10 Questions with 1 Answer: NO.

catmando

If I #selfie then it doesn’t count as narcissistic, right?
No, you’re still randomly taking a photo of yourself in the bathroom. Hashtagging doesn’t erase the toilet in the background or the reflection in your glasses, it’s just you virtually owning up to it. Which is good: it’s the first step to recovery. Now, put down the camera.

Can I eat that Burger King anniversary offer all by myself and tell no one?
No, because you’re going to need someone to take you to get your stomach pumped and you can’t do that while parked alone on the side of the road patting down onion rings with napkins because “there’s too much oil.” Those oil inkblots will not save your arteries. You can limit the knowledge to the designated driver and hospital staff (who all went to college with you).

Is the DJ out yet?
No, but it doesn’t really matter because his/her music sounds the same as the crap you’re grooving to when you ask the question. At any trance event where you’re not wasted or high, you will actually notice that the music doesn’t change or get better, people just get more messed up as the night progresses and think everything got better. It’s not a natural sense of ecstasy, it’s MDMA.

Can I have another cookie?
No, because you’re 25 and that cookie is going to implant itself on your ass as a reminder that all cookies want to shack up with your ageing metabolism. There’s a joke here about Kardashians and moving too fast but it hasn’t formulated in my head yet so I’m going to just say “North West” as a placeholder.

Can I yell like a tennis player during this gym class because my muscles want to cry?
No. The music might be loud enough so no one can hear you but the electricity will cut, everyone will think you’re a sweaty freak, and you’ll have to find a new gym since they don’t support dry Herbal Essences’ moments. You just paid for 3-months so be quiet and FEEL THE BURN IN THOSE SHINS.

Will I ever get used to the term “babe” as a form of endearment?
No. Babe is a pig. Babe is a baseball player. Babe is a half-naked chick that surfer dudes think is like a totally bodacious specimen to ride. Babe is what girls call other girls right after they ask for a favor. Babe is one step away from Baby. Don’t call me baby. Don’t call me babe. Ever.

Am I supposed to start up a start-up?
No. You’re not supposed to do anything except be employed. In this economy and country-with-no-stability-or-proper-water-filtration, any form of employment is a blessing but not everyone is an entrepreneur. However, if the start-up is your brainchild and it’s going to be your ticket to the top, good for you. If you don’t have a useful innovative idea that can work as a business and have no job prospects then go back to school or become an actOR. *extends arm like reciting thespian*

Does my cat love me?
No, he’s an arrogant abusive Angora who happens to be photogenic so no one sees the evil within. That’s right, you’ve adopted Cat Man Do from the Powerpuff Girls. You’re going to end up feeding it and cleaning it and loving it and even with all the Chemical X in the world, he’s never going to love you.

Is it about time I get married?
No, k thx, bye.

5 Signs You’re a Young Professional…in Beirut

– it’s okay to hate him –

1- You live at home

If you do live on your own, it’s most likely because you have no family in the country, you are a foreigner to begin with, or your parents are paying your rent/paid for the house you’re in/you camp on a rooftop. If you don’t fall into that category, you, like the majority of young professionals in Beirut, live with your parents because you can’t afford not to on an entry-level salary. And even if you could, there’s no point in blowing 70% of it renting a studio that’s 10 minutes away from your parents’, has half a bathroom, and smells like sewer cheese. That doesn’t exist, and yet, you know the smell.

Then there’s that whole morality live-alone-before-marriage-gasp-patriarchal-society bit but let’s just skip it and pretend we’re in the 21st century.

2- You live at home

As in you spend your weekends vegetating in front of your laptop or becoming the second layer of your living room’s couch. During the week, you work long hours, get stuck in traffic, and try to squeeze in some form of physical activity to combat office-slouch-fat. You live at home because you rarely ever want to leave again once you actually get there: your bed has never been your best friend until now – and not in a sexy way. Gone are the days that you would overnight endlessly, say “yes” to every outing, or even be conscious past 10:30pm on a Wednesday. You’re just too tired, too broke, and there’s a whole season of Boardwalk Empire to watch on a mountain of pillows.

