Another summer, a new world

By Eli Gottlieb


“Spring is here, spring is here. Life is skittles, and life is beer. I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring. I do. Don’t you?” These  are Tom Lehrer’s lyrics for, “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park,” and they sum up how we should feel right now about the upcoming summer, unless of course, you are looking for a summer job.

If you’re a freshman, have a good time working at the Stewarts ice-cream counter. Sophomores and juniors, this means its time to find internships. Seniors, time to find jobs or go to grad school.

This all doesn’t seem too bad, except that America has faced a record rate of youth-unemployment, so the sophomores, juniors and seniors might be learning what it means to have a small wallet. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in July, 51.1 percent of Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 years old were unemployed. We all need to figure out what the hell we’re doing with our summers, and probably our lives, if we can’t get anyone to hire us for actual, paying work. There’s got to be something we can spend our time doing productively, or at least enjoying.

So, I present to everyone, the wonderfully fun non-careers that will probably do better for us than normal unemployment anyway for the summer.

The first thing to do in order to shut your mom up is to become a professional player of the collectable card game, “Magic: the Gathering”. After all, each Magic Pro Tour gives out $40,000 to the winner, and there’s another $190,000 in prizes given out to the rest of the Top 8. All you have to do is learn to the play the game, follow the professional metagame, build a pro-level deck and strategy, then enter tournaments and win. First, your local Friday Night Magic, then an open Pro-Tour Qualifier or Grand Prix tournament, then the actual Pro Tour, then the world. The best part, of course, isn’t the earning of a living. The best part is the fun: the game you learn, the many friends you’ll make at your local gaming store (Worlds Apart and the Games Hobbyist League RSO), the beauty of Magic’s complex mathematics and of course the simple joy of looking at someone who thinks they’ve won and saying, “Counterspell.”

You could also go live on a kibbutz, a community in Israel established on the principles of social equality. There you could live a happy life beneath the sun, working on eco-friendly growing of delicious vegetables and freely raised meat and dairy animals. You’d live in a communal – nay, communist – environment, in which you know everyone, everyone knows you and your actual needs are supplied for by the community. Sure, you wouldn’t get rich, but neither would you ever suffer extreme poverty.

Now, before anyone objects that I’m just pimping for Israel again, most kibbutzim in Israel actually went capitalist a long time ago. Only a few truly communal ones remain, and there are actually kibbutzim of a few sorts all over the world now. This summer, I’m hoping to move into one in Seattle, an old-model collective of hard-left Jews doing some organic farming in the city.

OK, so now we’re all professional “Magic: the Gathering” players living on communes. We get out in the sun, and then we run to the gaming store to get out of it. We’ve got a healthy fruit-and-vegetable diet. We’re really, really different from most people. The logical thing to do, at this point, is to start filming your life and putting it on YouTube. For some strange reason, the horde of people on the internet will actually pay attention to any sufficiently unusual video you put up and possibly even send you small amounts of money (to supplement your income from gaming and farming). Once you’ve got sufficient footage, you can even make it into a documentary film and hawk it to actual film studios or theaters. Since it’s a documentary, you don’t need much more than a camera, a computer and your friends. Getting a film shown in theaters will look great on your bucket-list. Hell, you could actually become a pretty cool movie star this way, so please make sure to come back to the University of Massachusetts campus and do a documentary chapter about your time here.

Of course, by now you’ve spent a long time on YouTube, haven’t you? Too long, in fact. You’ve seen every stupid music video, every Photoshopped clip of someone’s cat and every dumb meme. That means that by now, you’ve exposed yourself to the Slender Man. He’s after you; maybe he’s always been after you. Everyone knows that overexposing yourself to information about the Slender Man brings his attention.

It only helps that you’re a documentary filmmaker living on a farming commune who plays trading-card games for a living. Everyone already considers you insane by now. Now you find yourself glancing around every street corner for the figure in the too-tall suit with too many arms,– squiggly, squirming arms too – flapping far more flexibly than anything with joints ever could but far more coordinated than any tubes of mere flesh. Oh well, it was fun.

Surely with any of these “jobs”, your summers technically wouldn’t be filled with woeful unemployment.

Eli Gottlieb is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].