I have a new ritual. I wake up everyday and drudge to the bathroom. I slather a pea-sized blob of blue goo on my teethbrusher and before I begin scrubbing, I lock eyes with the version of myself residing in the mirror dimension. I stare into my pupils’ abyss and chant, “I am not old. I am not an old head.” Then, I brush and I let the tears flow.According to Urban Dictionary, the term “old head” describes a person that “is still in the scene beyond the ‘acceptable’ or expected age.” As I prepare to walk the stage in less than three months, I struggle to motivate myself to care about campus happenings. Despite my carelessness, I care. I care because I want to be informed about “what’s boppin” on campus. I want to “be hip” with the youth. But I don’t care enough about caring to try harder to care.
I realized my own old headedness one fateful day just a couple of weeks ago. A group of friendly sophomores walked past me; they were playing Pokemon Go. They were chatting and laughing, joyful because of their recent success. As I watched them, I couldn’t help but yearn for the same childlike sense of wonder.
Sentimental of my innocent youth, I reminisced about my sophomore year. Every Friday, my friends and I celebrated “pizza Friday” by buying three pizzas from Little Caesar’s and drinking juice. Every Saturday, we reveled in Taco Bell deliciousness and never-ending rounds of Mario Kart. But today, I entered the library and resumed researching for my senior thesis. I had three hours to get things done before heading to work.
I returned home in the late evening to a quiet house. All of my housemates were in bed recovering from their busy days and preparing for the next. As I undressed, preparing to do the same, I remembered the children playing their silly mobile game that I had seen earlier. I froze. I remembered the pure joy radiating from their aura; I sensed its absence from mine.
Suddenly, I was disgusted with myself. How could I, a young human, live with myself knowing that I fell asleep before 11 p.m.? How dare I? How was I so tired now, when during my freshman year, I didn’t even start homework until 1 a.m.? I sprinted to the mirror, locked eyes, and uttered the chant for the first time. Though I didn’t know it yet, this act was the beginning of a new tradition. I finished the chant and knew what to do.
After a quick trip to Walmart and an $11 receipt for two packs of googly eyes, I strolled through the Goshen College campus marking my territory. I made faces out of everything. A stop sign? More like a stop sign with a face! A garbage can? Now it’s a garbage can with a face! Vending machine buttons? Nope — vending machine buttons with taped-on googly eyes instead. Proud of my superb smartness, I knew my prank was one for the history books. At 12:01 a.m., I left for dreamland with excited anticipation to see how the world would react to my stunt.
I checked my phone immediately after I woke up the next morning. To my surprise, there were no messages about the googly eyes. I sprinted to campus and checked to ensure my googly eyes were still there. They were — but nobody cared. I hid under the waffle fry sculpture for thirty minutes as I watched insolent underclassmen walk past my beautiful creations without even batting an eye. My remarkable plan had failed. As I sulked home, I vowed to plot again. I will make my mark on this campus. I will prove to everybody that I am not an old head. Watch out, Goshen College.