Let’s Get Serious: I’ll Never Watch Doctor Who, and Other Famous Last Words
One of the things that I’ve learned from teaching is that nothing about school changes other than the fashion and the names of the current popular celebrities. For goodness’ sakes, they’re still telling the same ghost stories I first heard when I was 5 from my cousin Rachel in 1991. School – especially high school – regurgitates.
The good thing about this is that sometimes I can… well, sort of cheat. If I’m stuck for an idea, I try to think of what did my teacher say/do in this situation. And thus I contribute to the cycle.
There was a game that I can remember playing when I was a teenager, and it didn’t surprise me that when I suggested it to my drama students earlier in the year that they not only knew it, but they wanted to play it. The name of the game is I Never. (Yes, it is a drinking game, although Never Have I Ever played it as such.) You sit in a circle and hold up your hands. One by one we go around the circle and each person says, “I never _____.” If I have done whatever the person whose turn it is hasn’t done, or if I’ve been to wherever the person hasn’t been, I put down one finger. If I have not done/been/seen/whatever, then I leave my finger up.
As the game progresses, each round becomes more and more specific. There are three types of people who always play. The first is the Normal Kid. He or she plays the game as it is intended to be played. The second is The Kid Who Doesn’t Get It. This kid will say things like, “I never have punched a shark,” or “I never have walked on the moon.”
And then there’s always somebody that everyone in the group decides to gang up on, meaning that all the rounds suddenly become very specific to that person:
“I Never have been to America.”
“I Never have been an American.”
“I Never have been a girl.”
The object of the game… well, it depends. From one point of view, the object is to be the last man standing, the one with the most fingers still up. However, to win, I have to be a loser. I’ve made it through x number of rounds because I’ve never done anything cool? Bravo.
So what starts out as a silly game eventually turns into something potentially humiliating.
The good thing about I Never is that eventually the game will end.
And if I’ve suddenly had an epiphany that my adolescence has obviously been wasted because I’ve never traveled or eaten strange foods or played extreme sports or witnessed a crime/natural disaster/war, I can remedy that.
Life goes on, and I can do something to un-bore my life.
So while my adolescence might have been summed up in a game of I Never, I can forgive myself because I was young. Inexperienced. Naive. Innocent.
If I’m honest with myself, I feel like the years from 15-18 were filled with waiting. I sometimes felt the urge to scream, tear my hair out, destroy something because I was so utterly BORED with my life.
Bored and directionless.
I’ve discovered recently that if I’m not careful, my life could be marked by an even more sinister game:
I’ll Never is more dangerous because it is not my lack of experience that limits me – it’s myself.
I make the rules, I set the boundaries, I slowly cripple away. I allow fear and apathy and comfort to slowly paralyze me to the point that again I’m bored with my life, yet my chains are of my own making.
There’s one way to break away from the I’ll Nevers: turn them into Famous Last Words.
Now, Famous Last Words are hard, too — have you noticed yet that life is hard? Yes, it’s a cliché, and yes, it’s true. Get over it — because I have to humble myself and admit that I was wrong. It can be embarrassing, but the good thing about embarrassment is that given enough time, it will fade away.
Sometimes our Famous Last Words — our Former I’ll Nevers — are rather silly. Sometimes they’re rather serious.
Here’s my list of Famous Last Words:
Yup, I’ve said all of those and then some, and all of them have come back to bite me in the butt. I have no regrets, although my butt is still sore about Doctor Who, but really, can you blame me? I’m a geeky, nerdy Anglophile with geeky, nerdy Anglophiles for students, friends, and family, and I follow Craig Ferguson on Twitter. It was inevitable.
There are a few I’ll Nevers that have yet to become Famous Last Words:
But I’m working on it.
Anyone want to share a few of your own Famous Last Words? How have you conquered the I’ll Nevers? Am I the only one who feels this way?