Kids, No Chaser

No More Heroes

Tuesday, July 01, 2008 posted by Henri


So here I am. Driving in my old beat up Jeep, down a hill, with the evening peaking and bathed in the last little bit of Northern California light which seems to last forever during the summer. The dirty bits of Oakland and strip mall heaven of Hayward down below. Like the day I drove to my wedding, crossing the Bay Bridge to a weird and wacky life before me, I was now heading into new territory only this time in the opposite direction. Yeah, I'm saying goodbye to a big piece of my life. Yeah that's right, I'm done with studying. Really. Seriously I am. That's it. Kaput.

I had always thought that if I won the lottery I would become a perpetual student, jumping from field to field for the rest of my life in studious bliss. Like some small Texas high school football hero driving past his Alma mater on the way to his night shift at The Wafflehouse, I too have trouble letting go. Yeah I peaked in college so what. But flash back 24 hours and you would have found me sitting at a desk trying for the life of me to motivate myself to just study for this damn final. And I couldn't do it. I was done. Out of gas. It wasn't hard....just didn't want to. I blame it on the kids.

My Dad used to tell me that when you're young, your brain is nice and soft and as you grow older it hardens. My brain was ok until the day my brain was on kids. This is your brain....this is your brain on kids. Having kids had knocked the taste of higher learning right out of my mouth. You see the thing is, even after you get used to the schedule and logistics, even when you can cruise through a pattern of child rearing day after day, even when you become efficient....parenting still is a massive drain on the...well the everything. Drains your body, your brain, your spirituality, your bank account. Even when you think it's easy it's really've just gotten used to the pain. And when you do get some free time, you spend it furiously relaxing. Strangling that free time and relaxing the hell out of it. And like some washed up old part-time fighter, I'm left shadow boxing in the ring of higher education about to get knocked the F out. Ok I got knocked the B+ out...but still shameful nonetheless. I hate the B+. Its the best of the not-an-A you can get. That's so half-assed. My GPA consisted of a series of A's and D's. And back in my Bruin years before the netertubes, you'd have to call a freaking phone number to obtain your grade. And this crappy machine would want to make sure that the D that you got didn't sound like a B so it would say....."In Biochemistry 153A your grade is.......DUH-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!" I mean not that I got a D in Biochem, c'mon I freaking love biochem. Wait what was I talking about? Yes...washed up fighters.

I'm all washed up. Old and beat up. Waaaaay past my prime. And the sad thing is, looking back, I never got to really fulfill the promise of the gifts I was given. I had a brain back then, but paired with a pathological laziness and horribly impressionistic youth, I was never gonna amount to nuthin. The only thing I could do well was a standardized test. And I banked on these damn things to get me through everything. Crap I've taken everything.... CAT, PSAT, SAT, AP, GRE (two flavors), MCAT, OAT, GMAT, and I almost took the LSAT for fun because I heard it had logic games in it. And I always did well. Every interview was the same...

"Can you explain why you have such a low GPA? Any unique challenges that you had to endure?"
"Yeah, I don't like to study."
"That's your answer?"
"Yeah. But I'm Effing brilliant"

I mean hell you could spin it so many different ways...

"I don't like to study, I only like to learn."
"The days I skipped class were the days I became a more complete human being."
"It's not about the grade I got in that class, it's about the class in which I got the grade. I'm classy bro."

I took courses out of sequence. I've shown up to 3 hour finals 2 hours late because I was furiously memorizing the stupid textbook outside of the exam before I walked in. I've rarely slept before an exam in undergrad. Ok the truth is I played A LOT of Streetfighter 2. I mean A LOT. And I was on BBS's a lot...that was a precursor to teh internuttzzoars.

I guess what I really need to say is just this....



My dear and beautiful Studying,

I wanted to make you a mixtape to encapsulate how I feel as I prepare to take the first of many steps away and alone without you. I was gonna put a lot of Bright Eyes on it and some Postal Service and then of course some really obscure shit so you'd think I was cool but then mix it up with some Chi-Lites and stuff so you'd know I could be playful and stuff you know. But my double cassette recorder is broken and I'm all out of tapes, so I'm writing you this letter to say you-know-what you-know-when and if you want you can play your own favorite songs when you read this although keep in mind that the songs you pick would be nowhere as awesome and deep and touching as the ones I would have picked if my Sanyo wasn't broken. Anyhoooo.

Ahh yes, Studying. Studying, do you remember when we first met? I was 1 minute old and the nurse was counting my toes quietly to herself and I thought hmm interesting and then you showed up and whispered into my ear that if I watched closely I might learn something, and so i did and I learned that I like nurses uniforms. Hmm wait a sec, I'm getting you mixed up with Learning, yeah yeah I know, you hate her guts and you think she's a dirty hippy, don't get all crazy Studying. Don't be like that. Ahh yes, now I remember. We first met when I had to count to 100, and it was really quick because as soon as I got past 15 then it really is just logical isn't it? Oh no of course, of course not, it was all you. It was your help that got me through that one.

Remember the summer we spent together reading the entire dictionary? When other kids were forced to play outside, you and me got to hang out, just the two of us, and memorize 6 pages a day for 90 days? Yeah that was the summer before 4th grade I think. If only "collegiate", as in Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, was a word that sounded the same in Korean so my mother could have picked something a bit more age-appropriate. Doesn't matter because after that summer my whatchamacallit was seriously improved.