“Sushi tonight at 10?” Yeah, I’m in bed already, it ain’t happening. *presses play*

3- You can’t explain what you do to your Teta

Because it’s just not important enough. Tetas only understand conventional job titles or anything that starts with “doctor.” Everything else leads to questions about whether or not you’ve met someone now that you’re done studying and have some form of employment to keep you busy while you spouse shop thus leading to them thinking…

4- Your next expected goal is marriage

The more you try to explain your job, the worse it gets. When you translate job titles from English to Arabic, they always sound more impressive because of the variety of word choice in the language. It leaves them deceived and then they figure “okay, you’re set up…what’s next?” You’re back to them wishing you to reach the next big “farha” (happiness) since you’re well on your way to being the next huge success = totally ready to play house and make babies. In reality, you watch goat parodies on YouTube while eating leftover cheese sticks in your Batman pjs. You wear gummy bear earrings for god’s sake.

5- You have a lunchbox

…packed by your mother. And you’re 27. Dude, come on, buy a cookbook and grow up.

All I Have to Do is Dream

Dear Dreams,

I’m writing to you to ask for an explanation on a few things. You see, ever since I was young on to my undergraduate psych classes, I have heard conflicting information when it comes to your functionality. The only one that can reveal your true nature is you. I’d really love it if you could tell me the extent and purpose for your existence, the depth of your accuracy, and your relevance to reality.

According to Freud, you are a manifestation of the true desires of my subconscious. All the trepidations and conflicts that simmer in my brain come alive when it is in its resting state. The thing is, Freud, with his twisted complexes and theories, links almost all imagery to phalli, penetration, or the womb. I’m not about to assume that we all want to be ambushed into a game of musical chairs with veiny male genitalia just because our consciousness is on hiatus. Other theories about you claim that you are essential to development; while more say that you are completely insignificant, being just a series of randomly strung together memories or thoughts like a video montage done for an 80’s teen movie.

There are so many questions. For example, if I am in a lucid state of slumber and I die, could it be so vivid and believable that my brain would quit? Speaking of lucid, how do I know I’m not in one of those Matrix pods hooked up to a stalk in a field of humans being juiced for the machines? In behavioral neuro, we were told that the best way to tell if something was actually happening was to see if information was fluid. In other words, if you looked at your watch and it said it was 5p.m., check it again. If it changed, then you’re not in the real world. Of course, I don’t remember being in complete control when I’m unconscious except for the voluntary ability to scream or fall off my bed.

And that’s another thing: why are my memories of you so selective? Is it like emotional memory versus memory about emotions? An emotional memory is stronger than a memory about an emotion. For instance, you remember giving birth to your child but you don’t remember how it feels giving birth – because if you did, we wouldn’t have a population problem. If Freud is right and my mind is revealing all that I am denying myself, which is valuable info when you’re a lost puppy in your twenties, why do you slip away so quickly before I can even take notes? Don’t you want me to realize that I should direct a music video with Alejandro Sanz playing his Spanish guitar on a pink elephant? The greatest question for me though is this: why don’t you make any sense if you know me so well? If my brain is your creator, why do you feed me baloney sandwiches when you know it makes me nauseous ever since that Thanksgiving when I had one and hurled because I refused to eat turkey breast and gravy? What good is it to make me watch my mother tap-dance on my laptop? Maybe you are just a form of torture or a way of teaching me to be grateful that a black trench-coated figure isn’t standing in my closet waiting for a moment to smell my hair.

However, I am not just referring to the version of you in my head which is a combination of surreal and impossible. There is the abstract yet tangible version that has made you into a synonym for goals, aspirations, and “American Idols.” The you that I create intentionally without the ability to blame it on the Id. These are the wants I know I want, not the ones you tell me I need when I’m asleep. This is when we switch teams and, even though they are a part of you, you get confused about the extent and purpose for their existence, the depth of their accuracy, and their relevance to reality. Since I’m expecting an explanation from you about your half, I’ll give you one for mine.

The extent of their existence is always under construction until said dream has been accomplished. This is related to their purpose for existence: they exist as a form of personal drive so that I will have an endpoint to reach for, a destination in sight, an Emerald city at the end of my yellow bricked road. The depth of their accuracy is dependent on my sanity at the time of their inception. You are not allowed to judge me on this one because I think all the dreams that I conceive are more probable in nature in comparison to your  half-baked thought bubbles laced with LSD. They are quite relevant to reality for I am grounded in my ambitions. Don’t laugh at me for wanting to travel to New York City to become a successful designer who eats breakfast on the steps of the Met every morning. I know my life is not an episode of Gossip Girl and you know that a large portion of my motivation for going to NYC is just to find out if Gray’s Papaya is truly the shit. I know I may reach for the stars with some things but no one ever said being an eager beaver was a negative trait in a world where Paulo Coelho was wrong: when you want something, all the universe does not conspire in helping you to achieve it. If I’m dreaming of it, then I have to get off my ass and go get it.

