Volume 96, Issue 95
Friday, March 28, 2003

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Me, myself, college and Peter Pan

~ Commentary ~

By Pierre Hamilton
Gazette Staff

I've recently been diagnosed as someone suffering from an acute virus known as "never-want-to-grow-up-asitis," otherwise known as Peter Pan syndrome. I am the personification of Peter Pan, without conjuring up the image of a bandanna-clad Michael Jackson at Never land.

I don't want to grow up – never have, never will.

Unfortunately, the man in the mirror is starting to disagree with me. I'm stuck between the reckless abandon of boyhood and the Hook of masculinity that consistently creeps into my life with each passing day.

University is an odd place; it celebrates lack of responsibility, while simultaneously erasing the central tenement in my oath to a boy's life, "All you need is faith and trust and a little pixie dust."

I think of first-year, life in residence at the other "Zoo" on campus, my residence, good ol' Delaware Hall. Orphaned at the age of 19, I was left to fend for myself in a second childhood.

Trips under the University Drive bridge provided us with enough pixie dust and good thoughts to float back indoors, where we downloaded dirty pictures and gorged ourselves on Swedish berries, chips and Wildcat Strong. Surrounded by the "Lost Boys," we celebrated Halloween, Christmas and our 20th birthdays every day of the week. Everything your parents told you not to play with was in full view and readily accessible. Girls, drugs and junk food; it wasn't always pixie dust, but it sure as hell was hallucinogenic.

Like any pharmaceutical drug, the Peter Pan syndrome is not without a long list of adverse side-effects. Take, for example, your dating life or lack thereof. Despite all rumours to the contrary, women do not date boys who wear green tights and brandish small daggers, unless you're the Jolly Green Giant and the size of your dagger is no longer in question.

In fact, the same lackadaisical characteristics that attracted a girl to you in the first place will be the same ones listed in her three-paged, single-spaced, double-sided breakup letter. Peter Pan only knew two girls: Wendy (who returned to the real world) and Tinker bell (a three-inch fairy – again, size does matter).

Do I need to mention that Captain Hook and his cronies are always attacking our tree house crib? In between their crude attempts to further there own selfish needs and the day-to-day fantasy of freedom, the whole routine is bound to turn static real fast. Where is Pan now?

I'm a "Lost Boy." I adhere to the central principles of boyhood in every facet of my life, but I'm still waiting to meet our fearless leader.

At 23, I have a lot more responsibilities, I spend most of my time on campus and I find myself reading my horoscope in my daily planner.

I look around my classes, while trying to organize masculinity on my own terms, gazing at the remnants of the lost boys, hands tied by an overruling sense of confusion.

As my eyes drift back towards the centre of the class, a light bulb goes off above my head. Surely, the professor is Peter Pan! Recruiting us for the next battle against Captain Hook, or, as I've come to know him – society. Knowledge will set you free. If only I could remember one good thought, then perhaps I could fly into masculinity as I once did as a boy.

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