As a black male, there is no shortage of reasons to attend a HBCU. Some are beneficial, like becoming more woke, finding ways to appreciate your Blackness and educating yourself in the presence of forward-thinking people who strive for Black excellence. Others are purely social, like being outnumbered by fine-ass Beyoncé wannabes 20-to-1, getting turnt for epic Homecomings or indulging in the spoils of Greek life (if you’re into that).
One of the greatest takeaways from my time at FAMU is the high volume of caring professors I encountered during my nearly decade-long excursion in the highest of seven hills. (I don’t have a graduate degree, it just took me long as fuck to receive my Bachelor’s because I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do.) I was privileged to acquire knowledge from educators who not only genuinely cared about my professional preparedness, but also my personal well-being. To this day, there are a few professors that I occasionally reach out to for counseling, mentorship, and even, shit-talking (whenever my Lions beat the Packers, there is bragging to be had).
The most influential professor during my time in Tallahassee was Dr. X. He’s a distinguished gentleman, who boasts an impressive resumé and a delightful bowtie collection. (He’s worked for the CIA, the State Department, and a bunch of other cool-ass organizations. Out of respect, I’ve changed his name for this piece.) He sermonized the importance of efficiency and maximizing opportunity; fitting given he is an economics professor.
“Your life should be about purposeful movement. Everything you do must have value,” he frequently said. He seldom discussed sports, music, movies or any other form of entertainment. It was “fruitless frolic” in his opinion. It’s a notion that we debated often. I remember facetiously telling him once, “There is joy in indulging in pointless activities. LeBron’s field goal percentage is of grave importance.” He would always reply in his stoic, monotone voice, “Nonsense.”
But given the state of our society, and the growing presence of the world’s wickedness, it’s a notion that has become increasingly imperative. There is an absolute necessity for indulging in pointless shit for the sake of our sanity. Note: The events of today’s society are in no way new, or more heinous than before. Technology has just made us more aware of the evil that exists.
Last month featured a metric fuck ton of nefarious, gut-wrenching shit. There were two state-sponsored executions of Black men. Then came the cowardly retaliation that killed five civil servants. That’s in addition to the dozens of terrorist attacks that claimed more than 500 lives around the world (including Nigeria, France, Syria, and Iraq). And the four lives lost due to gun violence on Chicago’s Southside during Independence Day weekend. And the grandmother killed via a hit-and-run while tending to a community flower bed.
Not to mention the coronation of America’s most offensive, bigoted and demonizing political candidate disguised as dog vomit fungus, at a convention who’s political party is predicated on White supremacy, privilege, and bitch-ass-ness.
This month is already off to a sadistic start. Less than a week into August and we’ve witnessed the state-sponsored execution of one black woman (and the wounding of her five-year-old child) and the grotesque murder of another. It’s a cruel fucking world that we live in.
Thus, to cope with this wickedness, I frequently indulge in some incredibly meaningless shit. Today was no different. I played NBA 2K15. I watched amateur-produced skits via social media. I cleaned barely worn sneakers. I listened to The Internet’s Ego Death. I found creative ways to duck Navient’s harassing collection calls (you’ll get this money when I get it gotdammit). I even researched stats comparing cornrow donning, Denver Nuggets Carmelo to outspoken, annoyed by Jimmy Bulter’s singing, New York Carmelo. Note: MSG Melo may be shooting the ball better from beyond the arc, but I’ll take Mile High Melo all damn day.
None of this added any considerable value to my life. In fact, I’ll forget a few of these activities by the time I turn 30 years-old next week. But they all did one vital thing: they provided some escape. They gave me a much-needed distraction to the world around me. They allowed me to smile a little more and strengthen the hold on my dissipating hope for humanity.
For some reason, we’re quick to denounce profitless activities as being childish, or unfit for adult consumption. Everything’s about getting money. Or bitches. Or recognition. Or starting a revolution.
Just last week during a pick-up basketball game with a few older, suit-wearing professionals, the conversation frequently pivoted around the lack of urgency millennials have in regards to growing their fortune, and the fruitless distractions we adopt, namely Pokémon Go. As if working a job we abhor, for a company that considers us disposable, in a sterile cubicle for 30 years is a great alternative. Naw, fuck that. Stop shitting on other people’s rainbows.
Look, I’m not saying we shouldn’t adopt progressive behaviors. It’s important to build wealth, stay as woke as possible, and count calories occasionally. But just as managing your bank account is important, so is investing in your happiness. If catching Pikachus, or watching King Bach’s videos, or floating half naked on an inflated donut with a beer in tow puts a smile on your face, then good for you. Do that shit. Everything in moderation.
Not every move needs to be a calculated, profound action in a futile effort to become the greatest human on planet Earth. The beauty of life is finding joy in the little things. So give adulting a break. Eat a whole tub of gelato. Watch some twerk videos. Start a Nerf war. Obliterate your homeboy in Madden. Reread Harry Potter for the third time. Have sex like there’s no tomorrow (wrap it up though). Your inner-self needs it. And our humanity depends on it.