mayonnaise packets pilfered from an all-night truck stop.

I wasn’t jealous because I’m pretty sure I could have beaten them in Scrabble if they’d ever stopped going on dates with pretty coeds long enough to play — while I was cutting open tubes of Clearasil to squeeze the last drop out.

Anyway, the typed essay was titled: “What Life Is All About (The Final Definitive Answer the World Has been Waiting For).”

Surprisingly, I don’t think I’ve gained much insight since — only easier typing technology.

Edited only to stay within my word-count and be a role model for a certain wayward columnist, here it is:

• • •

One last time (before my strength is gone) let me tell you what life is all about.

There are two objectives: 1. Find love. 2. Avoid death.

In the process:

Birth — Everyone celebrates but you. Attend school — Try to please teachers. Acne — Curse parents for conceiving you.

First love — Discover the Universe’s harmony. First betrayal — Discover the Universe’s dissonance. Trying to get even — You never felt so odd.

Make a joke — Admire your wit and wonder why friends don’t. Listen to music — Curse your untalented fate. Look in mirror — See your uniqueness and wonder why others see your flaws.

Admire friends — To hide your envy. Feel a new emotion — Become an instant poet. Be open-minded about everything — Get dragged down into the mud.

Drink for first time — Discover universal love. Wake-up — Discover universal misery. Experience physical pain — Promise anything for instant deliverance.

Eat a good meal — Life is a banquet. Get nauseated — Wail imperfection of human body. Swear superficialness of surface beauty — Be attracted to pretty faces.

Have a bad dream — Pray dreams are not real. Have a good dream — Pray dreams are real. Wake up to reality — Pray to go back to sleep.

Meet someone new — Think they are perfect. Get to know them — Why did they have to ruin it? Temptation — Realize I was judgmental until it became available to me.

Look around — Why is everyone else laughing? Look around — Why am I missing out? Look around — Why does life just drag on?

Heaven — Swear it must be true. Hell — Pray it’s only symbolic. Aging — Will 20 be too late to find happiness?

That’s what life is all about. Try to experience more helping than hurting; more peace than violence; more love than hate.

Please don’t ask again. That is all the strength I have. That is all I know.

• • •

To quote Bob Dylan, “I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now.”

Contact Wendel Sloan at:


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2017