Goodbye, school world

I find that graduation is a time for introspection, as I’ve been asking myself reflective questions like “What the hell happened to you?”

It is really going to be really difficult to write this final column, No. 67 in three years with the Daily. This is not because it will be emotional, but because I’m genuinely out of ideas (although some might point to 2004’s “Wowie, wow, wow – it’s cold” as proof this happened a long time ago).

Graduation itself has a mind-numbing quality, and I mean besides the commencement ceremony. I am stunned I am graduating at all but also nervous about beginning the last chapter of my life, namely the one where I get a boring job and work until I’m too old to function.

I’ve also found that graduation brings about a sense of introspection, as I’ve been asking myself reflective questions like “What the hell happened to you?” and “Don’t you have a senior project you should be working on right now?” I might never come up with the answers, but I at least can expect such curiosity to keep me humble.

And speaking of humility, I should take this opportunity to thank the people who inspired my awesome and undeniably humorous columns.

I owe all my roommates, past and present, a grand gift basket of gratitude for allowing me to publish things about them without them ever reading it. Oh, and in case you are reading this, roomies, the “grand gift basket of gratitude” I owe you is a metaphor. Sorry to get your hopes up.

A more sincere apology is needed for my grandmother, whose short stature I mentioned in my column about awkward hugs. Grandma, I did not know how extremely sensitive you are about your height and I had no idea my mom was sending you my columns. I obviously was hyperbolizing when I wrote about you being 3 feet tall. Thanks for taking back what you said about me being the heartless bastard child of the family.

My deepest appreciation goes out to my girlfriend, Becca, who has not dumped me even though some of the humor in my columns came at her expense. It’s funny to think that to readers, she’s a boring, uncaring, hyperallergic thorn in my side. Our relationship is, in fact, quite the opposite. Those are my characteristics!

Now that I’ve got the thank-yous out of the way, I would like to come clean and remove the tiny cloud of controversy surrounding some of my columns.

To the city of Madison, Wis.:

You blamed one sentence in my 2003 satire piece for inciting the big Halloween riot that year, yet I fervently denied any wrongdoing. In truth, I was hoping more people would catch the message and destroy the entire stinking city. One can only hope this happens next year.

To the sorority girls and their meathead boyfriends who threatened me as I listened to a band at the Steak Knife:

I can’t believe you were so offended when I wrote an anti-school spirit column that you actually confronted me in public. By the way you carried yourselves, you sure didn’t help to shed the stereotype that all those in the greek system are misled, drunk, posse-purchasing tools.

To the Carlson School of Management, which I criticized in a column only to take back my harsh words at the end, citing jealousy:

The only reason I wrote that concession was to avoid getting group PowerPoint presentations as hate mail, you spoiled, uninteresting, secretly depressed class of posers. Go pad your résumés or something.

To Ashlee Simpson, whom I smeared in a column before her concert at Northrop:

I think I had you pinned all wrong. You seem a lot more mature now, and your talent is undeniable. Your music, frankly, rocks. Punk rocks. Oh, and I’m not being sarcastic at all.

So I hope this confession session heals any wounds of ambiguity I might have caused. I’m all about healing and clear understanding, as you can tell.

Anyway, I thought I would close with some serious words of wisdom (a first) for those of you lucky enough to have some years left in college:

Just like high school, getting good grades in college doesn’t matter. However, getting smarter does matter and you can do that only by challenging yourself constantly. Challenge your music tastes, your religious beliefs, your teachers, your television shows and so on. Only after analyzing and sometimes scrutinizing the things around you will you be able to learn who you are while defining what is genuine.

It is in this spirit that I end this column in my traditional, eloquent salutation:

Bye, suckers!

Mat Koehler welcomes comments at [email protected]