Berlusconi Silvio Berlusconi, Italian PM, has had one hell of a year, and BBC did his scrabbooking fans a favor by putting together a slideshow titled “Berlusconi’s annus horribilis.”  Like all their slide shows, it’s a tasteful, comprehensive matching of pictures about the subject and shows pretty clearly – even without the captions – how wildly this man’s life has spun out of control.  This is evidently a series for BBC, bless them, and I’ve no doubt that the rest are just as artful about the decline of the subjects.

However, sometimes I wonder.  Given my version, the semi-annus horribilis (or, to be more precise, the semester of yuck), I am intimately aware of how the human life can get wildly out of the hands of the person living it through no fault of their own.  So out of hand, in fact, that the human who is supposed to be living it runs wildly in the wake of the disaster of their life, trying to catch up.  Though this is certainly not the case with PM Berlusconi (whose ruin is about 85% his fault, or so the evidence seems to say at the moment), should we be reducing these life stories to art forms?  Eight pictures vividly detailing the ruin of another human being who needs just as much sympathy and empathy as you or me seems quite harsh, even bad form.  Or maybe I’m just worried that when I get the small, pitiful piece of paper at the end of the semester that tells me what this rollercoaster I’m being dragged behind has come to, it won’t be anywhere near enough.  That that representation of As, Bs, or Cs will my “Joie’s semi-annus horribilis” documentation and that it will be comprehensive, but a lie as well.  Right now the media coverage seems to look like Berlusconi ruined his life, what if my transcript looks like I threw away my semester?  What if these broad overviews lie to us without intending to?

And then I wonder, what if these moments, these annus, semi-annus, lunar, or decade horribilisi are supposed to happen?  The times in life when the reins have been dropped and are whipping the horses forward from the momentum of the ride itself – these times seem so out of control, but so purposeful in hindsight.  Are our lives destined, just by the nature of being human, to have these moments?  Is it a cosmic joke, or a Godly plan outside our understanding, or a little bit of both?  Whatever it is, it’s hard, but I’ve learned a few things from it.

First: Self-control does not always have to include violent fantasies, or even voicing them. >)

What can I say?  I enjoy saying, “punch you in the face” to people I love who went a little too far past annoying (or just tickled the annoyed nerve on some days).  It also felt REALLY good to imagine putting my boot up a certain Dean of Academics’ ass, even to tell people I was willing to do it.  In some ways I am, but in most ways I’ll just leave the boots in the closet for a few days and avoid running across the Dean.  It’s healthy to blow off steam.  I have a friend who I know I can call any time and say, “Okay – I need twenty minutes to bitch, no perspective please.”  And she’ll let me have just that, sometimes she’ll bitch with me!  When the dust settles, the we turn the perspective switch in our brains back on and we usually come to a good end result that makes us both happy (even if it’s just getting the frustration out).

Two: Being the designated driver is overrated.

In the past twenty-four hours, I have had two people offer me their car keys and ask me to drive their happy butts around town.  Now, since I don’t drink, this is a really good idea on their part.  Being the chronicler of idiocy is fun.  But when it comes to life, sometimes it’s just way too much effort to try and be behind the wheel.  In fact, it’s a complex.  Being a control freak is only funny to those who like to make things go out of control and watch the OCD (or CDOs as we prefer it) kiddos flip a lid.  So I’m giving up the coveted position of DD as best I can.  I may still clutch to the wheel for a while, but eventually I’ll be able to just chronicle the insanity using my own brand as the ink that forms the words.

Which leads me to three: Crazy craves company.

So give it some.  Admit you’re crazy, settle with yourself, blow off some steam, and enjoy the beauty of it all.  Last night I went out with a group of kids from my major and you know what?  It was freaking awesome.  We were at the restaurant so long that the hostess started glaring at us, and even then it took us a bit to get going.  I almost barfed when they made me laugh and then choke on my bite of fajita.  We all had “date foul” moments at the beginning of the night, but by the end of the night I don’t think we were saying anything mildly appropriate.  This department and people in it put the fun in dysfunctional, and I love every minute of it.  As drama filled as school and life can be, life’s actually amazingly fun most of the time.  And when I forget that, I find my crazy company.  It’s amazing how well they can bring me back to sanity.

And four: Come what may and love it.

It’s not always easy to take what life throws at you, but love every screwed-up minute of it.  Use the violent fantasies, hyperbolic words, the wild ride, and absolutely off-their-collective-rockers company to find what you adore so much about this upside down, turned around, inside out life.  I know that when I do, I’m so much happier.  Not always happy, but happier.  And that’s what it’s all about.

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