It’s all quite simple. Your turn.

Sleep tight,

Me

Dear Unemployer

Update: This post was inspired by the struggle of many young people in my age group. It is written on their behalf and is not a diary entry directly related to my personal experience. 

Dear Unemployer,

First of all, thank you for rejecting me. I think about your graceful brush-off ever so often in the moments before sunrise. My mind creates scenarios as to why you were so cold and distant. I can’t help but wonder if you ever think twice about your decision. You seem to go on without any consideration. 

Second of all, I think you’ve made a huge mistake. In a world where the young dabble in “natural substances” and “travel to Amsterdam”, you should know that, regardless of my low tolerance for bubblegum cough syrup and that time I almost overdosed on Flintstone chewable vitamins, I’m as clean as the interior of a Clorox bottle. I also have a pristine virtual photographic history which is an asset in the age of the Internet. I don’t have pictures in digital space that will tarnish your company’s reputation. Ain’t nobody don’t ask me, I’m just so fresh, so clean.

I’ve done countless things to outshine all the other applicants. I’ve done internships, volunteer work, extracurricular activities, and I’m a social media fiend. I once Facebooked a YouTube video that was tweeted from a Tumblr page on Pinterest. I don’t share bogus links featuring Morgan Freeman narrating the death of a 40 hamster-mass-suicide. I spread useful, original, corroborated stuff. I even blog about various important topics that affect our youth today like globalization, love, and happiness. Hell, I have two bachelor degrees and a minor. I know you’ll claim I don’t know a lot of languages in a market where the majority speaks at least 4 but I am eloquent in English, unintentionally hilarious in Arabic (I once said I did it with 3 cakes), and I can piece together enough French to order lunch for the office. I also have enough Armenian friends that I can tell you that although you think that “gogortilos” is a wicked Mexican dish consisting of sex wrapped in tortillas, it actually just means “crocodile.”

Lastly, I’m just an overall really GOOD person. It’s just in my nature ever since I was a child – I couldn’t eat meghleh when my younger sister was born because I thought it was made of Mowgli, I have an unexplained hate for Clive Owen, I use inappropriate jokes to see if a new acquaintance is weird enough to be my friend, and my vocabulary is not very “lady-like” at all times but that’s quite a sexist label for the fucking 21st century. What I’m trying to say is, my bad points hardly make a blip on the morality radar and the Dalai Lama would be my homie if I lived in Tibet. 

The fact that you have rejected me should probably discourage me. After all, you were my gateway to freedom, my paycheck to adulthood, my ticket to an unlimited supply of BIC pens. You’d give me the power to buy useless furniture and “decorative pieces” for my own living space; I’d finally own a statue and invite friends over for a night “at my place.” I’d be like “bring some wine” and they’d be all “okay, as long as you make your guacamole!” and then I’d freak out because avocados are expensive but it’d be okay because I’m making paper. Therefore, your rejection should make me feel hopeless and defeated. It doesn’t though. Sure, it stings like when you remember Hogwarts isn’t real, but I’m not that torn up. Actually, the Hogwarts void is harder to accept. I mean, come on, even you wonder what you’d see in the reflection of the Mirror of Erised. I used to think I’d see you but now I know that there are bigger and better things out there for me.

I will be diplomatic and say that, perhaps, I wasn’t the right fit for you. Maybe you aren’t meant to be with me. Maybe the fact that Kathy Bates‘ advice was easier to remember than anything ever explained in those etiquette classes in my private elementary school is a sign that I am on a different wavelength of comprehension so I will never get why you don’t want me. Or maybe I’m just too “overqualified.” In which case, you’re right, I’m too good for you. 

But you know what? Whatever it is, I really do thank you. If you can’t appreciate what I’m offering you then you don’t deserve to have me. Translation: I’m going to work for your competitor and make you cry someday. 

I’m strong, smart, and made to succeed. What’s funny is that I could’ve been all these things with you, but I guess you’ll never know since you let me go.

Warm Regards,
Unemployee

Weird Habits Die Hard

“The brain is designed to make patterns, to use them and to stick to them,” says Edward de Bono. This is very true but the question here is, what are your patterns? Everyone seems to have their own idiosyncratic ways of doing things- this is probably why so many friends fight if they end up living together. Another reason marriage without cohabitation first may shine your partner in a whole new light; it leaves you thinking, “why the hell is she color coordinating those socks? They’re all white…” “IT’S MOTHER OF PEARL.” But really come on, they’re just socks. 

