Friday, April 3, 2009

How to Be a Romantic Poet, Part Four

Tip #4: Have many youthful exploits! These exploits must, however, fall into the categories of dissipation, athletics or expulsion.

For dissipation, try to seduce as many people as you possibly can, from Cambridge choirboys to your Calvanist Bible teacher. Pass your time drinking and flirting with anyone who so much as catches your eye. If you are lucky, they will scorn you later on and thus allow you to develop professionally useful angst and dejection. Attend a good number of rowdy parties so as to later regret your mis-spent youth, to discover your superiority to the rest of the world, or merely to look dashing and melancholy and so cement your place in society.

For athletics, nothing is better than climbing mountains, swimming against the current, or walking a notable distance. Once you have spent a good deal of time in nature, you can reflect on its glories, or your glory in conquering it and wow the ladies by telling them you climbed the Alps (or just a hill, provided you make the hill full of faries or the like). If you are lucky, your midnight wanderings could lead to (you guessed it!) a wasting disease. If not, you could develop arthritis in all your joints and end up addicted to laudenum, which is not a bad booby prize.

For expulsion, try writing something extremely controversial and send it to all your class deans in an attempt to start up a campus-wide conversation about a difficult subject. Not only can you establish yourself as a writer, you can also get to show the unjustness of society and get out of taking your final exams.

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