There are a few phases that drive me crazy, as I am sure there are phases that drive most people crazy. One of them for instance in using the word “kudos.” I recognize that this is a legitimate word (as well as a candy bar), but it was used so often by my “superiors” when I was stationed in San Antonio that it has lost any appeal to me. They practically went around saying, “hey nice work, kudos!” Then someone would reply, “hey thanks for the kudos.” I wanted to kill myself. But no matter how annoying this word is to me, there is one phrase that beats them all. It is “the real world.” I am so sick of people using this phrase and would like to make the case that in fact it should be banned from vocabulary and vernaculars everywhere.
I first heard this word in high school while teachers would say that they were preparing us for the “real world.” I understood this to mean that somehow high school was meant to replicate this “real world” and that by being there we would somehow be more equipped to deal with this world. First of all nothing about high school replicated the “real world,” or as I assumed they were referring to, the work world. No where else in our society can you find thirty-five people of the same age and education level with so different dreams and ambitions, who are not there by choice, but rather because they are compelled to be there, than you can in high school. It is astonishing really to think about it. Prison resembles high school more than the “real world.” In prison people are not there of their own free will, and cannot simply leave, or if they do, someone is likely to come looking for them, in both cases it is likely to be a man or woman representing law enforcement. So I conclude that high school is not the like the “real world.”
I left high school and joined the army. I thought that surely this was much more the “real world” than high school, but there too my drill sergeants and superiors talked about getting out of the army and going to the “real world.” I was disappointed because I really had hoped to have entered the real world by then, seeing as how I had lived the first eighteen years of my life in the “non-real world.” Still I found myself in a world other than the real one.
I was discharged from the army after five years of service and felt that I must finally be entering the “real world” as my fellow service members called it, but alas I went to college. In college I had a speech class on argumentation, and one day the professor talked about how college is not the “real world,” and how we had better be ready for it because it would be hard or something. By now I was downright depressed. I was already 23 and had never lived a day in the “real world.” I began to wonder if there was such a thing as the “real world.” I could not seem to find it, and no one could seem to tell me where it was.
Three years in college, two kids and five years of marriage, now I am teaching, but of course, teaching is not the “real world” either. Now I was convinced that there is no “real world.” Perhaps we were all living in the Matrix after all. Maybe it is all an illusion. I don’t know. At 26 I had never found the “real world.” I of course saw it on MTV once but I didn’t know how to get on the show so I guessed I would never be a part of the “real world.” Then I decided something.
It wasn’t me who was confused, it was everyone else. Is that possible? It seems so strange that all this time I am the one who realized where the real world is. It is right here. It is all around us. Everyone who is alive is in the “real world.” Students, soldiers, professors, and teachers are all in the “real world.” Why? Because they all have their own personal "real world problems" like relationships, family, stress, illness, death, bills, crime, traffic, etc. Let alone all of the global "real world problems" that affect everyone like, terrorism, politics, globalization, unemployment, energy costs, supposed global warming, poverty, cloning, abortion, AIDS, and Brittany Spears.
This entire time people have been telling me that I am not a part of "the real world," but they were wrong. I am a part of it, and so are they. Now I have a mission, to get them to see that they are in the “real world” as well. All this time they have been thinking they are somewhere else, but they aren’t. They need to quit wasting time waiting for the “real world” to come to them and start living. THIS IS THE REAL WORLD! WAKE UP AND SMELL THE NAPALM! (I mean non-free-trade coffee).