Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Ironic Lifestyle of the American College Student

He had in his pocket exactly $23. This was the leftovers from a birthday card from grandma and a carefully saved monthly budgeted allowance from mom and dad. Today was Monday and he was counting on a paycheck from a local coffee shop to come in on Friday. However, this poor fellow was in college. Money seemed to seep out of his fingers like soda from a cheap Seven-eleven cup left in his car all week.

Monday came and went and he felt victorious, not one penny spent.

Tuesday, however, there was a birthday party in one of the dorm lounges. He was required to buy a card, balloons and steamers. Twelve dollars later, there was a nice celebration of a fellow collegian turning a rather insignificant age of 19, completed with a rather painful off-key rendition of "Happy Birthday." The dozen, 12 in. - diameter balloons, $1 greeting card that said "Happy Birthday, Punk!" and bright red streamers made for a nice touch.

Wednesday was started off with a balance of $11 crumpled bills in his pocket and with the week half over, this college student felt rather proud of his saving abilities. However, his buddies begged him to go on a late-night food run which cost him $5.78. The brother-bonding was intense and there was much fist-bumping, slaps on the back and grandiose tales of skateboard tricks and basketball feats and of course girls. Night well worth the money invested. Homework and fast food were finished around 3 a.m.

Five hours later, Thursday came with a food hangover and an early morning test in American Literature. The test time was spent trying to muffle the growling of an angered stomach and half-hearted answers to questions about poets and novelists that didn't directly impact the life or thoughts of this average student.

Thursday's starting balance was $5.22 and he was sure that he could make it until Friday's glorious delivery of a $72 paycheck. However, night came and the guys were going to the video store. Entertainment was calling, and the call of the newest x-box shoot 'em up game was rather tempting. All homework for the week had been completed so it was time to celebrate the near-end of another week.

But wait! The rental for the game was $7! Should he forfeit the privilege of beating seven levels of a critically acclaimed game of epic proportions? Then he realized that he had $3.25 in laundry quarters. Sniffing his t-shirt, he winced a little. He made his decision. The battle against aliens and robots should not be ignored, and he could always spray on some cologne to mask his scent for one more week. Add the $3.25 to the previous balance of $5.22 and he was $8.47 rich! He even had money left over for a $0.80 vending machine pop-tart snack! Bonus!

Friday arrived with a whopping $0.67 balance. He nervously approached his mailbox and peeked inside. There it was, in all it's glory. Another week had been survived on a college kid's budget.

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