Notes from the First Summer
I'll never forget one particular Saturday night in July the summer after graduating college. Two months earlier, I was the king of the world. I had taken my last final exam, I was juggling multiple girls at once, and my little brother in the fraternity
gave me some drunken rant at the bar as to why I was a good guy and an "even better brother." At the time, that last one meant something to me. I was a good guy, and hell, I was a great brother. Man, I was the shit. If there was a Mount Rushmore for cool people, at that very moment—I was on it. Right up there, alongside Zack Morris, Mike Seaver, and that Brody dude from "The Hills."
Yet, two months later, there I was—still without a job, back in suburban New Jersey watching "America's Funniest Home Videos" with my parents on their living room couch, and feverishly checking my phone for text messages—none of which were coming through. After getting into bed at 9:30PM on a Saturday, and having my mother deliver me some cookies and milk and a kiss on the forehead before sleepy time—it was official. I was a loser. And not a normal loser—but, rather, a TREMENDOUS one.
Mount Rushmore had come crumbling down. This was the absolute nadir of my life.
Looking back, things really weren't all that bad. I moved into my childhood bedroom (covered in sports posters and R.L. Stine's Goosebumps books), didn't pay a cent of rent, and sat on Instant Messenger talking to my "working friends" all day. But I was getting nowhere with jobs, getting nowhere with girls, and life felt like it was pretty much stuck in neutral. I think I hooked up with one girl that summer. And I am fairly sure she thought I was someone else—a guy named "Brett." I went on a few interviews. One of them took place in the back of an Indian restaurant for a company with both a "dot com" and a "dot net" at the end of its URL.
Any ego I'd built up or high horse I'd climbed upon during college was stripped from beneath me in the blink of an eye. The second I threw that graduation cap, it was as if I'd been duped by some Matador with a vanishing red sheet of "Wake the Fuck Up."