The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

SATIRE: Where Is The Community In Community College? 

Freepik by tonodiaz

I had a Butterfinger for breakfast and I’m down with the flu, so, don’t anticipate cherubs greeting you with celestial trumpets in this forsaken Monday editorial. I’ve had enough of this. Of what you might ask? Well…life, in general, but more specifically the loneliness glossed over each one of our hell-ridden souls.  

Look around and what do you see? Mystical beings, utopian landscapes and blossoming waves of cosmic euphoria?  

Or do you see a bunch of people silently sharing a hardly sterile space and not talking to each other? The familiar dim light of a screen glazing people’s eyes over as we collectively wish life’s circumstances would whisk us into the sunset of adventure and novelty. We have all sat in a class in deafening silence and looked grimly around the room to see if anyone would laugh with you at your perfectly timed Ancient Egyptian mythology pun, but no dice. A swing and a miss, and the strike outs are piling up because the match ended years ago, amirite? 

The Great One (Wayne Gretzky, duh) once said: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” 

Story of my life. But what compels anyone to put themselves out there?  

I have spent countless classes not knowing the majority of my classmates’ names, much less heard a peep from them in response to the professor’s questions. 

Life is the wonderfully portrayed in the iconic film, Groundhog Day (1993) starring the bless-ed one, Bill Murray. We could draw countless parallels and contemplative commentary in the book of life to that masterpiece. The suffering introvert inside us all is forced by sword-point each day to climb out of the burrowing hole we barricaded with empty pizza boxes and broken dreams in the face of forever alone-ness.  

And every day, when we hiss at the sunlight we have been trying to avoid by snoozing the 6 alarms on our cell phone, it is no surprise that we embody the fearful groundhog and see our shadows to promptly haul ass back inside to our lair of despair for a bag of comfort known as Doritos. “NOPES.” “Not today.” is all I want to say. 

If it wasn’t for the fact that I grew up in a world fueled and filled by haunting rejection at every corner and intersection of life then maybe I wouldn’t have such an aversion to interacting with other people. 

So, what do you do in a place where you should find community and there are people everywhere around you, but find that it only makes you feel lonelier? Well, if the definition of insanity hasn’t been etched into the confines of your mind by the echoing voice of your mother, allow me to repeat it: 

“What’s the definition of insanity? Repeating the same thing and expecting different results.” 

Oh shit. We’re all insane aren’t we? But that’s common ground. And you know what? Other people can relate otherwise they would be the poster child of public outreach and would be swooping in to involve you without any effort of yourself. 

The truth is, we are all searching. We are looking for inspiration, we are in a communal setting, precisely to find what it is that we are avoiding. Solidarity.  

Terence McKenna once said,  

“The problem is not to find the answer, it’s to face the answer.” 

We are exactly what we see in the world. Do you see division? That’s you. Do you see hopelessness in the world? That’s also you. That is the real meaning of “You get what you see.” To further clarify, you project the world of your experience. Am I the only one suffering from victimhood complex? Nah. We all do, but we’re getting better, because change is on its way, which starts with awareness. We comprehend what we see in others but have failed to see or understand in ourselves. 

“I always thought someone should do something about that … then I realized I am somebody” 

Lily Tomlin 

You can be the change that you want to see in the world. The trouble with life is, nothing is handed to you. That’s fairy tell foolery reserved only for wealthy billionaire playboys spun by the gods of complacency designed to keep you asleep. I am certainly no advocate for the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality here, nor will I begin down the rabbit hole that we could spend a lifetime to unravel the flaxen cord to get to the end of the maze of privilege and identity politics. That will be something for another day, or better yet, something that you will unravel for yourself, because you are not satisfied with the answers everyone else is giving you.  

You see, when you realize that only you are capable of the change that you yearn for in the world then you know that you must stop hesitating and begin acting, because after all, “All the world’s a stage.” Thanks, Shakespeare. 

Change is correlated to action: and it rhymes with ‘strange’ so I imagine there are connections there somewhere because doing something different is strange. Check out James Gleick’s book Chaos and start studying strange attractors and see what you walk away with. Chaos theory is one of the greatest scientific shifts in the past century, so it would be advisable to brush up on it or familiarize yourself with some of its tenets if you’re a big honking nerd like yours truly. Taking actionable steps by touching the void of the unknown is the catalyst for unveiling the wizard behind the curtain, which is and has always been you.  

Change is interdependent and only measurable by how much you change. The truth is, in the cosmic expanse of this vast experience called life, our decisions are not forks in the road, but directions to and from ourselves. What are forks used for? Only one thing that I know of and that’s eating spaghetti. There is no “wrong” or “right” way. That’s usually people trying to make “heads” or “tails” of a coin or situation.  

The problem is, it is still a coin, and on a deeper level it’s only the symbol represented as a coin that is a piece of metal which is an element that we have arbitrarily placed value on. We shan’t dive into the sign, signified, and the signifier today, either, but needless to say, change is universal. You are either with the flow of the current, or you have thrown an anchor from your drift boat into the depths of the ocean pretending you could stop change, but news flash, ya can’t.  

So, if you want community, it starts with communication, which means speaking up and reaching out into the unknown experience of life and then navigating the colossal insecurities and traumas we have all experienced and remember the reassuring words from Frank Herbert’s Dune when Muad’dib said: 

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” 

You get what you give, what goes around comes around. So, start generating the vibe that will attract your tribe and step boldly into the experience instead of suffering by the hesitation of it and you will begin to see the world differently. Community starts with you. Questions? Comments? Disagree? Good. See ya next week. 

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