Thursday, May 10, 2012

No. 756 – Numb

Performer: U2
Songwriters: The Edge, Bono, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr.
Original Release: Zooropa
Year: 1993
Definitive Version: MTV Video Awards, 1993

The 1993 MTV Awards tried to equal the epic 1992 version but couldn’t come close, although I loved the performance of this song by “U2,” which was just The Edge in sunglasses on a chair in the middle of the stage with the music piped in. It actually was kinda cool.

I had the videotape rolling that night, and this song found its way to a tape I was listening to a lot at the end of 1993 when I hatched one of my most harebrained schemes. Actually, that’s not entirely fair. It might have been a little harebrained, but it was done with good intentions.

By this time, I had been looking to leave the Journal for almost two years, and nothing was happening at the newspapers I was targeting. I suppose I could’ve looked at a smaller paper, but I didn’t want to take a step backwards at this point. But aside from feeling trapped, I looked for other activities. The Journal had a nice benefit in that it would compensate a large percentage of education expenses. I decided after four years it was time to take it up on its generous offer.

I had given the odd thought about becoming an English professor off and on since I saw Dead Poets Society. I liked the academic setting, the idea of gaining further knowledge myself and—particularly—the idea that I could spark enthusiasm to learn and make a difference in ways that I never could by working at a newspaper.

UM-Flint was almost literally right across the street from the Journal—I had been working out there the past year—so I could attend classes either right after my work shift or in the evening before class. It was too good to be true.

And it was. UM-Flint had dozens of programs, but a masters in English with a doctorate track wasn’t one of them. I’d have to go to Ann Arbor for that, and that was an hour’s drive.

On the other hand, Michigan State was a little more than a half-hour away and less if I moved to the west side of Genesee County, and it offered a doctorate program in English. OK, so it would require a bit of travel and very careful scheduling, but it won’t cost much, and besides, what better do I have to do with myself in the dead of winter besides drink Jack Daniels and Labatt Ice while listening to bad karaoke at the White Horse or play Nintendo?

It was an easy decision: I decided to go for it. I contacted MSU and got together a list of the things I would need to assemble for my application—transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal essays (multiple ones). I was happy to see that my GRE scores from seven years before when I went to Northwestern were still good.

Then I got an even more brilliant idea: What about Ohio State? I could move home and go after my new career goal. Two birds, one stone. Obviously, the finances would be an issue there, but we could work that out at the appropriate time. When the hare brain is working overtime, you just go with it.

What could possibly go wrong? What indeed.

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