They say, those who can’t do,
I say, those who can’t decide,
To be fair,
there are those who study
with a specific telos in mind:
Can you hear the angelic chorus?
Here, let me do it again:
Ah. Music to my ears.
Or at least to the ears of
potential funding bodies,
But I just can’t decide—
especially upon which life-defining
(There! Did you hear it, this time?)
I should pursue.
And I admit
I was guiltily excited
I am not alone.
There are a surprising number of us here,
floating in indecision,
finding safe-haven within academia.
Please don’t misunderstand me:
it is not avoidance of responsibility;
it is avoidance of caged-monotony.
The fear that once I choose,
I will be locked-in.
Oh, yes, I know it is possible to change,
but I’ve tried that at the academic level,
and even there it costs time and money.
(I hear my financially-, socially-, productivity-conscious critics cringing.)
No, a stable and secure career is much more preferred.
(You know, the kind where benefits
and vacation time
with increased commitment
to The Company.)
But I think I am avoiding
more than simple caged-monotony.
Let me illustrate:
Hi, I’m Jaime.
Hello, Jaime. Nice to meet you. And what do you do?
I’m a blogger!
(She must have misunderstood my question.)
I’m a self-publishing writer.
I’m an editorial assistant.
(Temp-work, most likely.)
I’m an editor.
(She probably sucks too much at writing to be an author herself.)
I’m an author.
I work under Gina Centrello for The Random House Publishing Group.
I’m still a student at the moment. I am studying
_______ (insert exotic or intelligent-sounding topic here).
Well, that sounds exciting, Jaime. Enjoy the adventure!
You have so many opportunities before you!
For along with caged-monotony comes
All because you asked me what I do.
But put off the decision,
and I can still do—
and, more importantly—
anything and everything and nothing.
Those who can’t decide,
And those who study,
It is not an inability to do
or an avoidance of responsibility;
it is defiance of—
or, perhaps, irrational fear of—
that immovable Label,
you are what you do.