The Student Loan Crisis as Seen by the Guy who Hangs Out on Campus but Doesn’t Actually Go There

May 18, 2012

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"If you're worried about student loan debt, what it means for graduating seniors and for the future of our nation, congratulations. That means you're paying attention," wrote Adam Levin on ABC.com on Sunday.

Performer Chris Hauser is more than paying attention: he's satirizing the situation at The Paper Machete. Read an excerpt below or listen above.

Good day to you ladies…bros…

I’m here unofficially on behalf of my fellow students. I’m not technically a student but I consider myself a Student of Life. You could say that I have a degree in Teasing the Mind – an associates in Listening to the Moon – and an Externship in Awesome… and I was in jail for 2 ½ years, but that’s neither here nor there. You may have seen me around campus. Any given campus – I go to them all. You can catch me at UIC every morning at 6:45 in front of the TBH asking for change. Then I make my way over to Columbia to see if any of the film students need a leading man (they never do). Lunchtime, I wrap my shirt around my neck and play pan flute by the Richardson Library. Then I end the day at Northwestern, just…dreaming…and asking for change. But Fridays, I shake things up. Around three in the afternoon I visit high school parking lots and ask if anyone needs a ride. I don’t have a car, it’s just a little joke I play – the perfect preamble to asking for change.

Starting to get the picture? I’m with the students. I know their minds. Sure, maybe I don’t sit in a classroom and listen to the man tell me what’s going on out there in the world. That’s because the world is my classroom. The birds are my teachers. The flowers are my textbooks. The streets are my hallways. So you tell I who’s educated.

You can imagine then that I have a very particular insight into the financial woes of the common student. And I don’t like it. University used to be fun, man. No one worried about money or “The Future.” No one cared what the interest rate of a subsidized loan was. It used to be about drinking strawberry wine and reading each other passages from “The Naked Ape” and discovering ones’ sexuality in the back seat of a policeman’s cruiser at the tip of a baton. I remember the first time I secretly followed a group of fraternity brothers to the Dean’s lodgings. Those Phi Beta Kappa boys covered his front door with maple syrup swastikas and dingleberries and I laughed so hard that all my clothes fell off and I collapsed into the Dean’s bed and went to sleep.

It’s not like that anymore. The eyes of the academic are hungry, not for randy escapades, but for financial security. Let me lay it out for you. How much debt do you have to get yourself into so you have the skills you need to get a job that compensates you well enough to pay off said debt? That’s a fundamental query. How do you suppress an erection while you hand out paper mache figurines of yourself during freshman orientation? You just can’t know until you’re in the midst of it. I pity their plight.

The Paper Machete is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It's always at 3 p.m., it's always on Saturday, and it's always free. Get all your The Paper Machete Radio Magazine needs filled here, or download the podcast from iTunes here.