February 18, 2014

With Tucker, all things are possible

After all, my friend John says that I am “the most misunderstood person since Machiavelli.”

This article was originally published on June 2, 1998 and was re-printed on February 18, 2014 as part of the Maroon’s historical issue.

The other day I was at a White Sox game, watching  Moacir (the Viewpoints editor) request homosexual love from Paul O’Neill, berate his Irish heritage, and call him a drunk illiterate whose idea of philosophy is to swing on the first pitch. In between Moacir’s castigations towards the Yankee right fielder, Bryan Joiner (the Editor-in-Chief) suggested that I write a “goodbye” column for the last Maroon of the year.

The idea appealed to me. After three sometimes interesting, occasionally frustrating, and always turbulent years at the U of C, I could finally have the last word. After three years of hearing absurd rumors about myself, fending off malicious attacks on me and my work, and witnessing the creation of an almost humorous cult-type aura around me, I could bring closure to my college career on my own terms.

Yet, when I sat down to write this, I, perhaps for the first time in my life, had trouble deciding what to say. I could easily write about why you shouldn’t give money to beggars, why you shouldn’t recycle, or why women aren’t actually paid 73 cents for every dollar men make, yet I can’t think of what to say in this golden opportunity I have been presented.

I first thought I would use this opportunity to correct all the rumors and myths about me. Yeah, right. I could sooner explain the meaning of life.

I next thought I might try to explain myself; I envisioned an attempt to give people a better understanding of who Tucker Max is. After all, my friend John says that I am “the most misunderstood person since Machiavelli.” But a column like that would inevitably degenerate into a pompous, audacious diatribe about how great I am, especially if I wrote it about myself. Some people have a drinking problem; I have an arrogance problem.

There are numerous thank yous I would give. I could thank DSA, Woman’s Union, and all the other random idiots at this school for giving me lots of laughs and things to write about. I could thank the Housing Office, the Dean of Students Office, and the Admissions Office for being perhaps even stupider, and giving me even beter things to write about. I could thank all the bad professors and grad students I’ve had (and there have been a few) for forcing me to learn the material on my own, because they had no ability to teach it. But there is no need. I’m so close to being done that if I pulled out right now, I’d come on the U of C. I’ll leave good enough alone.

I almost feel that there is no need to say anything. Good-byes are generally for those people or places that you miss. I’m going to miss this place about as much as I miss the infection I got over spring break from that hot Venezuelan girl I met in South Beach.

Someone asked me if I was going to cry at graduation. Yeah, and I’ll also give five percent of all my future earnings to fund interpretive jazz dance classes for unemployed Hopi Indian crack addicts. No, I’m not going to cry at graduation. The only people who cry at graduation are the imbeciles who don’t have jobs.

As much as I bitch about the U of C, people often ask me if I regret having gone here. I have trouble answering that question. In one respect, I really detest this school. I feel like I’ve missed two major parts of the college experience: hot girls and fun. I often visit my friends at places like Vanderbilt, UVA, or even UK, and get sick thinking that I could have had that much fun for four years, instead of just one weekend.

And of couse I just relished every day of -20 degree weather. There is no one who has more enjoyed living in the ghetto. And there is nothing more fun that having to share an existence with the nitwits that constitute 80 percent of this school’s population (yes, that probably means you).

Yet, in another respect, I feel that it would be hypocritical and dishonest to complain about this place. I like who I am and who I have become since I got here. I feel that I have learned an incredible amount in my time here. My intellectual and personal maturity have grown a significant amount in the past few years, chiefly as a result of my time here, and the environment this place has provided.

I am the only one of my high school friends who actually looks forward to class. I am not sure if this is a result of some of my classes being that good, or the social life being that pathetic; it’s probably a combination of the two. The fact that I pretty much hate this place has, in an ironic-twist, forced me to grow as a person in a way that I wouldn’t have had I been an alcoholic, pussy fiend frat-boy at UVA. I now go forth with the confidence, ability and maturity that only a rigorous education can provide, instead of the cirrhosis and syphilis that four years at ASU would have provided.

Knowing what I know now, would I come here again? I don’t know. I like who I have become after three years at this school, but I wonder if I couldn’t have become the  same person at UCLA, but have a lot more fun donig it. Hell, who cares? I sound like some disillusioned, angst ridden Gen-X idiot, lamenting the agonies of existence. I’m going to law school on a ridiculously large scholarship, I have a loving family, and great friends. I live in the greatest nation in the history of the world, at the best time to be alive. I have nothing to complain about.

In all seriousness, I would like to thank everyone who, in my three years, has had the patience to put up with me, the fortititude to endure me, the compassion to help, and the sensibility to defend me. Of course, that goes double for my family, my close friends, and my girlfriend. Without all of you, I don’t know where I would be, but it wouldn’t be here.

With this, I say goodbye to the University of Chicago. It has been a bitersweet experience, but one that in retrospect, I believe I am better for having.

Tucker Max is a third-year student in the College concentrating in Law, Letters, and Society. He will graduate on June 13.