Last-minute thoughts before leaving NIU

The end is near and very appreciated. By corruption or gross violation of probability, I am graduating after only eight semesters.

This is my last column, and after all that and two days cruising the slums of Springfield, I can’t think straight anymore. In some ways, it will be a relief not coming back next Fall.

After a few years, NIU is a place to be from, not at. It was fun for awhile, but there comes a time when you’ve taken all the classes you can stomach.

Even hardcore partying loses its appeal. After years of abuse, your body tells you it’s had enough and 15 beers bring on only inhuman misery the next day.

Having said that, higher education is still well worth the time and effort. Where else can you sleep until noon every other day, avoid the streets and at the same time learn about Hobbes, his 3/8-inch wrench and their relevance to modern political thought?

The down side of all this is finding some legal or at least reliable way of feeding yourself after graduation.

Newspapers are not what they once were, and after sending out 150 resumes, I have only 35 “nothing available” responses and eerie silence from the rest.

On the other hand, I don’t owe any serious money to banks or criminals, so the world is full of possibilities.

I could buy a used compressor and air hammer and head for the opal fields of Australia, where it’s not unheard of to find a $600,000 stone after a season or two of digging. I could dust off my guitar, grow a couple feet of hair, take the stage name Lee Harvey Osbourne and work my way to the Headbangers Ball.

There will always be money in televangelism, pornography and junk mail, and many of the same skills apply to all three.

When I was five or six and hadn’t had much exposure to the world, I was convinced that driving a garbage truck was the most noble profession a man could aspire to. They do make more than many journalists. I shouldn’t gripe. Things are tough all over.

I have history major friends who look forward to lengthy stints in the fast food industry. “Would you care for a lecture on the battle of the Plains of Abraham with your lunch today sir?”

I have little in the way of profound advice for everyone left behind, but here are a few suggestions:

‘Go to Haiti. Our government insists there’s nothing to be afraid of.

‘Walk to class once, just to say you did it. Walk to 7th Street on a Sunday wearing a three-day beard and jean jacket and see if YOU are questioned about armed robberies.

‘Don’t jump into either lagoon. I survived, but my doctor recommended long-term tracking for signs of genetic mutation.

‘Check out the Geography Club.


‘No matter where they come from, don’t let the bastards grind you down.

I’d also like to thank my cartoonist, Emma, for a year of fantastic work and everyone else over the years who had to deal with me.