Tomorrow kicks off the TEST phase of a project I’m tentatively calling “Old Man On Campus”.
Assuming I don’t want to kill myself by the time the eighteen weeks are over at SUNY Potsdam, and I’m confident that in the Fall I can function as a thirty-year-old doing all the things an eighteen-year-old would be doing at college for the first time, then we’ll move into the actual project.
And of course, we’ll see if there’s a book in there somewhere.
A couple of guys have mentioned that I should pitch it as a reality show too, or a documentary, but I’m on the fence about it. If someone can make a compelling case for it, I’m willing to listen, but I feel like the cameras and the artificialness of a reality show would make it a pain in the ass to answer the question at the heart of the project: What’s it like for a thirty-year-old to go through the undergraduate experience?
If people see cameras, they’ll get weird or act differently, and than you’re not really getting an honest answer to that question because then what I’m doing just becomes a sequel to “Tommy Lee Goes To College”.
And who wants that?
(Note: I don’t assume people will read this blog as I document things or follow me on Twitter because 1) I’m not going to mention it and 2) Even if people come across the blog / Twitter feed, it’s going to be a tiny group of people, comparatively speaking. So it’s not like walking around campus with a camera crew.)
Why SUNY Potsdam?
1. Like I mention in Social Media Is Bullshit, you should always have a Plan B. Lucky for me, I just have one semester left there to complete a Master’s in Organizational Technology, Performance, and Leadership.
My Plan B is that at the end of the eighteen weeks, if the book doesn’t do well, I’ll have a Master’s. So worse case scenario, I’ll unplug from the Internet like I’ve been threatening to do for three years now, I’ll tip my hat to all of you, and then I’ll go back into the world of working with college students.
Life goes on …
To be clear: I’m not thinking that’s how things are going to go down this Fall. I think the book is going to do very well, and the Master’s gives me flexibility to go and do interviews and speeches, so I don’t want you to think I’m going to Potsdam because I think the worst. That’s not the case. You should always try to get into situations that give you the most advantages. Strategically (I gagged just now writing that), Potsdam made the most sense because I could cover all my bases and still do the things I need to do to make the book successful.
2. When I was at SUNY Potsdam the first time around (’04 to ’07), and I was doing all this stupid shit with being part of the campus paper, the radio station, appearing weekly on public access TV, getting interviewed and featured in the local press, people (mostly) didn’t give a shit.
I got a lot of strange looks, but I never felt like it was a problem. Nobody acted weird or differently around me, and I generally got left alone to do my thing.
So if I’m going to see if I can even do this, that’s a good environment to be in.
So, Let’s Kick Off “Old Man On Campus” With A Weigh-In
1. I’m 29, recently divorced (separated in May, officially divorced as of August), and everything I own can fit comfortably in a large cardboard box.
2. I just bought a bunch of cheap bullshit at Target for my dorm room. I’ll take some pictures and post them somewhere. Maybe Google+? (LOL. Nobody uses Google+)
3.Pretty much all the friends I have are Internet friends. This is what happens when you get married. You lose all your friends and they get replaced with married friends. And then when you get divorced, your married friends don’t want you around.
So, I’m pretty much alone, which is weird for me because I’ve never actually been alone.
4. I weigh 160 pounds. Mostly because I have a couple of heart conditions, but also because I have a wheat allergy and I’m lactose intolerant. Oh, and I have a sensitive stomach on top of all that, so finding stuff I can eat that won’t make me sick is an exercise in frustration and hilarity.
(You’ll hear me mention this a lot, but I’m convinced I won the genetic lottery. More on that later.)
5. I wanted to do a “Mental Health” check before I did this, both therapists said everything is good, some misplaced agression that I direct at other people for stuff my parents did not withstanding. They also told me I should start dating again, but I’ve never actually dated. Girls would just tell me they like me and off we went.
So, when it comes to dating, I’m not only terrified, I’m functionally retarded too.
6. Physically though, I’m fine. Those heart conditions won’t kill me. They’re just really annoying. I can do everything you can. Probably better.
7. A friend of my ex-wife passed away this Summer after contracting meningitis at Cornell University. It was very sad, and being the neurotic Jew that I am, I am now terrified of contracting meningitis while living in the dorm, either at Potsdam or where ever I actually do “Old Man On Campus”.
So, I will be arming myself with Lysol and Clorox wipes. You’re welcome.
8. No. You can’t know where I live on campus. It’s easy to figure out, and if you do, please don’t be a dick and post that information online. I have a roommate, and all because my life is more or less an open book, that doesn’t mean his is, you know?
9. I don’t have any goals or expectations for the next eighteen weeks beyond, “I really hope my book does well”. The odds are, I’ll be at the library working on book stuff and promoting it. You can bother me there.
P.S. Apparently there’s no way to get a landline if you’re a student at SUNY Potsdam. So if you see me kind of stumbling around on campus, I’m not drunk (I don’t drink because of the wheat allergy), I’m just trying to get a signal.
10. Finally, this is supposed to be fun. I won’t keep most things from you in the hopes that you’ll get a good laugh out of it. But. Names and other details might get altered to keep me from getting sued.
Ok. The packing begins now …