Here are some examples of idiosyncrasies to make you feel normal in comparison or because you understand. Also, let’s elaborate so that it’s clear what I mean when I say “idiosyncrasy”:

  • Flipping slippers/shoes: this is due to training by my dad. He always used to tell me to “i2ilbiya” (flip) the slipper whose sole happens to be facing the sky rather than the ground. I believe this is related to the stigma of the shoe in Arab culture; I never asked, it’s Pavlovian now. 
  • Twisting the stem off of an apple while reciting the alphabet: this one’s mom’s fault. She made the mistake of telling me, when I was four, that if you recite the alphabet while twisting off the stem of an apple, the letter you’re at when the stem snaps off is the first initial of your husband’s name. I have been marrying the entire first half of the alphabet ever since.
  • Eating cereal with teaspoons: at the risk of being the butt of many jokes, tablespoons are just too big. I’m not going to continue the sentence, you know where it’s going.
  • Assorting m&m’s, Skittles, and Mike & Ikes into color groups and eating the most populated first because minorities should be protected…until they’re the majority. 
  • Drinking water out of clear glass cups, not that poser pet-proof baby-proof acrylic stuff. Coffee is preferred in paper cups. I don’t know why. 
  • While cruising through channels on TV, I will not watch a movie that hasn’t just started if I have not seen it before. If it’s already past the intro credits, it’s not meant to be.
  • Preferring half frozen ice cubes to fully frozen: the kind that are thin-walled fragile cubes with cold liquid water in them – that need to be transferred to your cup carefully. In my head, it’s with tongs like dry-ice covered test tubes in sci-fi movies. In reality, they just break. NUCLEAR MELTDOWN.

Embrace your inner OCD. Chances are, there is someone else who shares your phobia of garden gnomes or there is someone who will protect you from them (we all know that the only thing that can repel evil creatures is country music, that was the hidden message in Mars Attacks). 


You may live alone* now and forever; you may like soaking in all your own weirdness without having to explain yourself to anyone or worse, put up with weirder. BUT, you may not live alone forever so when you see your roommate/lover/couch surfer use up all your wooden skewers to light the stove even though it has an automatic lighter because she saw that Final Destinationy video where the stove blows everyone up like a C4 piñata, remember this: you’re weird too – just in different ways.

*Alone can mean completely on your own or with your parents. God knows, they are aware of how weird you are and are required to love you anyway. The only difference in these cases is that you may be more liberal with your idiosyncrasies if living solo. Liberal as in more nakedness.

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6 Awkward Etiquette Moments


1. The Tipping

Most, if not all, gas stations in Lebanon are not self-service. While your tank is being filled, you may get your windows and side mirrors cleaned. Then comes the moment when you’re paying for said gas and you should tip the dude for wiping bird shit off your car. It’s not his fault that you park in a forest or that a sandcloud from Saudi blew in yesterday when you decided to park outside the overhang/underground lot. One problem: you have no change. You have a 5 thou and 50 dollar bill. “Is 5 thou too much? Yes, you’re forking over $50 for gas and it was dirty soapwater anyway.” Never goes to that station again. 


2. The Greeting


Saying hello is way too stressful in our part of the world. Do you kiss? Do you shake hands or hug? Is their girlfriend going to hex you if you kiss him twice? How many kisses does this person do? There’s this internal voice screaming “Wait, one for friends, two for older folk, and three for relatives on Eid. But some only do one now. Damn now I’ve lost count, look at their face, I’m freaking them out all WHY IS SHE STILL KISSING ME?” and then you nervously say, “I never know how many, ha ha…”. Never leaves house again. 


3. The Correcting


This refers to when you avoid explaining something to someone because you’re going to make them feel uneducated and sound like a pompous ass. Like when people use “wherefore art thou?” to ask where you are when, in literature, Juliet is actually asking why Romeo is a Montague, not where he is. Then there’s the graduating English Lit major who can’t correctly spell anything in their Facebook status. “Omg, I’m finaly gradauted. I can still here the applause.” Never trusts that person’s university again. 


4. The Inviting


You were invited to dinner with some friends. Your other friend calls you an hour before you leave your house and asks what you’re up to. Because you don’t like lying, you tell them your plans and don’t know if you can tell them to tag along to an outing they should’ve been invited to in the first place. You tell them to come not knowing who you’re going to piss off in the process. Your friend feels neglected for not being told, you feel awkward for being stuck in the middle, and your friends are annoyed that you didn’t tell them to add one to the reservation. Never answers phone again.


