Exit 17 - Eleventh Edition
A collection of Mt. Hood Community College student essays
from Writing 115, 121, and 122
Reviewed, compiled, edited, and produced by
and the MHCC English Department
Table of Contents
(all essays are in PDF format - requiring Acrobat Reader)
Every so often David would be hospitalized for a procedure or treatment which forced him to be sober. These were brief glimmers of hope; for those few days he was Uncle David again. He was still as sharp and as funny as hed ever been. Unfortunately, it always ended the same: after a few days my uncle would disappear again and return to the street.
I made a choice that day to try banking. I should have been excited when I signed my name to open the accounts, but all I could think about was my family. Even though I was well into adulthood at the ripe age of twenty, I felt a sense of guilt. Was I betraying my heritage by making my own decision to be informed about banking?
Songs not only trigger our minds to act out the lyrics with our own personal twist, but they can also serve as an archeologist of our long term memory, excavating artifacts of our lives. I was driving down the road the other day, having what I would consider just another ordinary day, and a song called Over My Shoulder came on the radio. That particular song took me back to a place in time I had long forgotten; however, my mind put me back in my old white Toyota Corolla looking in my rearview mirror at someone I cared deeply about but could no longer be with.
In Russia, a person who has migrated to our country is called an inostranez, which means that he or she is from another country, not another planet. There is nothing demeaning or depressing about that word. A person who is called inostranez is always highly respected and liked. There is something about foreigners that Russian people adore and envy. I loved that the foreigners I met spoke a different language and were very mysterious. They made me want to learn more about them and their culture.
When I got of the car with my gun, I had already committed myself to the act of shooting this animal, like when Orwell called for the elephant gun. I would not mind killing something that I could eat, but this was pointless. And yet, I was under pressure to perform. I lined up the crosshairs in the middle of his small chest and squeezed back on the trigger. I heard the crack of the rifle, felt the recoil against my shoulder, and saw a puff of fur fly into the air as the squirrel disappeared from sight.
Vacuuming was like an aerobic workout and gave me a surge of energy. I sped along, not worrying about anything except not scuffing my baseboards. As I maneuvered my way through the house, Id almost dance to the tune of the vacuum, but that all changed when I had kids.
How would this then change the act of flag burning? As an act of protest it would take on a whole different character: no longer a declaration of ignorance, because now the flag would not represent, not freedom, but freedom rescinded; no longer tasteless because, under the revised constitution, the flag would no longer stand for those same principles our forbearers suffered for; no longer selfish because the act would carry the risk of punishment, and therefore weirdly morph into self-sacrifice. The flag would no longer be a symbol of our basic, immutable human freedoms, but a hypocritical monument to its former virtue, an idol of the State.
Despite the fact that I wanted nothing more than to stop all the clocks and lie in bed with the covers over my head, I realized that I had to get up each day and live life for the child I still had with me. I relied on my youthful and morbid fascination with how my personal role model of tragedy had chosen to live through sadness to frame my own life in the aftermath of my personal tragedy. Every day when I woke up, I savored that brief second before you remember that something horrible has happened in your life. As that second quickly faded, and the sadness would wash over me, I had to make the decision whether or not to simply get out of bed. I imagined Jackie Kennedy waking up alone in late 1963 and facing the same decision.
That saying, If others can do it, so can I, will mean a lot to the readers as they see that a man was successful in nurturing his children and it was a job well done. Now that Wilder has given them a positive example, it will be up to them to follow in his fathers footsteps as they raise their own children. Wilder wants to encourage the readers, letting them know that they can still be manly men even if they take an active part in their childrens lives.
Neither the American Association of Pediatricians nor Ariel Gore is advocating that children be sat down two feet in front of a console TV and left to let their developing brains wither away at the behest of Teletubbies. In fact, they are both advocating for strong bonds between children and parents, with emphasis on creating strong minds through strong connections. Gore even points out the importance of asking critical thinking questions of a child if television watching is allowed. Where the two opinions differ is that the AAPs guidelines are intended solely for the best interest of children.
We in North America would do well to set aside intentional time and space for ritual, especially in our family lives. The act of eating home-cooked meals together as a family is on a rapid decline in the US, if not almost gone entirely. Microwavable meals and take-out meals have replaced slow-cooked whole foods. This loss, paired with the presence of TVs, computers, cell phones, and iPods in nearly every household seems to be tearing the heart out of families and communities, fostering loneliness and separation.