I ironically withdrew from DePauw on my birthday – almost three whole months of living pseudo-independently from my parents (they still paid all the bills). I spent Thanksgiving break home alone. In their anger, my family decided to exclude me from that great American November feast with relatives in Chicago.
Now that may sound cruel to do to a freshman college dropout. But how would you feel if your son spent months lying to you about his academic performance? From my perspective, a solo Thanksgiving was lenient.
Here’s where the story gets a bit complicated. Take a flashback with me to my junior year in high school. I’ve been on the honor roll every quarter. I played #2 on the varsity golf squad. I didn’t skip classes. And I was drug-tested.
My Old Man was outraged. The test, of course, came back negative. My drug and debauchery loomed on the horizon, but hadn’t quite arrived.
You see my high school didn’t drug test randomly. The school tested only on suspicion a student used narcotics. Teachers and administration conferred for several months before deciding to test a student. My Dad was furious because if the school thought I had a drug problem, they should have forewarned my parents.
What my parents didn’t know is that all the behaviors of addiction existed at school. I slept during most classes. When I wasn’t sleeping in class, I humored my fellow students with sarcasm and ill-willed wit directed towards teachers. Break and lunch time was spent in the bathroom with my only friend chewing tobacco. I completely isolated from my classmates. And as most addicts lament once sobriety takes hold, I didn’t quite fit in anywhere.
I was not nerdy enough for the nerds. Didn’t play the right sport for the jocks. Was smart, but not smart enough for the geniuses. Funny, yet overshadowed by those far wittier.
In a sense chewing tobacco was my first drug of choice. Tobacco doesn’t show up on a drug test though. And no one considers people who use tobacco as drug addicts in the strict sense of the term.
I started smoking pot shortly after the drug test. I drank heavily whenever the possibility presented itself. Ever the man of means, I double-o seven’d a way to print fake IDs. I became the go-to guy for approximately one day. Once all the guys purchased their fake IDs, I’d served my purpose.
Though grades didn’t suffer, my performance on the golf course plummeted. I continued to isolate, rebel, lay down sarcasm and distribute an aura of blah.