5. The Attending


You’re at a lecture, formal function, or ceremony. It’s so boring that watching a documentary about growing moss would be like co-starring in a movie with John Malkovich in comparison. What’s worse is your foot’s asleep and will have you walking out like Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects as you’re talking to yourself because Durden made you do it, but you’re sorry because all you wanted to do that night was eat an entire bag of Tostitos while streaming The Vampire Diaries. Never goes to formal functions again.



6. The Visiting 

There’s something about it being bad luck if you refuse an offering of food related to an occasion. You said “no, thank you” to your new baby cousin’s souvenir chocolate from Patchi and now he’s going to go bald at 14. Your friend’s mom is offering you a cheese sandwich, a slice of cake, freshly-squeezed OJ or, most likely, all of the above. If you refuse, it’s like you said no to a rare unicorn burger; she will think you’re an arrogant ungrateful child who doesn’t like her cooking. “No really Tante, I just ate a whole combo meal from KFC, a bowl of popcorn, and 4 macaroons…okay, I’ll have some shish barak.” Never visits friend again. Unless their mom makes homemade crepes with bananas. 



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A Series of Tightropes

There are many cases in which you are required to walk along a tightrope, or “err on the side of caution.” Ultimately, to sum it up in a few words, this amusing phrase means: play it safe. You are encouraged to be a certain way, but not to the extent where you will lose your balance. 

Sadly, balance is not a twenty-something’s strongpoint. 

  • Be generous but not foolish
Being generous is commendable. It’s selfless and yet, makes you feel good too so it’s selfish selflessness. High quality heaven points right there. Generosity comes in many forms: it can be helping out at a shelter, paying for a friend’s parking fee, or even exchanging an hour of sleep for an hour of “but what do you think he meant when he said, ‘I’ll see you later comma xo exclamation mark’?”. However, do not fall into the trap of being taken advantage of. And he meant exactly that, now go to sleep.

  • Be independent but not alone
You need to be self-sufficient, go dutch, do your own laundry, order your own omelette du fromage. It’s easier to face the world on your own because, in the end, you’re the only one you can count on. *walks off into distance, Rocky-fists the air* In the midst of trying to prove ourselves, we forget that we actually need people. Besides, if you were alone, you wouldn’t be able to borrow body wash when yours run out thus missing the chance to smell like the man your man could smell like.

  • Be honest but not offensive
You are told to be upfront about how you feel, say what you really mean, speak the truth so you don’t have to keep track of your lies, that it’ll set you free like a butterfly in a pumpkin patch. You shouldn’t tell girls not to hold their purses with an arm that is perpetually bent towards the body, looking like a botched flamingo leg transplant. Not all people respond well to blunt “constructive criticism,” but many have faulty detectors as to what would be deemed insulting. Perhaps instead of erring, they should proceed with caution. Or just send a text. 

  • Be passionate but not vulnerable
Do everything with love. Put all your energy into things that you are enthusiastic about. It will never be a waste because it matters to you. Let your heart be your guide. Wait, no. Slow down. Get those snow chains, tsunami barriers, and bulletproof vests. Yes, take risks and be dedicated but protect yourself, physically, emotionally, whateverly. Vulnerability is sweet when it means you’re standing in the “soak zone” at Six Flags, you’re ordering medium rare steak at a place you’ve never been too and have yet to test their definition of “rare”, or you’re uploading a picture on Instagram with your location while you’re still there. It is not sweet when you’re professing your love to your ex…in his wife’s delivery room as he’s cutting the umbilical cord of his 3rd son.

  • Be committed but not obsessed
Committed to people, to your career, to finding a place that sells corndogs in Lebanon (Bliss Street! WIN.) It is sad to see some lose sight of other things that are equally, if not more, important. You must make time. I mean, “I see med people…walking around like regular people. They don’t see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re med.” You can still be the best neurosurgeon if you live life in moderation. 

  • Be indulgent but not ridiculous
Speaking of living in moderation, there are those times when you allow yourself to let loose. It’s okay, you deserve to treat yourself but there’s fine print that says “live life in moderation in moderation.” You should not use the old wives’ tale of “if you’re experiencing excessive hair loss, eat more gelatin” to consume more jelly beans. You should not spend Easter Sunday vegetating on a hotel bed in London, watching Jay-Z and Queen documentaries on BBC while hoovering prawn crackers and stuffed crust pizza. With that said, BEST EASTER EVER. 

