Vanitas – The Harvard Lampoon

Young and Misunderstood #

| Issue Editor: CCSW '18 | Art Editor: KDF '19

Vanitas

  CCSW '18

Hey, you. No, you. Yeah, you! No no, not you. Yes—no—. Yes, you. You’re probably
wondering how I got here. To tell you the truth it all began with me as a young sprout on the
streets of Detroit. The Motor City. The 313. D-town. The Danger Place. The Not a Safe Place at
All. What happened on that block in that city next to yours which looked in so many ways so similar to your own? A grotesquerie of grocery stores and baseball parks and fast food drive-
thrus, of prom queens and smelly teachers and summer vacations bridged the universe of my adolescence. Every day and every night I walked along this suburban slab with my saxophone
held close. I wiped the sweat from my upper lip and played myself a final ballad. But this time, I
play the stacato and my saxophone opens like a blinding snake jaw into a portal to another
dimension.

I am transported through a Nicaraguan riptide and come up for air choking on the smells
and sounds of a whole new world. I am no longer young and misunderstood. Those words
mean nothing to me here. Here, I am perfectly relatable, approachable and grounded. I
understand everyone and everyone understands me.

In this world, I can toik loik thois and the people know what I mean. In this world, Mister
Chase was my father and I am just plain Chaser. I used to feel like China Soup Wonton but
here, they look at me like I’m Chase Sui Wonders.

If my old life was a Detroit gray scale, my new life is a technicolor phantasmagoria of
smash cuts and flashing lights and beautiful people throwing daisies at me. At the Harvard
Lampoon my best friends are fruitcakes and my worst friends are raindrops. It’s nothing but
sunshine all the time. Instead of breakfast, lunch and dinner we skip straight to desert. We
scoop in the sweets to the beat of the music that the band plays for us. And just as the soft
serve hits the back of our throats, the first chair alto bursts out of her chair in the orchestra,
illuminated like a gas-fired geyser, belting out the notes with waxing bravado.

Just like that, I am flushed down the portal from whence I came. I am transported back
to the stoop and have no choice but to create a magazine about my most young and most
misunderstood days. The portal teases me with nostalgic reverie of my past while keeping my
feet firmly locked to the castle floors. But even as the portal of youth thrashes about on the
pages that follow, I will never forget my roots. I’ll say it once. I’ll say it one thousand times.