Wallace Stevens’ “Malady of the Quotidian”

In what seems to be an all-too-increasingly-quickening pattern, summer has once again come to an abrupt conclusion. We students at UVM have done it all this summer: held respectable summer jobs back in the good ole hometown, in Burlington, or maybe even in a forest in upstate Connecticut helping to coordinate a summer camp.

There are those who have traveled overseas (primarily to Europe, though there are certainly more audacious individuals who delved into the African safari or encountered extreme culture shock in the Far East), certainly those who took the awe-inspiring trek out West, driving those three thousand miles there and back while experiencing countless enrichments which undoubtedly transfigured lives; and then there are those like myself.

I didn’t really do much of anything this summer other than hover around the east coast from Burlington to Long Island to Connecticut to the Outer Banks to Virginia, catching up with old friends, seeing some shows, and drinking excessively. Granted, I worked a couple weeks after school let out in May, but since the 27th of that month, I worked two days the entire summer, maybe 10 or 11 hours. And I had a blast. (Note: I was fortunate enough to be blessed with a four-digit insurance settlement which I coasted on for the duration of June, July, and August). Now from a societal perspective, it’s not too commendable when one responds to the question, “What are you doing this summer?” with the answer, “Nothing, nothing at all.” At my cousin’s wedding this past July, I saw the disdain on my relatives’ faces when they heard my response, but I like to think of it as more of a reaction sparked with jealousy.

Mankind was made to suffer, that’s the tune, but suffering through selling one’s waking hours for money is egregiously absurd. Granted, there are many endeavors which individuals undertake in which they thoroughly enjoy their time spent: my qualm is not with you.

Then there’s the jobs that people just submit to, day after day, completely unenthused about and mentally decaying over in order to receive a stipend to sustain their way of life (as college students, we all know what this entails). Of course, the latter is the reality that millions if not billions of human beings exist in until they die.

In theory, I’ll be graduating come May. In theory. I viewed this past summer as my last chance to have the least possible responsibility while having the most possible freedom. I always saw it as a terrible shame when one of my friends could not make it to something because he or she had to work in the morning.

Again, I know this is what’s real in life. I’m just trying to postpone that reality or perhaps escape it altogether. And we have learned it is possible to escape reality from time to time. Through sex, through alcohol, through music, through drugs. Why not through life?

Rather than be bombarded with choices about your future, for example, to you freshmen, whether to major in business or geology, make more important decisions: Crown Royal, Knob Creek, or Maker’s Mark? And to everyone who will be looking for employment all too soon, in the words of Brad Barr, “If there’s one thing I know to be true, let what you love be what you do.”