  • Be mature but not decrepit 
You should be a semi-grown-up by now. No one else is going to think the deo skidmarks on your duffle bag are some other gooey substance, that’s just your built-in 12-year-old Bazinga noggin talking. There are only a few people that you can be 12 with, and in the meantime, you need to learn how to have a conversation without cracking a joke. And stop using “hehehe” when your chat-laughing because you seem like a creepy pedo who owns a hand-painted dollhouse. However, you must remember that you ARE young, so set the world on fire, you can go higher than the sun. Regardless of maturity levels, you are never too old to play volleyball with inflated balloons.

  • Be imaginative but not batshit crazy
The brain is a muscle and you should exercise it. Or just let it run wild because, if you ask me – and you didn’t but you’re reading my blog so it’s the same thing – the brain is more like a Pepsi can in the freezer. The more time it’s locked away, the higher the likelihood of explosion. Let your imagination burst just be aware of it at all times. You should not think that your cat is a relative of Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch just because he watches you shower. Sure, he opens doors, likes olives, and is probably pretending to be a deaf purebred but that doesn’t mean his human soul is trapped in the body of a feline. Eyes up here, perv. 


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The Spheres of Happiness

All members of the young aim for the overlap of the three Spheres: the Trifecta of Fulfillment (TOF). This is the threesome of ecstatic accomplishment, the tripod pedestal that you claw at, your very own three little pigs in a fortress made of gold.

It’s when you’ve got your shit together and you feel like nothing can touch you. It’s that feeling you had in the 2nd grade when you got a stuffed bunny from Elliot, the boy all the girls liked, you decided you were going to be President of the United States, AND you were invited to Markie’s pool party at her grandma’s mansion where they were going to serve sandwiches that looked better than the ones in Yogi Bear’s stolen picnic baskets.

Now, the Trifecta is more difficult to get to since your ambitions are set higher (hopefully) and the momentum of your life is like an acoustic Dido track laced with a horse tranquilizer. Some may never reach the Trifecta and others will fight to keep it once they have it. Meanwhile, the rest of you will be jumping through hoops to get to it.

There are three main Spheres of Happiness that relate to one’s level of satisfaction in a particular aspect of their life, be it personal, professional, or both. Although these spheres may seem like a diluted version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs that ignores the basic sustenance required for survival, it is purely based on the simple forms of satisfaction that give way to serenity and joy.

Being in one Sphere alone is not ideal for any individual. The amount of satisfaction resulting from this one Sphere is never enough to curb the craving for more. Like in mathematics, a point does not move. It is a place with no dimensions. It goes nowhere. It just is. Two points, however, create a line that is unending but that means it’s going somewhere. The same goes for two Spheres: you may be going down that road forever but you’re still going somewhere.

The intersections of two circles create three different cases that one can fall into while undergoing the quest for the Trifecta. Duration is dependent on the circumstances of the individual. One may shift into the other intersections, continuously bouncing from one to the other as they attempt to get all their eggs into the MYLIFEISPUREPERFECTION basket.

  • Dynamic Crack-Monkey: This individual is romantically and socially satisfied. They are constantly surrounded by people they care for and have a great support system. This is probably a good thing considering their professional/academic Sphere is being neglected. They are in denial of the pressure they feel building within their head. Excuses used to soothe their woes are  “it’s the people in my life that are most important”, “my people skills will help me land an amazing job, look at me, I’m a fricking butterfly”, or “I’ll just pull a Kim Kardashian.” Whether that was referring to Kanye West or a home movie is entirely up to interpretation. They tend to be very involved with their smartphones because it connects them to social networks and texts from their babyboo. 
  • Devoted Hermit-Crab: This individual is romantically and professionally/academically satisfied. Dedicating all free time to their significant other and their work/studies, this individual rarely sees other humans unless they are asking them for saltine crackers for their clam chowder, ordering new supplies for their workspace, or required to attend a festive holiday party – in which case, significant other is attached at the hip wearing matching antlers. These individuals are perfectly content staying at home eating nachos with their S.O. watching the latest Nicolas Cage film. This becomes problematic when things shift in the two stable spheres or when they realize they’ve become too comfortable and have been wearing the same underpants for 3 days. 
  • Determined Bipolar-Bear: This individual is socially and professionally/academically satisfied. They are dependable, fun and climbing the corporate ladder. They function well in public and give off an aura of contentment and yet, it is never understood why they are alone romantically. It is usually due to the hidden bipolarity of their need for a someone. They are in a good place and don’t want to risk ruining it. They are in a good place and want to be able to share it with the someone. They are in a good place, in control of the sitch, back off or everything will fall apart and one Sphere will fall into the crapper. But they’re so fluffy and lovable. 
If you are lucky enough to reach the Trifecta, it may be a brief taste just to show you the beauty of being truly happy. Be sure to hang on to this moment of ecstasy or at least cherish it while it lasts. It too shall pass.

