When you’re my age, and still very much trying to hash out the crude realities of this world, it’s very easy to slip into conspiracy talk.
The government, aliens, hidden sects behind the scenes, it’s all conveniently positioned so that conspiracy-lauders don’t have to take the blame for anything. Too convenient, one might argue. Too convenient indeed.
You can apply a remedial conspiracy theory to anything that troubles you. Global warming, some shady whisperer in an alley might suggest, is actually caused by aliens who enjoy watching
a good beach party now and again. Your household suffers from an intermittent Internet connection? Of course it does, and you might thank hijacking FBI agents sending the voyeuristic aliens annoying spam email in hopes of dissuading their creepy and unwanted attention. What else could it be, really?
You may wonder why no one’s told you this before, but that’s only because the media are run by the lizard people, for the lizard people, who fully admit their partiality for a sun-baked, rock-strewn Earth. And bikinis.
So while aliens are casually throwing extra microwaves through space in the name of cultivating their earthly interests, is it so hard to believe that the government and the universities are conspiring to keep college kids from participating in holiday season shopping?
A vast number of students are staring out over the barren wasteland that is their bank account this month. The first instalment of student loans have all but dried out.
Now, they must nomadically ford the distance between today and the next instalment of their student loan, which, if they cross their fingers hard enough, will arrive sometime in January.
For students who scrape by without signing up for a few years’ indentured labour post-graduation — what else do you call the work a 20-year-old does to put together several tens of thousands of dollars as quickly as possible — there is the always shocking but unsurprising tuition bill due Jan. 6.
The universities of the world like to put Christmas and great acts of bill paying side by side, it seems, like an angel and its evil twin.
"But why would the universities want to keep students from buying their families nice things?" anyone might be asking.
Maybe the universities want their students to do better things over the break than hang out in malls like they did when they were 13. Oh, the repressed memories!
It’s eye-rollingly likely that the universities of the world don’t think about Christmas all year round, especially not when they’re creating their payment schedule.
On the conspiracy side, maybe the schedule is secretly decided by students so that we could be granted shopping immunity and be spared the horrors of Black Friday battlefield.
It’s an emotional time for everybody. "Finally," think
the mothers of the college world, "my kid is back in my arms! I hope she’s not asking me for $600," which her kid inevitably is.
Her student child’s Christmas presents this year will consist of crudely hobbled together thrift store purchases.
Our student hero will sheepishly unwrap beautiful kitchen wares and thoughtful, tasteful jewelry wrought by the finest of artisanal hipsters, things that people with budgeting smarts are able to impart on their loved ones.
Her gift wrap, on the other hand, will be that green tissue paper from Christmas orange boxes. Her parents will unwrap horrendous vinyl from the MCC’s "free" shelf, even though their record player has been embalmed, mummified and put on display at the Museum of Lost Artifacts. Her siblings don’t expect anything for Christmas but a few casual squabbles before, during and after Christmas dinner, at which point their holiday traditions and values will have been fully met.
Everything is going according to plan, the conspiring heads of universities might muse. Maybe that’s the root of the whole thing — teaching the upcoming adults of this world to take the money out of it and make a modest, merry Christmas anyway.
» Natalie Bohrn is a local university student; her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 21, 2013