Well, here I am, off campus and living alone in my grandma's condo on a beach in Florida. Other than the fact that I'm having a great time lounging in the sand and basking in the sun, I've been faced with a few perplexing issues.
For one, I'm a little concerned that I just plain don't exist anymore. Already, a few weeks ago when my parents filled out their census packets, I learned that I don't count anywhere.
I'm not on my mom's census because I go to school somewhere else. I'm not on my dad's because I don't live with him. And I didn't get sent one of my own. And now, I'm here all by myself in this chaotic state Ã¢â‚¬" I've effectively disappeared.
Not only that, I'm also slightly worried that I've become a 90-year-old woman. I mean, I eat dinner at five, I watch The Weather Channel, and I spy on people's cars in the condo parking lot. Also, I don't go out after dark (thanks to the oppressive rules of overprotective parents). It's a little weird, but I guess I'll be able to relate a little more to my friends at the Hanover Terrace Nursing Home when I return to volunteer.
But most surprising, perhaps, is my sudden affection for Dartmouth. Naturally, I miss a lot of things about Dartmouth. Blah blah blah, whatever.
But living down here alone, not even a real person, I've realized that what I miss most about collegiate life is the amazing "Badly Drawn Girl."
Sure, I check her out on the Web, but sometimes that online D just isn't enough. I need to be able to hold my daily dose of cynicism, humor, astute observations and occasional hints of emotion. I need to be able to reread my "Badly Drawn Girl" at any time.
Mindy Chokalingam '01, comic strip wonder, I don't know you, but consider yourself my hero.
I mean, it's hard to find good role models in the world. Obviously, I've consistently looked to Elaine Benes Ã¢â‚¬" or Julia Louise-Dreyfus, whichever Ã¢â‚¬" as an idol. And lately, for reasons unknown, I've thought of Tipper Gore as pretty much the coolest person alive. But Mindy, you've taken the cake; you're my favorite celebrity, except maybe for Badly Drawn Girl herself.
"Badly Drawn Girl" is like the best literature; it speaks to me so personally, though I know so many others feel the same. It's better than the best TV show; I've gotten to love the characters, and I laugh out loud when I read it. It's clever. It's biting. It's so true.
"Badly Drawn Girl" captures not only the most unique aspects of Dartmouth life, but the most important universal emotions, annoyances and relationships, as well. And I can't believe I'm living without it.
I can't believe I'm missing the dramatic return of Hastily Rendered Boy. I can't believe that Badly Drawn Girl's life is continuing, even though I'm not there.
It seemed strange at first that this comic strip could take over my life like this Ã¢â‚¬" I mean it's worse than a sitcom or a soap opera Ã¢â‚¬" but I don't think I'm the only one. There are a bunch of us around, a bunch of us who buy The D primarily for this perfect tale of a girl so badly drawn.
But I'm not here to tell all of you why "Badly Drawn Girl" is the best thing at Dartmouth Ã¢â‚¬" you already know that. I'm just here to remind you not to take her for granted. As they say, you don't always know what you've got until it's gone.
So Mindy, don't you think that my unbridled enthusiasm, along with my shameless, pathetic admiration is enough to get me a guest spot in the comic strip? Don't you think Badly Drawn Girl and I would get along so well? I'm sure that we could be best friends.
Or maybe she'd hate me. I don't know Ã¢â‚¬" Badly Drawn Girl's a little harsh sometimes. But then I could be such a perfect nemesis. She'd definitely love to hate me.
I'll be anyone. I'll be Annoying Columnist Who Loves This Comic Strip Too Much Girl. I'll be Bad Columnist Who Thinks She's Funny But Isn't Girl. I'll be Loser '02 Who's Clearly Not Doing Anything That Cool On Her Off Term Girl. Anything.
I'll even be something stupid like Generic Unaffiliated Girl, or Curly Haired Girl. I'd be thrilled just to be one of those nameless characters who says something clever in the bottom of the comic strip Ã¢â‚¬" and maybe her Badly Drawn T-shirt could say "Abbye" on it. That would be pretty cool.
Well anyway, I've obviously had a lot of time on my hands, a lot of time to spend just strolling on the beach at sunset. And while I've walked, lost in thought among the beautiful waves, whispering winds, and eternal beaches, I've spent a lot of time thinking about dreams.
I used to think I had so many dreams about what I would do with my life, what books I would write, what people I would love. But now there's just one, just one dream: to become a character in the most wonderful thing on earth, our beloved "Badly Drawn Girl" comic strip.