But that’s okay because the fight for happiness should never end.

5 Similarities Between AUB & LAU Students

AUB & LAU are the two largest English universities in Lebanon.
1. School Sweater Fashion Faux Pas 
While most students abroad love to collect memorabilia pertaining to their alma mater, students in these two institutions will never wear anything stamped with bold letters or Phoenician triremes – at least, not outside the house. They will wear sweaters of other universities like Oxford, USC, NYU, AnyImpressiveSchoolWeKnowNothingAboutExceptForItsAcronym but AUB students will not wear AUB sweaters on campus and LAU students will not wear LAU sweaters on campus. There is one AUB student who was rumored to wear her AUB sweater around campus and then, upon graduation, wear it to LAU as well (burn). This student may, or may not, be me. Such a rebel.
Most students will flaunt a sticker on their new car, partly because they want to feel like it’s their car but also because they want everyone to know they go to the “best university in the country.” The sweater, on the other hand, is reserved for those foreign kids in the summer Arabic classes.
2. Spend All Day & Night in Hamra 
After spending most of their daylight hours in classrooms, you would think that these students would want to get away from their campuses when it’s time to unwind. Nope. In the past few years, Hamra has been the destination topping the list when it comes to nights out. Uruguay St. in Downtown & the Gemmayzeh quarter are great but they’re a different atmosphere. 
Hamra is comfortable. Hamra is eating Bliss House sandwiches outside your hazard-lights-a’blinking-diagonally-parked car. Hamra is having Dunkin coffee by Main Gate at 8pm. Hamra is going out in your sweatpants and tees without worrying about dress code or a bouncer with an allergy to Converse. Hamra is bumping into everyone you know and everyone you’re going to meet next semester. It’s like going to class but there’s beer and cigarettes. 
3.  Lunch Dilemma 
The neighborhood is so condensed with cafes, fast food joints, restaurants and mini markets that students have to go through a process of elimination everyday when deciding on where to eat. At some point in their academic life, they will realize that eating greasy saj wraps daily is bad for the arteries and the salty flavor is not because their salt shaker cap goes loose occasionally. Those dudes by the round saj are not polar bears. Juicy. Students will also come to find that the process of elimination will become limited to a choice of 4 places max similar to how you alternate between the same 2 pairs of jeans from a pile of 12. 
If at AUB, you will get sick of afternoons at Universal Snack as Laura Branigan’s Self Control plays and end up going to Kababji. Then you’ll be like “no, no tabbouli today” (how dare you) and go to Subway. And then you’ll go back to Universal. McDo/BK/Hardee’s are reserved for days when you feel like you need a hug in a hamburger or it’s raining. If at LAU, you would eat kaak everyday but switch it up sometimes by ditching a class and going to Roadster. 

“Ma3leh, ma byekhod attendance w ktir 3a beleh fries and cheddar wlo! Bas honey mustard bella sour cream, bi nasih” *fails class*
Translation: “It’s okay, he doesn’t take attendance and I’m so craving Fries & Cheddar! But honey mustard, no sour cream, it’s fattening.” 
4. Vote or Die
Because student elections is a condition for accreditation and because Lebanon is obsessed with spraying politics all over everything like it’s Baygon in the middle of mosquito season, these universities participate in yearly student elections where they are indirectly divided into two main camps and the I-swear-we’re-not-backed-by-anyone-we-just-lean-towards-a-side independents. Election week is all campaigning and phone calls from people you don’t even know followed by election day where you get harassed at the gates.
-“DID YOU VOTE?”
-“YES.”
-“FOR WHO?”
-“YOUR MOM.”
Elections proceed, some side wins and the outside world thinks it’s a big sign that the youth supports so-and-so and those elected do nothing productive all year due to “bureaucracy.” Yup, sounds like it’s a pretty accurate microcosm of the rest of the country. 
5. Loyalty
Regardless of which university you claim as yours, you will miss it when it’s over.  

