Who Is Anthony Stephens?

The Life and Death of a College Grad

118-120

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Excerpt from Anthony Stephens’ Mood Journal

November 23 2007,

And here it starts again.

Tried to avoid this crap for all my undergrad, and succeeded for the most part. I was hoping I’d at least get through med school before the drama returned.

Dr. Silver always told me all my social issues stem from my outlook on people and personal relationships. Romantic relationships, parent relationships, any relationship, all that shit is what gets me all worked up. I can’t stand to be alone for too long but I can’t be around people for an extended period of time or I lose my sense of identity, start forgetting who I am and letting other people influence me, which always ends bad.

I feel like I’ve been keeping that in mind and developing so much as a person these last couple of years, and until now I’ve been under the impression that my steady improvement was a result of me just staying the fuck away from all types of relationships. Just stick to myself and I’ll be alright, that’s what’s worked out for me pretty well so far. I’m not a degenerate-drugged-out-alcoholic-college-dropout anymore. I’m a future psychiatrist.

You want to talk about a fucking one-eighty? And all because I kept my focus on what I wanted, what I needed.

Until now.

Now, once again, I feel myself falling right back into the same fucking trap with this Louise chick. Granted, I met her in my Anatomy lab this semester, so it’s not like she’s a deadbeat. And she’s my lab partner, on the pediatrics track, beautiful, smart, funny, relatable, so for all intensive purposes it’s perfectly understandable that I’d develop feelings for the chick, right? And she’s from Miami, went to FIU, actually, before coming up here. Even more of a fucking coincidence, huh?

And here’s the clincher: she likes me.

Made it pretty obvious she likes me too. Giggles at everything I say, touches me a lot while she’s talking, makes it a point to hang out with me after class.

So, what’s the problem then, right?

That’s the spiel I’ve been giving myself all semester. Let your guard down, Tony. Dr. Silver said you’d be fine, Tony. You can’t be alone forever, Tony.

So finally, like a month ago, I made up my mind to make a move, during our study session at the library. Decided I’d give it a shot and ask her out to dinner sometime, so I did. And she said yes. And basically we’ve been dating for a couple of weeks now, and when I’m with her I’m happy. Insanely happy. But when I’m not with her, it’s like there’s this voice in my head. That same dude that I haven’t heard from since I first got to Tallahassee. He keeps telling me things, and I can’t help feeling like Louise is hiding something from me, like there’s somebody else or something. Like the other day I called and she just hung up on me in the middle of us talking, called me back a minute later and made up some bullshit excuse about losing service. She was on campus though. I’ve never lost cell service on campus.

Might be over-thinking things I know. But it’s this trust thing, man. I’m supposed to buy into it again, according to Doc Silver, if I ever want to try and become a functioning citizen again.

And I just don’t know, man. I don’t know.

________________________________________________________________________

Interview with Dr. Aileen Parks: Part 3

16 July 2011

– It means a lot of things. The main thing though is that college education has lost a lot of its—vigor, per se.

– Statistically, 47% of high school graduates in 1973 continued with their education and received their bachelor’s degree. That’s less than half of America’s youth. By October 2008, that number rose to 70%. Seven out of ten Americans graduating high school in 2008 have gone on to pursue their Bachelor’s.

– Meanwhile, the unemployment rate of recent college grads rose to a record 10.6% in that same year.

– With an oversupply of graduates, the necessity to stand out from the rest of the applicant pool prompted a surge in students pursuing postgraduate degrees, with the number of freshman planning to go to graduate school rising from 31% in 1972 to 42% in 2008.

– With this comes added expenses. Graduate school tuition is higher than undergraduate, as is—generally—the cost of living.

________________________________________________________________________

Interview with Jesus Hernandez: Part 3

12 July 2011

– I didn’t think too much about Bishop after he split.

– Every month or so I’d get an email from my supervisor telling me to update a bunch of my files and his would be one of them, so I’d pull up his folder and put a note that the warrant’s still out for his arrest.

– While I’m in there though, occasionally I’ll look through his credentials, the degree and the résumé and all that and just wonder how somebody—how a minority in today’s America—could have come so far from the hood he grew up in and then turn around and fall right back into that lifestyle, all in like a split second.

– It makes me hate some things about this society when I see these guys. They’re all brainwashed by the entertainment industry.

– Pisses me off, the general attitude. Like how hip hop stars and gang members and anybody else who’s been raised in the hood love to call the ghetto a trap.

– I remember this parolee a couple years back, actually. Armed robbery felon. He comes in and sits right where you are and I asked him if he’d learned anything from his time in prison, and he fed me the same cock-and-bull story they all do.

– They all say yeah, they learned, but their eyes and the tone of their voice say they haven’t gotten shit from their time in prison but an amplified attitude problem.

– So I ask the armed robbery felon why he did what he did, and he tells me because he needed to survive.

– Survive what, I asked. The streets, he said.

– Which street, I asked. Myrtle ave? Lexington? 151st? Fucking Queensbridge?

– He got all testy with that. Says, “it’s every street when you in the hood, son.” Love to call people their quote unquote son.

– So I asked him why he didn’t just leave then. And he gave me this dead cold stare. Said, “listen, son, they don’t call it the trap for no reason.”

– I wanted to laugh at him but his file said he had violent tendencies and I don’t like scenes in my office. If he snaps, I gotta call security, deal with paperwork, arrests, missing my next appointment and all that. Too much of a hassle.

– But I wanted to call him on his bullshit. I wanted to point out to him that the ghetto, the place he’s calling a “trap,” is a neighborhood like any other. No difference between Manhattan or Queens or Decatur or fucking Beverly Hills. I wanted to point out to him that I was born and raised in Marcy Projects, came from there to where I’m at now. And sure I’m not a senator or a movie star, but I’m living in a pretty decent house in a pretty decent neighborhood in Jersey now. Crime free and comfortable.

– I wanted to point out to him that my father, he escaped both the Dominican Republic and Trujillo—El Jefe himself—at the age of ten. You want to talk about a trap, brother. [Mr. Hernandez chuckles contemptuously]

– I wanted to show this little hoodrat nimrod the scar below my rib cage, [Mr. Hernandez erratically stands and pulls his shirt up and there is a half-inch wide gunshot wound on his right flank] from my own delinquent days,and the police badge with my late father’s name on it that I keep in my desk at home, to remind me that he died in the line of duty, trying to clean up the same traps these little bastards help keep dirty.

– The ghetto is what you make it, and people who use it as an excuse to choose totrap themselves in a comfortable, lazy situation are nothing but cowards to me.

– People like Bishop though, people who came out and then willfully go back, well—they’re another deal. Worse off, you ask me. Worthless, period.

– Because I don’t acknowledge that high a level of ignorance. I say good riddance. One less brother like that in New York is a good thing.

Click For Parts 121-124

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Written by patrickandersonjr

July 16, 2012 at 9:00 am

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