Thursday, August 29, 2019

Song of the Day: '17 Again' by Eurythmics

Had a long talk with my sister yesterday, something we don't do nearly as often in the digital age. My nephew, AJ, who just turned 17 and is starting his senior year of high school, was a major topic of conversation. I've long been urging him to go away to college, having felt like I missed out on a big life experience by living at home for most of my higher education. (Don't think it's a coincidence that I still have friends from every era of my life dating back to age 11 but don't really have a "college group.")

When I was a college sophomore, this was my pinned Tweet

It's a weird feeling when your biggest regret in life is also likely the reason you're still alive. If you'll recall, Rock Hudson had just announced he had AIDS in July 1985, during the summer before I started college. And the year before one of the cooks at a restaurant called the Salad Bar where I briefly worked during my junior year of high school tried to get me to go to Hotbods, which I later learned was Phoenix’s answer to Studio 54. 

I was terrified (OK, mortified) that he even asked -- what was it about this bleach-blond Howard Jones wannabe in suede boots from Judy’s and Bananarama badges that made him think I would even consider going to a gay club, even on a lark?! -- and politely declined. Although there's no way of knowing for certain, it seems highly likely I would have been exploring my sexuality if not sooner -- I was 20 when I finally got down to business -- than with more abandon if I’d gone away to school. (You can only go so wild when you're expected home in your childhood bedroom each night.) As a small consolation, my semester internship away on Capitol Hill gave me a taste of dorm life ... 30 years later and I'm still waiting for David Vilter to pay me the $300 he owes me for the phone bill!

When I took little AJ to the Coffee Plantation, one of my old college haunts

My sister, her husband and AJ's grandparents are all concerned he's too "immature" to go away to college. (You have to wonder what they’d be thinking if he didn’t have a university AND a major in mind!) In fairness, he did just get his driver's license and the second day he drove to school he hit a parked car in the lot! The owner of the injured vehicle became hysterical, but not because she was harmed in any way. Turns out her previous car had recently been totaled. But when everything calmed down AJ paid $800 to have her car fixed without involving the insurance agencies, per the girl’s mother’s wishes. (That must have been the poor kid’s entire earnings from his summer job as a lifeguard, which his parents think made it a “valuable lesson.") 

Still, I'm happy my sister is taking a “wait and see" approach about college -- she agrees it's just not the same if you're a commuter student -- encouraging her firstborn to apply to his dream school as well as local colleges. (AJ doesn’t know it, but I’ve already been in touch with an adviser where he wants to go.) Depending on what kind of financial aid/scholarships he qualifies for -- his late Uncle Bill left him some money, too -- and the fact that people can mature a lot in one year's time, my nephew may avoid my fate. I wouldn't want to be 17 again. But it feels nice to help someone who is.

1 comment:

Randy Slovacek said...

I loved this post.

p.s. I can't believe I never saw this music video. I loved the track when released, but somehow never saw it until now.