LPS: Lost Puppy Syndrome

By Nicholas Jackson

Overview & Facts:

Typically affecting 67% of fresh college graduates, the LPS is a fairly new medical condition. In the past, epidemics of the sort were rare for all youth had purpose; males would kill wild boar and females would be baby ovens. But with the evolution of man, the industrial & technological revolutions and the invention of lucrative fatty food delivery services, today’s young adults suffer from LPS: they are essentially lost puppies in a fast-paced world. They are overeducated and thus overqualified yet under-experienced embryos just waiting to develop into full-blown professionals. In search of the vocation that will give their lives meaning, allow them to provide, and buy their own Picanto, LPS patients are in a simmering state of panic at all times. Fear of failure and inevitable permanent employment at McDonald’s do not even outweigh the fear of mediocrity. After all, failing at starting your own business is still more admirable than being an Ivy League alumnus who scrapes feces off the sides of the Atlantis Resort turtle tanks.

Symptoms & Types:

  • Plummeting hope of ever being recruited although you attended a top ranked school, hold a degree with honors, and/or have a string of internships at reputable MNCs
  • Yesmanoritis, side-effect of LPS; you say “yes” to all available workshops, activities, volunteer work, and training sessions that can further differentiate you from the crowd only to find that they make you even more overqualified…and there’s no room left on your 1-page-only CV to include them; therefore, they go unnoticed
  • Early LPS is said to develop pre-university, around the age of 18 – this is a myth and is usually misdiagnosed. What is called early LPS is just the first stage to more unfriendly acronyms: LSD, THC, and STD. “Going to find yourself” is not a cure for anything, it is an excuse to go on a Eurotrip, experiment, and return with herpes. In reality, early LPS is just a teenager who listens to too much alternative rock.
  • Periodic eruptions of verbal vomit: whereamigoingwithmylifemaybeishouldjustapplyforanotherdegreeinsomething/ idontwanttogrowupsomeonebuymeajetski/ canibeagolddiggerilovekanyewest/ whydoihavetoalwaysfilloutapplicationsinterviewclothesaresorestricting. These are a result of the simmering state of panic described above. Recovery from these fits occur in seedy bars, overdosing on Chunky Monkey or spending the night spooning with a giant red bear named Optimus – and no, I don’t mean a ginger guy of Irish decent. Picture the Valentine version of the Gossamer from the Looney Tunes.
  • Settling for much less than deserved be it in position, compensation or respect out of pure desperation to be employed and never eat Ramen noodles again. This denial is accepted by repeating phrases like “everyone has to start at the bottom” or “everyone likes to staple.”

Diagnosis & Tests:

Testing positive for LPS is concluded by conducting quantitative and qualitative examinations.

Quantitative
– Increased level of dreams where you fail to learn a skill, complete a task or win a game. For example, Sean Connery tried teaching you how to wrestle a cobra a few nights back. The cobra ate you.
– Unnatural generic automated responses to all questions pertaining to the topic of job searches, future plans or prospects in anything relating to serious matters of your personal life.

Qualitative
– Increased level of copy/pasted inquiries on “availability in your department” as well as increased level of received rejections from online applications.
– Increased play count of alternative rock songs

Treatment & Care:

  • Accepting that this is completely normal, you are not alone. As stated above, 67% of others in the same age group with Bachelors, Masters and overrated MBAs are living with this condition too. They avoid the topic by cutting conversations short or trying to focus the limelight on someone’s success while simultaneously increasing the likelihood of depression. This is wrong. It’s okay to talk about it. Just not with possible prospective employers.
  • Remember why you worked so hard in the first place and what your goals are. The world will not end if things are not panning out the way you saw them in your head. “I used to want to be a ballerina/hairdresser with a donut shop on the side, but hey, shit happens.” But then, other shit happens, and sometimes it’s THE shit. Have a little faith.
  • Do not allow yourself to wallow in self pity…for too long. You are not going to get a job lying on the couch in your stained sweatpants smelling like fried cauliflower. Mary Catherine Gallagher said it best.
  • Have Mickey Mouse pancakes with lots of maple syrup and a small slice of butter. They make everything better and you forget you’re an adult without a future.

Living & Managing:

Sadly, not all people can relocate to a vacation island to sell coconuts hard-carved like celebrities, living off of rice cakes with a perpetual golden tan (that’s mine, copywritten so don’t copy me). Comparison will be the death of you. Stop thinking about others who are getting everything they want and a bag o’chips. Shakira is a successful Colombian-Lebanese singer and she’s going to have a toddler with nice Pique hair that has better dance moves than those creepy Evian babies. Should you care? No.

Exhaust all your resources. It is who you know combined with what you know, not just one or the other. Networking is important and not just behind a screen. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.

Further Information:

As of recent studies, there has yet to be a cure discovered for LPS. Some physicians believe that it eventually passes, like a stint of acne that accompanies your adjusting hormones. Others believe that people learn to live with it by passing through the emerging stage of the syndrome, called growing up.