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Davis, California

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Column: Daydream believers

Having successfully embezzled a baller sum of money from a Fortune 500 Company, acquired invaluable intelligence via blackmail and furthered plans to fix an upcoming gubernatorial election before noon, I was heading back to my renovated Scottish castle for some serious chillaxin’ when I remembered that I don’t actually live in one of my crazysauce adolescent fantasies.

My friend Becky and I dreamed big in middle school, because it was the best we could do – middle school sucked. It was a time when no one could stand the person they were secretly in love with, the answer to everything was in a Michelle Branch song and most people had faces like a pepperoni pizza.

I recall playing footsie in English class throughout the sixth grade, and playing it so hard that me and What’s-His-Name both ended up with bruised shins and a summons to the school counselor a couple of times. What I mean by this is we were beating the shit out of each other underneath our desks. One fight was over microscope slides because I wanted to look at butterfly wings while he opted for frog testicles and we were stuck sharing a microscope. So much for ladies’ choice. Even at 12, men are from Mars. Oh yeah, and there was that stoner kid who shaved his hamster but left a mane and named it “Lion.”

We had our entire futures planned in dreamscope. We would waltz through lives fraught with chandeliers, Texas hold ’em with monarchs, and Aston Martins. Since we were sheltered kids stuck in a place where the fuzz put dummies in cop cars as a crime deterrent (Becky moved to Ithaca for awhile, where she was reprimanded for teaching the ESL kids to swear on the bus), the first time Sydney and Vaughn kissed on “Alias” was, like, a big fucking deal to us. That show should have been axed after two seasons, but it had more influence on us than we realized. Because the words “diamonds” and “world domination” came up a lot when we schemed about how we would capture our fortunes.

When I did occasionally come down from my état de rêve and get practical, I decided that becoming a foxy pastel suit-wearing litigator with garters to match every outfit would be the way to go. Should one of my friends ever flip a bitch and pull a machete on their spouse, I’d be there to free them from the binds of Lady Justice. Now that it’s getting to be law school time, I know I haven’t kissed enough ass for decent recommendations and my GPA is kind of in the gutter. Oh, whelps. Maybe I’ll just get my own TV show instead.

Our reveries reflected everything we thought we wanted. Even then I had some sense of who I was – I knew I’d never be one of those folks who stands by waiting to rescue cats from trees. Obviously back then I never would have guessed I’d someday attempt to shotgun whiskey and fail miserably at it.

Maybe we weren’t completely serious about these aspirations, but I think now that there’s something genuine buried in yesterday’s dreams, something people seem to lose sight of as they grow older. “When you grow up, your heart dies,” goes that one John Hughes quote. I guess the answer, then, would be to not grow up, at least not completely.

I don’t mean pull a Michael Jackson and just give reality the middle finger. I mean to remember what the kid in you always wanted to become. Granted, most of you probably wanted to be firefighters instead of trigger-happy broads with a fascination for espionage. What can I say, we’ve got the dreamer’s disease. When the evil corporate cubicle farm you’ll eventually end up at sucks out your soul, it may very well be what keeps you sane.

Becky went on to be the valedictorian of her high school class, and I … didn’t. But we’ve both made it to 22 without getting knocked up or arrested, so that’s nice. Perhaps we will marry Romanov descendants from whom we can extort all our hearts’ desires. It could happen.

While everyone around me is in full-on freak-out mode over their anticipated quarter-life crises, I’ll keep on with the fantasizing about the fleet of golf carts and shrub maze that will await my friends when they visit my estate on the weekends. A glass stargazing tower or pet tiger too, maybe. As for figuring out that whole money thing – well, I’ll think about it tomorrow.

To donate an Aston Martin or pet tiger to MICHELLE RICK, get at marick@ucdavis.edu. Or donate a Hoegaarden keg so The Aggie can have sloshball practice so she can get sloppy and pass out in front of the editor-in-chief for a third time.


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