I’ve got nothing.
Yes, I’ve known about this letter for months. Yes, I know I should be using this platform to say something meaningful and fulfilling and what have you, but I just don’t know what kind of lesson I have to teach. I’ve been racking my brain since I got an editor position trying to find something decent to write a letter about, but nothing on the list hit right.
I thought about writing about finding myself at stinky basement rock ‘n’ roll shows, which does mean a lot to me. There just isn’t much to say beyond telling the story of the legendary Omaha house venue Lucy’s Pub, which would probably make a better feature story than letter. If you want to hear more about that place, let me know. I’ll ramble about its importance.
I considered discussing the wisdom of Jeff Rosenstock’s collective punk band Bomb the Music Industry!, but that would mostly be a lyrical deep dive into my own psyche that would leave readers confused and wondering why I still listen to a band that plays so much ska. It’d be fun for me, but nobody wants to read a bulleted list of lines that relate to my life in some obscure way. It would probably take too long to explain why I love lyrics like “I guess I shouldn’t have worn shorts.”
And so I found myself with nothing worthwhile to write about.
All my life, I’ve looked for meaning in everything. I’ve tried to weave grandiose themes throughout my most mundane moments in an effort to gain some sort of understanding about what the heck is going on, and for the most part, this has worked alright.
Back in elementary school, doing this was pretty easy. I went to school every day to learn about what I was told was important stuff. Multiplication tables, pilgrims, how to read clocks — it was simple but imperative. I was there to learn how to quit being such a dependent little goof and actually function in society. Easy enough, right? After class, I went home and played outside because it made me feel good. The meaning floated at surface level, and as a low-reasoning child, I was alright with that.
In high school, my narrative got more difficult to navigate, but it was still manageable. I was a rookie sailor, testing my knot-tying ability and constellation knowledge in an increasingly stormy sea. Relationships became more high-stakes, grades actually began to matter and my need for self-actualization became a louder nagging than my mom trying to get me to vacuum. But I felt confident and brash. My eyes were wide.
I got into music, fell in love, realized the ultimate power of friendship and began to forge a life for myself. It was fantastic. It was a classic coming-of-age tale, complete with trying situations, quirky mistakes and enough jokes and dumb bits to tastefully blur the line between drama and comedy. By the time I was on my way to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I was on top of the world. Plus, there was a solar eclipse set to happen on my first day of school. How cool? I figured I had gotten my life’s narrative sorted out, and now it was time to sit back and soak up the sun — or rather, some 10 minutes of shade.
As a 20-year-old college junior, however, I’ve lost my grip on the sailing ropes. To be honest, I don’t even know if you hold onto ropes when sailing. And that’s just the thing — I have no idea what’s going on.
I’ve lost track of my narrative. The themes I thought dominated the plot of my life don’t hold up anymore. The coming-of-age tale I loved playing a part in is long gone, and now I’m stuck in a subpar sequel.
I don’t really know what I want to do for a career. I don’t have time to play music as much as I would like to and pretty soon, I’ll be kicked out of school forever, left to my own devices.
The world is ridiculously huge, complex and terrifying. I’d like to say I’ve learned a lot growing up and becoming an adult, but honestly, all I’ve learned is that nothing makes sense to me.
At the end of the day, I don’t really have anything to say, and I apologize. I’d love to start typing and lend to you readers the meaning of life, but you’d be better off asking the next squirrel you pass on campus. It might have a better idea than me.
It feels a bit like I’m just a letter floating around in an alphabet soup, bouncing into other letters while someone bigger than me mixes up the hot soup I’m stuck in. Perhaps this is a phase, perhaps this is just adult life. Who knows?
Seinfeld. Seinfeld knows.
The legendary sitcom became known as the “show about nothing” after Jerry Seinfeld’s pal George Costanza pitched an eerily similar show called “Jerry” in a particularly meta 1992 episode.
When Jerry and George head to the NBC studios to chat with the bigwigs about the show about nothing, the pair struggle to develop a solid sales pitch. However, in an attempt to save his chance at TV stardom, Jerry throws in one of his signature quips.
“Even nothing is something,” he says.
And that’s where it all becomes clear. “Seinfeld” is hilarious, and there’s no point.
If Seinfeld can establish itself as one of the best sitcoms of all time, what’s the point in having a point? Maybe, just maybe, the grandiose storyline I’ve tried so hard to narrate my life with is absolute crap.
I’ve searched for meaning in my life everywhere, but when faced with an opportunity to share what I’ve found, I have nothing. But while living in a show without any sort of legitimate themes, Jerry and his pals manage to have a side-splitting time together week after week.
There may be no point to my life and I may have no idea what’s going on, but at least it can make for good television.
So what can we do besides grab our friends, sit at a diner and talk about nothing?
Your Jerry Seinfeld campus representative,