Nobody Likes You When You’re 23

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Nobody Likes You When You're 23

Read here my confessions, ye youthful sinners, and be warned. Take note of the works of Karl of Carolina and prepare yourselves for a day when your actions shall be no longer construed as boyish pranks, but as crimes against goodness and society itself. Yea, though I have oft listened to the choruses of Blink 182, never did I think they would soon find themselves etched in the stones of truth. Read these, oh rowdy young gentlemen, and prepare your minds for a fall from glory.

Earlier this month I turned twenty-three. We all know that your twenties can be a confusing time. You’re caught between it being okay to ask your folks for some change and being asked to conduct yourself like an adult. It kind of comes with the territory that, as bad as we want to be grown and responsible, deep down we’re still the debaucherous little fucks we were at nineteen. It’s not even halfway to the end of the month and I’ve already been shaken to my core at least thirty times. That’s nearly 10 core shakes a day. Scientifically speaking, it blows big donkey dick.

Twenty-one is a blast. You’re picking up cases and hitting the bars as you relish in the freedom of legality. Your “possession of alcohol by a minor” turns into “public intoxication” and your bank account and morals slowly begin to fade away. I pulled the ol’ boot and rally enough times on my twenty-first that I’m still waiting to hear back from “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.” It’s just part of the experience.

Twenty-two is a little tamer. Instead of taking the “let’s drink until we can’t feel feelings” route, I watched baseball, had a nice steak, and washed it down with a couple whiskey sours. It was pleasantly humble, and the kind of night that makes you think your life is coming together. Twenty-two is a nice transition between being a total animal and acting like you have your shit together. Which brings us to my twenty-third.

The week leading up to it was hectic. A whole lot of typical end of the year college shit and my recent car-peeing incident had led me to think those darkest of thoughts. “What if I can’t hang anymore? What if my best drinking is behind me? Am I ever going to graduate and get a job where I dread waking up in the morning? What if Spieth collapses on the back nine?” I decided to kick that lingering sense of self-doubt right in the ding-dong the only way I know how, by getting obliterated and letting autopilot take care of business.

I cracked my first beer at noon (I can pretend to have values, after all) and watched some Master’s coverage. The first couple hours were pretty chill, typical behavior for a guy without class and a whole lot of beer. When I was asked if I’d like to hit an apartment party, it was on.

Cut to the next morning. I awoke with a hangover the likes of which I haven’t seen since the Vacuum Cleaner Debacle, covered in scrapes and bruises. My PDM quickly filled me in that these were the result of a nasty fall, and that I had taken a dart to the hand while trying to prove that soft tips can’t break skin. Update: they can and they fucking will. I went home and passed out until about five in the afternoon, reassured that my drunken pride had once again gotten the best of me. I awoke to a plethora of missed calls and texts, many of which were along the lines of “you’re a dick” and “are you alive?” When you get drunk and call a pussy a pussy at twenty-one, nobody bats an eye. When you do the same two years later, you “can’t behave like that.” Professionalism? From a guy who has pissed himself twice in the last year? Well, apparently that’s life now.

I talked to my dad the day after trying to make sense of the situation. As an outspoken individual himself, I was sure he’d have some words of wisdom to convince me that people who get hurt by words are a special kind of stupid, and he kind of did. As a guy who was over in a desert with a whole lot of pissed off people at my age, he knows a hell of a lot more about that than I do. I finally decided to ask him if this was going to be a thing now, people letting actions they once found endearing become issues. The old man laughed and said words that still haunt me.

“Dude, this is life now. Try to have some fun with it, because from now on you’re fucking screwed. Hope that helps. That guy sounds like a pussy though.”

Thanks, pops. So for all you little shits that are carrying on, I hope you enjoy the time you have left. Live in the moment, because your future holds a whole lot of angry people and a world where you long for puking up tequila as you try to sneak in a nap between now and graduation. You have been warned.

Karl Karlson is TFM's self-proclaimed cartoon expert and your best buddy. He resides in the mountains of NC where he wrestles black bears and attempts to grow a beard. Karl gave up liquor following an unfortunate incident involving tequila and a vacuum cleaner, but he isn't above a nice stout on the porch.

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