"Temporality is part of the truth" -- Chuck Klosterman

Monday, May 9, 2011

Turn and Face the Strange

This card opens the movie The Breakfast Club. It's practically a perfect movie and one that, along with Catcher in the Rye, should be studied by every high school student before they graduate. But deconstructing John Hughes's films, or J.D. Salinger's prose for that matter, is not the subject of this post.

When I was 17, I knew everything. I knew what was funny and interesting and right and wrong. I was cool and creative and knew exactly what I was going to do with my life. Immune to the consultations of those who would spit on me, I was quite aware of what I was going through.

Now I'm 40, and I know very little. I am none of those things any more. I don't know what life will bring any more than I know the price of tea in China. No need to worry that I'm in the midst of a midlife crisis, though. I just get nostalgic every year in May and hark back to a time when, as complicated as it seemed then, change was easy and everything seemed possible.

So I like to share the above quote with my students at this time of year. Especially the graduating seniors. I hope they will see that despite the myriad of options before them, this is the one time in life when opportunity is clear.

Listen to Bowie as he exhorts us to "turn and face the strange."


  1. David Bowie rocks so much harder as a blonde.


    I don't know anymore now than I did when I was seventeen. And I'm still pretty sure that in this job market taking out a bunch of student loans to pay to go back to school when nobody wants to hire fresh out of college students would be a really bad idea.

  2. I'm there... I only have the next three years of my life figured out and in a very vague way (School - ??? - profit).


  3. I wish I could go back to that time when I knew what was going on. Now that I am in the middle of a full blown midlife crisis I know less today than I did yesterday. The Bowie always did have a way with words, didn't he?

  4. I Googled it for you:

    "A good quality black Chinese tea is priced between $13 - $45 (US dollars) per 100 grams."

    Sounds expensive.

  5. Yeah, I'm still reeling over the fact that it's been 11 years since I graduated from high school. Weird. It doesn't seem like that long ago, but the calendar rarely lies.

    True Confession: I've never seen "The Breakfast Club". Don't judge me!

  6. I'm still trying to turn and face the normal!

  7. Chanel: I would think that most employers would rather have fresh out of college students than fresh out of high school students. Or does an education just make you more expensive?

    TK: good luck. Sometimes being vague about your education is the way to get more education. (I'm not sure what I mean here.)

    darev: I wouldn't say I'm in crisis, but the old adage holds: The older you get, the more you realize how much you don't know.

    Bryan: it also sounds a little vague. Where do you get the 13 dollar tea?

    Plus, now that I know this, so I also have to know what I'm going to do with my life?

    Candice: Go rent the movie RIGHT NOW. And don't talk to me again until you understand the reference above my "view my profile" blog pic.

    Nicki: I wouldn't exactly call what you've gone through lately "normal." You've a lot of Ch-Ch-Change coming your way. Am I right?

  8. How many cups of tea can you get out of one hundred grams? Is tea from China easier on the palate than other varieties? There are a lot of unanswered questions here.

  9. And exactly how much tea are we talking about? All the tea in China might be a considerable amount. Tons? Hundreds of tons? We demand answers! And doesn't it suck that the comments have gotten away from the point?

  10. Doug and darev and Bryan: I suppose this is what I get for using a cliche that's so old it means absolutely nothing.

    Anyone want to talk about The Breakfast Club?