If I Went to NYU
On my first night, after freshman orientation, I’d start a cassette-only record label with the American Apparel model down the hall. We’d release dubstep remixes of witch house songs and make out in front of popular party photographers. We’d break up after she cheats on me with Ezra Koenig, and then I’d write a 20,000 word blog post calling Vampire Weekend our generation’s Boston.
This post would capture the attention of editors citywide, six of whom would hire me (at a rate of $1,000 an hour) as a party reporter. Then I’d attend parties, mostly; an ex-girlfriend might see a picture of me telling Jesse Eisenberg a very funny joke on Gawker, and rue the day she ended things with me, cool city guy.
I’d smoke cigarettes like I do now, but at NYU this would be, for some reason, fascinating; “how absolutely wonderful you smell,” Karen O would say, climbing out of my Bushwick love palace/D.I.Y. space some Sunday morning. (Beach Fossils, playing the night before, would tell me they’re naming their album after me, and that every chilled-out note of it would be a tribute to my largess and ineffable hipness.)
I would finally accept one of the hundreds of personalized, gold-embossed art gallery party invitations I’d received, and immediately upon stepping into the gallery would 1) become the perfect sort of drunk where you’re calm and buzzed and not vomiting either your heart or dinner out, 2) befriend James Franco (“I loved Howl,” I would say, by way of introduction) and 3) have my picture taken by Terry Richardson, under the (mistaken) assumption that I am a drugged, naked twenty-one-year-old. Franco and I would snort prescription pills off the Brooklyn Bridge and talk about being young and attractive and famous.
Then he’d jump.
I’d write about the experience for the Village Voice, recount it, teary-eyed, on the Today show, and routinely use it as a pick-up line. (“You know, I’m the guy who was standing next to James Franco when he killed himself,” I’d say. “Here is a business card with my home address, Tumblr handle, and preferred underwear style,” they’d say, handing me a business card and running out the door to get things ready for me.) Eventually I’d probably go to class, and pass on the strength of my charm alone, and then maybe I’d go into advertising, or academia.
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Our generation boasts some of the most successful young entrepreneurs in history, and many of these millionaires never finished school, opting out to get a head start on their ventures. Even if you aren’t the next Zuckerberg, know that there are so many ways to learn and consume information in today’s world.
So many of my relationships in life — when I was more insecure, when I didn’t like myself, when I didn’t think I deserved much — have been about proving, over and over again, that I am okay.
Today I began an essay: For as long as I have known how to be, I’ve been ashamed of my body. My publications all live within this same confessional territory.
Almost there. But not quite.