We had some really good times together. There was that whole multiplication thing that I figured out phonetically before you came along and helped me with the rest of it. Remember 8 x 3? I figured it out on my own because hell just listen to it....eight times three. Ok three and three and three and three and three and three and three and three. Tadah...24. Yeah that was a bitch. And then no one believed me.

Remember that time in Kindergarten when I spoke no English and I had to take a test and the teacher was asking us to circle the tiger and I had no idea what the hell was going on because when you hear Charlie Brown wonkawonka sounds followed by intense circling activity by your peers all around you and all you know how to do is eat lunch and take naps, you can't help but to look at your neighbor and circle what they circle. Busted. What the hell is an isolation table anyways and why are the walls so high and why the hell do I have to sit here? Cheating? WTF? I'm ESL, I know what a damn Tiger is, just say in in Korean and I'll get an A. Oh well I'll just cry. Damn I digress, you weren't really with me there that day were you.

OK, so lets just remember the good times. Proper nouns....remember us and proper nouns. What a disaster. Everything was a proper noun. What do you mean grape is not a proper noun, its the proper noun for a type of fruit. I name thee, grape! I name thee, chair! I name thee, Kevin! Big fat D on that one.

Remember the spelling B? We lost on wen, I mean "when". The hell the word "when" makes a blowing whispery W. I could spell flower why the hell did I lose on "when". Spell this.

OK damn have we really been together that long? Remember high school?

Yeah me neither.

Ok remember college? What a torrid raging affair. On again, off again. The fights and splits we had. The crazy passionate all-nighters. The women that came between us. In the end though it was always you that stayed with me when times were rough. The caffiene binges, the long desperate nights. Watching the sunrise from the top floor window of Kerckhoff Hall, what a miserable sight. That physics midterm we walked in with 15 minutes left and finished 5 minutes early. Remember the MCAT? The first standardized test that could not save my GPA? The king Hell of all tests. The test that while studying for I actually thought I broke my brain.

"What do you mean there's no such thing as broken brain? I swear it's broked bro."

That's the last time I trust those quacks at student health services.

And then there was gradschool and eyeball time. We're were like an old married couple at that point. No more torrid raging passionate nights, just a comfortable, if not predictable, relationship. You wouldn't throw a fit when I went out without you. You stood by my side and supported me through clinics and rotations. Externships in funny places. Strange demands from varying attendings. That tour through Oklahoma. Yeah we were comfortable and familiar with each other then but we were still happy.

I guess Business School was our swan song. I should have seen it coming. We'd had a good long run and no matter how compatible or in love two people are, things can still be monkey-wrenched. It wasn't you, it was all me. The first half of business school I thought we could keep going the way we always had, but by the last bit I knew that something was different. It's not fair to you for me to pretend that we still have that magic. I'd spend most of my days away from be honest some days I wouldn't think of you at all. Our nights apart, I didn't miss you and that's when I knew that it was wrong.

Who's to blame when love dies? Does it matter? Is it any less heartbreaking? I know we had dreams for the future. We were supposed to go to Law school next, it was supposed to be beautiful. The fun we were going to have with the LSAT, finally completing the triple crown of standardized tests. How we were looking so forward to the California BAR exam and how wonderfully brutal it was going to be. I know now that that day will never come. Out of respect to you I know that I will never share that moment without you. It simply won't be a part of my life anymore and it is a dream we will never share apart.

The PHD in Immunology that was supposed to come last...I won't even breath it's memory.

Yeah, we had big dreams you and I. Sometimes dreaming ain't enough. And as I slowly let go of your hand, I tip my head to the times we had. I light a last cigarette to remember those long lost days when we were young and so passionate. Damn this cigarette tastes like shit. Here let me throw it out my window. Ok sorry. Yeah I guess we never can really go back. If I was melodramatic I'd leave you hanging with an "Until we meet again" but that's for someone far younger than me to say. So instead I say this...I loved you with all my heart. And with all my heart I let you go. Thank you for the time we had together, in our youth we were truly unstoppable. I loved you Studying. I will never forget you.

Farewell dear heart,

P.S. Stay cool forever.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

congraduations henri! i love the family picture! funny, biochem 153A totally kicked my butt too. it was my first & only C at UCLA. (and i guess it was an early precursor to all the C's i'd get in opto school)

7:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, I really do think you are the funniest writer ever. I love your posts.

The PhD in Immunology... "Damn this cigarette tastes like shit" "P.S. Stay cool forever" - honestly I have tears streaming...

Thank you for the laugh.

10:26 AM

Blogger The Baker Girl said...

It's caffeine, not caffiene!

Funny post.

" get used to the pain". Well put, dude. Well put.

8:51 AM

Blogger Henri said...

Pierre stop sending your readers here...they have gotten used to your fancy speling and grammar. I thought Strunk and White was a lifestyle bar in tribeca. I was extremely dissapointed.

But thank you Baker Girl :) My mother reads these posts and now I am sure I will be doomed to once again reread the Dictionary this summer. You have set me back 30 years. But I'm still glad you got a laugh.

And thank you too's been so long since I've blogged it's a really nice welcome back.

Lori I totally got an A+ in Biochem 153A and 153B so I have no idea what you are insinuating :)

Damn I use more emoticons than a Hanna Montana fan.

9:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats! What a long road that must have been.

Hey, I have been looking for Air France, but the only one I've found is on their My Space site and I couldn't download, where do you get yours from? Please let me know at
thank, Christina

9:59 AM


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