JG (10.31.86 / Attleboro, MA)

Real World

Welcome to the real world.
All your childhood fantasies of “Grown-up” life end here.
You wake up,
Go to work,
Come home,
Eat,
Sleep,
Eat,
Sleep.
Life isn’t so glorious, now is it?
Sorry your dreams can’t come true.
That’s just not how life works.
In the real world,
Nothing is ever given to you,
Except for colds and bills.
All those fun times you thought you’d be having?
Just lies and deceit from your parents.
(It keeps teenage suicides down.)
Responsibility isn’t as cool as you thought it’d be, either.
All problems caused by your actions now fall on you,
Not your parents.
Oh, and don’t try to get a better life than what you’ve got.
You’ve only got so much to work with, after all.
So welcome to the real world.
Choose a philosophy of life, now.
Epicurean or Stoic,
Atheist,
Christian;
Protestant or Catholic or Mormon.
Choose carefully:
It’s not an easy decision to change,
And the paperwork is complicated.
I’d tell you to choose some other things too;
Like where to live, what car to drive-
But those things are decided by your occupation, really.
Oh yes! Choose one of those, too:
But don’t worry if it doesn’t work out for you-
You can always work at Burger King.
(This is the real world, after all-
Nothing ever happens exactly as you wish it to.)
There are a million other things to hear:
Always wear clean underwear,
Never put the cat in the dryer,
And look both ways before you cross the street.
Life or death matters, all of them,
And we musn’t expect you to have any common sense.
(That’s such a childish way to live.)
Oh no, this is the real world.
Here we think in terms of profit and loss,
And creative thinking is frowned on.
(It’s such a pain in the bureaucratic rear, anyway.)
Welcome to the real world.
You’ve been to the kiddie version, and made it this far.
Not bad. So many just don’t survive to make this transition.
So smile! Look happy! You are one of the elite,
Who grind it out in twenty-four hour traffic jams;
Who fight to climb the corporate ladder,
All for a bigger office and better pay,
But a nothing family life.
You are one of the few, now on their own,
Who kill to eke out an existence on the streets,
Selling drugs and women to the highest bidder.
This is the real world.
Unlike those TV shows you liked as a kid,
Here the bad guys as often as not prevail,
And the good guy never gets the girl.
But smile! At least you’re alive, right?
You get to take in the aroma of tobacco smoke,
Stealing your life away, secondhand.
This is the real world!
Yeah, it has its moments of pain:
Death, lies, your first love, taxes,
But it’s what you’ve been preparing for.
Your whole life thus far has been for one purpose-
To allow you to make this step.
To prepare you to go out into the real world,
With your own ideas,
Your own convictions,
You own purpose.
Of course, you are allowed to have those things,
As you leave your old life behind.
But you must check them at the door
As you enter the real world.
You see, we’re quite happy to have you here,
But your ideas, convictions, and purpose... well, we have our own, thanks.
And we really don’t need or want yours.
Nope, they are definitely not allowed.
We like free speech, sure- as long as you say what we tell you to.
So pick a mold and fit into it, please.
Or better yet, go where we tell you,
And do what we tell you.
Oh, please enjoy your stay here in the real world.
And good luck- you’re going to need it.

by James Grengs

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