Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Perfect Costume

            It’s my favorite time of year again.  Leaves are falling, sweater weather has begun, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and best of all, Halloween is next week.  When else can children and adults alike run around in crazy costumes, instilling fear and searching for candy (and other things)?  It’s the one night when it doesn’t matter who you really are, just who you want to be.  The masks, capes, and latex that people don every October give them the freedom to create a new persona for just one evening.
            Anyone who says that they are too old for a costume is lying.  I’ve been there—at one point I certainly thought I was too mature for this seemingly childish game of dress up—but that was a weak conclusion to draw.  Halloween is all about forgetting maturity for a couple of hours.  Kindergarteners, college students, doctors, waiters, and even teachers drop those titles and create their own.  In fact, the young often dress up as the old and vice-versa.  This way, a 45 year old can go back to high school and a high schooler can become an adult.  It doesn’t matter where someone is in their life, Halloween will always be a night of mischief excitement.

            I’m not sure what I’m going to be for Halloween.  Hopefully it’ll come to me sometime in the next seven days.  Over the years I’ve gone from pumpkin to baseball player to scream and a dozen other goofy costumes.  But that’s enough about me; I’d like to hear from you.  What are you wearing this year?  Send in a photo to

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Keep In Touch: By Michael Ginsburg

A note from the editor:
For the first time in the history of this blog and my short writing career I’m going to admit that someone nailed the nostalgia post better than I have.  Yes, it’s the millionth time you’re reading about the longing for the past that us young adults continue to feel as we grow up, but Michael (a regular contributor now it seems), really brings up a good point here.  Enjoy.

There probably could not have been a better surprise than the phone call I received late last Tuesday night. I had just finished my weekly 3-hour class and Jake was calling me to tell me that he had decided to book a flight back to Baltimore at the last minute. Before, I was looking forward to coming home for my birthday over fall break, but only a handful of my friends were going to be home, and now my weekend would surely be a little more exciting.
While we were only home for about five days, we made the most out of the time we had back in Pikesville. We did everything we wanted, ate everywhere we wanted, and even ventured on a brief road trip. It was just like we never left. Every morning he’d outsleep me per usual, but I’d call and wake him up anyway. After all, running on just a couple hours of sleep for one weekend never killed anyone.
Whether it was deciding on where to eat lunch or just our casual banter on the drive south down I-95, we found ourselves arguing just like old times. It was reminiscent of our daily car rides to the Park School, even though those days were almost two years ago.   We were back in action, just like Kornheiser and Wilbon. Interestingly enough, sometimes it’s the trivial quarrels, not the memorable events that define a friendship.  Those everyday conversations and communications that friends take for granted when they see each other regularly are easily forgotten.
Amidst all the crazy shenanigans we did over the last five days, our final conversation before he hopped out of my Ford Explorer Tuesday morning will stick with me more than anything else. We sat in my car before we parted ways for the airport, and as always, we got nostalgic. We reminisced on upper, middle and even lower school memories. Whether it was shoveling driveways on snow days, playing sports together, or even just talking about stuff that happened in high school, everything was covered. The song changed and he relented that after this one he’d finally have to step inside the house and pack up his bag, but for some reason we just remained in the car.
The coolest thing we decided is that no matter how far apart, or how little we talk at times simply does not matter. He told me how weird it is that he just doesn’t keep in touch with some people he used to, and now they aren’t a part of his life. But sometimes, most times, there’s an exception to the rule. It wouldn’t matter if we didn’t talk for weeks or even months; right when we’d see each other, everything would be normal.
As I write this sitting on the plane back to New Orleans, I think about how many people I spoke to in high school, or even this past summer that I’ve simply lost touch with. I wonder if I saw them tomorrow, would it be like we never lost contact? I think, just based on experience, that if you can see someone after an extended period without speaking and have it be like nothing happened, they are someone you might want to consider keeping in your life.
To use Jake’s classic line, I implore you to call up someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Say something if you need to—take a step to diminish the bad blood, bitter feelings, or inexcusable lack of communication. I guarantee you that some words, any words, are always better than none. Never leave something on bad terms; you never know if it’s the last time you’ll ever see that friend that you haven’t talked to because of one stupid argument two years in the past. Try it out, and make someone’s day; I’m more than confident it’ll make yours too. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Spectacular Now: A Response

By: Michael Ginsburg

I’m sure you’ve heard the adage “live in the now”. While I’m not sure if I’d argue to live by coined phrases like this, I certainly agree with it. Each day we live, for the most part, is taken for granted; as are the things we possess and the people we have in our lives. Life’s plotline, whether it is predetermined or not, is ours to live—not for tomorrow, but today.
Something that haunts me everyday is my need to worry about the future and what’s ahead of me. Since I was a child, I remember many instances of this. When I was about 6 years old, my parents told me I was going to start playing in a basketball league in a few weeks. I bawled my eyes out for about an hour or so. Years later, I was set to go on a trip to Israel. I was excited all year for it, but as the time to leave grew nearer, I became increasingly nervous. The anxiety of going away bothered me for weeks leading up to it.
In each of these instances, the fear of the unknown rattled me to the point where it affected daily living. Something that was going to happen in the future gnawed at me before it even started. Hence, I was living two, three even four weeks ahead of where I actually was, which left me unable to enjoy the present.
Looking back on both of those examples, I can’t help but laugh at myself. Basketball, for at least 14 years, was a centerpiece of my life. Perhaps you’ve heard of Malcolm Gladwell’s theory that claims it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be considered an expert at something, like basketball or playing the piano. I once tried to calculate how much time I actually spent playing basketball and came up with an estimate of 2,521 hours of practice. This comes out to roughly 105 days of my life thus far, spent playing basketball. This sport that once had me crying because of my fear to play turned out to be one of the most important things in my life.
On a similar note, my trip to Israel—over which I lost many hours of sleep—was undoubtedly one of the best trips of my life.  I had experiences that I’ll never forget and met friends that I’ll always love.  It’s funny to think how naïve I was when I sat around worrying about everything that could possibly go wrong.
My point is obvious, right? Whether you need to declare your major or begin playing a new sport, is irrelevant. They both entail this lack of certainty and make you think about what’s ahead of you. While it’s not always bad to look ahead, there just isn’t a reason to let the future ruin the present. Don’t worry about tomorrow; it’s out of your control. Everything plays itself out—for the better or worse. Everything turns out okay in the end, and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end. If it’s meant to be, it will. These clichéd adages are the ones to consider in our daily life. Enjoy the journey as much, if not more than the destination.
In the wise words of Eric Cartman, “I don’t like thinking about what I want to be when I grow up, because when I grow up, I want to be something that I know I can never be.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Check out previous post here: The Spectacular Now