November 25, 1997 Tuesday
I have tried to distance myself from my first edition of thought, Is Anybody Out There? Not to say that I am not proud of that work, or no longer stand by my words, but the story that it entailed, from 1994-1997, is a separate chapter of life. Not trying to be dramatic here–just realistic–it was a time that I was more innocent and open to the world. Great, now I sound like a hardened cynic at the tender age of 18. Simply, I realize I am a different person that I was even a year ago. It may sound like I am pinning this sudden and drastic turn of perspective on a handful of people, but that’s not true. I was just as much a prime over last spring. When there was a person as–let’s be honest–green as I was, something was bound to happen. In retrospect, the occurrences and simple events that transpired were not as end-of-the-world as I felt, but they felt a mark.
I should write about the things that swirl around my head (brace yourself people). In complete honesty, Sidney is my very dear and close friend. I admire and respect her above all other people. I am reminded of the time D and I talked about death, when his heart health was uncertain. D did not want initially want anyone to know. When confronting myself with who I would tell, my answer is very clear. First, I would not tell anyone about a similar condition except one person, because I would not want to treated differently. I would tell this one person, say I was scared, and I hadn’t lived life yet, and would try to do it in a brave manner. I would’t tell my mom, because she would only worry. People with disabilities are sometimes frustrated with society when they are treated as fragile shells, or invalids who cannot think. It is not people’s intentions, but they assume–incorrectly–that such disabled need them, and cannot fend for themselves. I also wouldn’t want to be treated special, with everyone trying to make me feel “comfortable.” I would want to live the life I had left as myself, while having one pair of ears. Honestly, I don’t think she knows just how high in esteem I hold her.
Sometimes I feel old. Do you know that kids today don’t know what a Smurf is? It’s scary that I remember when Michael Jackson was cool, and that I was born in 1979, the predicted and then derided “Year of Disco.” I feel weird even being somehow associated with the “Me Decade.” I can remember when Pepsi was the Choice of a New Generation, as well as getting a taste as well of the closing US/USSR Cold War tensions. You know, I’ve been through four presidents and a war. Well, can we really call Desert Storm a war, when compared to others? Ronald Reagan was my favorite president. It may have had something to do with the age being the single dgitis, but when he was in office I felt safe. He seemed like a favorite grandpa, with the ever-ready jelly beans on his desk. Who wouldn’t feel old when you can recall things like The Love Boat, 8-track tapes, as well as the hey-day of Mr. T? Does anybody else remember when Diet Pepsi was something called Pepsis Free? Remember life without VCRs, or for that matter the thing known as Beta? How many ten year olds today have ever seen an Atari? These kids today, not even knowing what a Smurf is…
I have seen part classmates and other assorted people o’ the past more than I thought I would. When I graduated, I was sure people would not see until a reunion, or never at all. During my recent trip to Illinois State with the Fourth Floor, or their trips here to Macomb, I have run across people like Shane McIntosh and Tim Meers more than I ever predicted. And I receive information about others. Sidney often writes me about Willa, at Monmouth College to the north, or occasionally she runs into Emma at cross country meets. Sidney even received a letter from Les Rose, in which he wrote that he had liked her during high school. All told, have been in contact with 60% of the my class since Commencement. Still, the only strong ties I keep are with Sidney and Colin (a meager 5%). Which reminds me, Colin got home tonight from Culver Stockton, and we’re going something Friday. I can’t wait to tell him the small adventures so far of Lexi Trapp, Illinois State, the REO concert, and everything else.
I started to write this entry to commemorate the third anniversary of beginning of journaling career, and got MAJORLY off track, but I had fun doing it. It has been a great time recording my log that happens to be rapidly approaching 400 pages. Sometimes I still wonder where Ainsley Lagerstein is right now, or look at an item from Mexico souvenir and remember. I wrote once, “as long as I have this journal, they will always be with me.” So true. I have a few select past articles strewn about my dorm room now: the red paper crown that out class got last year when we visited Medieval Times. Pictures that I took this summer, brand new to Western. Two corsages: one from Homecoming, and the other from prom. A large red “B” from playing baseball. My nameplate, “Will Carlson,” from Scholastic Bowl. The Babe Ruth baseball Hoke gave me last Christmas. The Bears footballs from the training camp trips I still take with Dad, on them scrawled the names of my blue and orange heroes. My diploma. And countless sheets of paper on which are scribbled the priceless events of the last three years.