Your tuna sushi will give you mercury poisoning. Caffeine causes miscarriages. Drinking all that Diet Coke is going straight to your kidneys. And don’t forget cancer; apparently, it comes from everywhere: UV rays in sunlight, parabens in moisturizers, carcinogens in cigarettes, fatty foods, alcohol, paint, Crocs…
We get it. Disregarding the terrorists, the nuclear threat and bird flu, pretty much everything else is the world is trying to kill us. Sometimes it seems like the best thing to do is curl up in bed and remain still for about ten years, until they figure out a cure for all of this (wait. Can beds cause cancer, too? Mental note: WebMD it before proceeding). But we all know that’s not a possibility, especially with midterms just around the corner. You’ve got to find a way to make it through.
The best way to keep from completely freaking out, besides the ostrich method of ignoring everything, is that classic self-esteem booster: concentrate on the positive.
Picture your walk from class back to your dorm — bet you can think of at least five things you’ll encounter that won’t give you cancer. Don’t think so? Try it. You might be surprised by what you come up with.
1. The doors at Tech: You’d think engineers could come up with a better design than this. Isn’t that their job or something? These doors trap those of us who can’t find our way around Tech to save our lives, keeping us in the building until we’re forced to learn the layout before braving near-certain injury on the way out. They might crush your innocent arms as they close on you in all their illogical, inefficient, automated glory. They might maim you, physically and/or emotionally. They will frustrate you beyond words (and all you wanted to do was get safely to Human Sex!). But they will definitely, certainly not give you cancer.
What they will give you: broken limbs, embarrassment, hatred of engineering
2. Lyndon LaRouche supporters: They’ve recently taken up residence outside Tech, hoping to catch some poor, unsuspecting student who doesn’t know that Rupert Murdoch is planning to run for president (wait. Shit. They better be wrong about that one) and the devil may, in fact, be in his computer. They’re sort of like the cicadas; you know they exist, but they don’t really occur to you except when, every so often, they emerge from wherever they’ve been hiding and chirp their way back into your life. It’s not that they aren’t nice people, but you’re tired from Orgo classes and already dreading the problem set you have to do tonight. You hear enough about the Fed in econ class. You don’t need it in real life, too.
What they will give you: literature, a long impassioned speech about… something, a bad excuse for being late to class
3.Razor scooters: There’s one every year. One kid who’s brave enough to pull off riding a scooter to class. Bikes are a given at college, but most of us can’t remember seeing (much less riding) a Razor since we were about twelve. They’re a lost art, really — something that went the way of Pogs and Tamagotchis as the toy du jour of our youth. Thank God some Northwestern students are committed enough to the art of Razor scootering to keep the tradition going. Admit it. It gives you a little tingle of joy every time that kid whizzes by, wheels clicking over the icy sidewalk. There’s a little part of you that wants to grab a pair of Skechers and find your own scooter, and there’s no shame in that. Just don’t forget your kneepads.
What it will give you: nostalgic happiness, bruised knees, odd looks from other students (they’re probably just jealous).
4. Jaywalking: You do it. Of course you do it. We all do it. Crossing Sheridan Road is enough of a challenge without the added pressure of trying to find those zebra stripes hidden under all the slush. Besides, you go to Northwestern — you’re going to take the first chance you can to get ahead of the pack. Fortunately for the student body (and bodies), we don’t live in Atlanta, where these kinds of shenanigans can get you arrested. Granted, you might get hit by a truck or a shuttle (how embarrassing), but at least it’s only kind of illegal. It’s probably not even as illegal as what you did last night. Just remember to look both ways.
What it will give you: great reflexes, the thrill of risking imminent death, 10 seconds saved by not walking to the crosswalk.
5. Snowmen: They’re popping up everywhere. Most of them are the products of overzealous freshmen who come from one of those strange states where it never snows. Even those deprived of snowy childhoods know how to craft a snowman, though. It’s hard to mess up a snowman, or to make an ugly one. They’re like cupcakes; there’s no way you can see them (or make them) and not be happy. Whether you’re building one with your overly excited friend from Florida, or admiring the handsome specimen someone created yesterday in the sorority quad, your day just got a little better. Who needs anti-depressants when we have snowmen?
What it will give you: cold hands, utter joy, a good way to get rid of that ugly scarf your aunt sent you for Christmas
Do you feel better? You should. Mostly because you should now be thinking about how awesome snowmen are. See how easy that was? Despite the scary cancer threats coming at you from all directions, there are still many things in your life that have no intention of ever giving you cancer (even if the doors of Tech are still out to kill you).
And if none of these help, you could always just go on the pill. Apparently that works, too.