It’s about that time. Spring. Brush the dirt of your shoulders, take off those Uggs and wear a bikini in Central Park. Come on! Do it! It’s, like, totally warm out—60 degrees! I’m not kidding!
In New York, spring means two things. First, it’s tits galore. Equal opportunity tit-ployment. Big ones, small ones! Even braless ones, peaking out from under sheer tank tops, saying, “Hey, it’s me—and I brought the nipples!”
Ah yes, the beautiful people have emerged, like honey bears out of hibernation, rubbing their eyes, barely letting them adjust to the sun before slipping on their aviator sunglasses and skulking around your local coffee shop. Life is so depressing for long limbed models with unwashed hair that traipse through the East Village like giraffes on safari. They’ve all returned from L.A! Rejoice!
Along with those hotties, something else happens. Suddenly, a little bit of sunlight, a slight warm breeze rustles the lone tree on my block and every urine-dripping-down-his-leg, beer-stained-shirt, smoking a fresh-off-the-curb-cigarette-butt fuck-up in New York emerges, chest hair exposed, to stare at all those tits. And sit next to me on the subway. Who doesn’t love a good dose of personal smog? Come on. Really. Who?
I found myself thinking of the joys of the season when I awoke on Saturday morning, hung over like Nick Nolte after a West Hollywood bender. I ordered a bagel and cream cheese from the deli downstairs—ordered, because unlike J-Lo, the hardest-working woman in Hollywood, I am a lazy fool—and flipped on the television. Let it be known that I am a Food Network junkie. Molto Mario, Barefoot Contessa, Paula Dean—love it. I love it all. So naturally, as I carbed my hangover away, I flipped to channel 50 in anticipation of some sort of delicious pasta dish I could make someday when I own pots and pans.
Staring back at me, on the screen, was a guy I went to college with. He now has his own show. On the Food Network. I tried to choke on my bagel, but damn gag reflex saved my life. There he was, basking in his glory, commenting jovially that, “my big buffet dinner is skipping along at a mighty pace here” and decorating some dish with prunes.
I felt like a bum with urine dripping down my leg.
Success in the real world is a bitch. Especially when it happens to other people. Especially before it happens to you.
You see, in many ways, college is the great equalizer. Mostly everyone lives in the same shitty dorms. Mostly everyone drinks the same shitty beer. Mostly everyone gets a shitty boyfriend. And if you do meet with success in college—like if you win a Rhodes Scholarship, or if you get a summer fellowship—that just means you have to work a hell of a lot harder than anyone else. Kudos to you! But I’ll still see you at the local dive bar for 25-cent drafts on Wednesday nights. Yes, my friends, college is a Marxist dream—proletariat unite for frat parties! Proletariat unite for late night cheeseburgers!
But those dreams of blissful communist existence are fleeting. Here today, gone four years later. And when they do disappear, some of us have student loans, others don’t. Some of us have six figure Wall Street jobs, some of us don’t. Some of us get to live in gorgeous lofts in SoHo (ok, one of us does) and the rest of us have 54 minute commutes from Astoria to our 18-grand-a-year publishing jobs at seven in the morning.
In the real world, success translates not just to things—but to a different lifestyle too. No, this isn’t a novel concept, but it is a new one to adjust to. Success in the real world means you get to eat better, dress better, live better and dance on tables with Paris Hilton and Ben Stiller at Bungalow 8. And I love Ben Stiller.
I’ve never been to Bungalow 8. But I’ve stood outside. How awesome is that?
Perhaps it’s childish and immature, but let’s be honest, it’s a touch—more than a touch—difficult not to resent those that have shot out of the starting blocks of life like a juiced up baseball player stealing second base.
After all, you and Billy took Journalism together. Why did he have that brilliant idea of writing an expose on that fucking Bolton guy BEFORE Bush even nominated him? Suddenly Billy’s got a permanent job at Atlantic Monthly. Not only that, he’s also totally funny and Jon Stewart is thinking of hiring him as an on-air correspondent. After all, he served as a consultant on the national bestseller America. Good for him. Seriously. Glad those years in that sketch comedy group you two started are really paying off for someone.
I switched off the TV Saturday morning, and told my best friend the news.
“Wow,” she replied in awe, “is he going to be like, a chef heartthrob now?”
“Possibly,” I said.
“Good for him,” she said trying to sound hopeful.
“Yeah, he’s cute,” I replied even more brightly.
We looked at each other for a second, having the same semi-shameful thought. She suggested we go to Central Park and lie in the sun. We did, and he put the finishing touches on dessert.