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Life's a Bitch and then you Rock
Life is full of hardships, which is a bitch. But, if faced, they are overcome and you are rewarded, which rocks. However, if the problems are not dealt with, more problems will arise. My title is a quote by Art Alexakis—lead singer of the band Everclear. He was presented with problems in his life, but he faced them. And now his life is much better. No one ever promised that life would be easy, and no one ever told you exactly what to expect. This is because everyone’s life is different. No one faces the same challenges. But, everyone has to face life sooner or later.
First, life confronts you with a problem. It is impossible to list every situation life can hand you, however, here are three scenarios that show different aspects of life. You’re a seventeen year-old girl who has just found out she is pregnant. Your boyfriend, afraid of the situation, has left you. Your parents, deeply religious, have shunned you. Your aunt allows you to stay in her house but disapproves. You are left alone to take care of yourself—sacrifice your childhood. In the next scenario, you’re a grown man. Your father has just suffered a severe stroke, his third in as many years. He is unconscious, in constant suffering, and kept alive, only by respirators that breathe for him. You must choose whether to keep him alive on the machine or pull the plug and let him die—decide his fate. Finally, you’re a 19 year-old college student that has to write a major essay. You haven’t made an effort all year. And if you don’t write a reasonable paper you will probably fail the class. It’s not a difficult assignment but you have to find time, research the subject, and not loose sight your goal—take the responsibility. Ursula K. Le Guin was presented with responsibility when she saw the sparrow trapped in the cage (564-565). She could have just walked away, but she took it upon herself to find help. In our lifetimes, life provides a problem, and we must find a solution.
Next, you have to decide whether to face the problem at hand, or ignore it. Let’s say, in that the first scenario you face your problems, just as Barrett Mandel faced his problem—the inability of university students to write proficient papers. You get an after-school job; study just as hard, if not harder, than you have been; and make plans for the birth.
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Finally you are rewarded accordingly to your chooses. In the first scenario you faced the problems you were presented with, you sacrificed your childhood to secure your child’s future, and now you have a beautiful and loving baby girl. She will love you and care for you when you get older. You have made the right decision. Mandel too made the right decision when he wrote his paper. He accepted his problem and found a solution—addressing teachers and introducing new ways of learning. In the second scenario you also faced your problem, you decided to pull the plug. Though your heart is full of sorrow and loss your father’s suffering has ended. He lovingly awaits you on the other side. Alice Walker likewise faced her problem; she got over her appearance and went on to become a phenomenal writer. You should be so lucky. In the third and final scenario you took no responsibility for your problem. You put it off at every chance you had. You have now failed Composition 1. You will take it again in the fall; but drop out due to lack of self-discipline. You can’t graduate college with out it, but it doesn’t bother you. You don’t need a degree to hand out free samples at Hickory Farms. And, Mc Donald’s pays time and a half during the holidays. You are optimistic—annoyingly upbeat and incredibly naïve—and you think the world is O.K. You are wrong, and the your decisions will come back to haunt you; just as the memory of the dying beetle haunts Le Guin (563-564). It only takes responsibility to change regrets into rewards. If you had made better decisions, maybe your life would “Rock” too.
At first glance “Life’s a Bitch and Then You Rock” sounds like a spur-of-the-moment rock and roll cliché, but far from it. Art was raised in Santa Monica, CA. The only child of a single mother, Art soon fell into a cocaine-propelled depression. After watching his brother and girlfriend die from drug overdoses, he kicked his deathly habit. After he joined Everclear, got married, and became a father, he settled down to write many true to life, compelling songs. “Santa Monica”, the band’s first hit single, talks of the death of his brother, and girlfriend; “Heart-Sparked Dollar Sign” is a song about true love overcoming racial prejudice and “Father of Mine” was a story of growing up without a capable father-figure. I refer back to Mandel’s paper of the unconscious mind when I make the following statement: I believe that when Art made this statement he was not at home, “...not in the most familiar of all places, his conscious mind.” (372). Art, like the three scenarios, was handed a problem—the direction his life was heading. Unlike the college student, he faced the problem and took actions to solve it. And, now he sees his reward everyday. Whether it’s in his daughter’s smile, his wife’s eyes, his fan’s voices, or his wallet’s weight, he sees that he’s made the right decisions.
No one is perfect, and no one gets through life unharmed. But, if you only leave your problems behind, as you run through life, the problems ahead will soon trap you. Don’t try to out run your problems. Face them and you will overcome them.
Le Guin, Ursula K. “Winged.” The Conscious Reader 8th ed. Eds. Caroline Shrodes et al. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2001. 563-567.
Mandel, Barrett. “The Writer Writing Is Not at Home.” College Comprehension and Communication 37.4 (Dec. 1980): 370-377
Walker, Alice. “Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self.” The Conscious Reader 8th ed. Eds. Caroline Shrodes et al. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2001. 28-34.