Self-Indulgence 11: Pizza is Good for Cats
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I’ve been meaning to talk about Samurai Pizza Cats ever since I tossed it up on my latest Top 50 revision. It has a nifty little story behind why it’s on my list. Let’s tell that nifty little story.
Protip: I’m gonna get all soul-searchy and weird in this post, so be warned.
We’re gonna flash back to my freshman year of college. It was my first time to be doing a whole lot of new shit. It was the first time I spent any sort of extended time away from my family, what with living on campus and all. I went to Trinity University here in San Antonio, so I was still “at home” despite being “off to college,” but it was still a big thing for me. That meant I didn’t have my parents lording over me, telling me to do shit when I was supposed to do it and all that.
So there I was, some loser kid having to buy his own food, try to meet new people, and all of that pseudo-adult stuff you do in college. It was pretty rough on me. I was basically a year younger than everyone in my class, since my birthday lands literally days before the official cut-off between school years. If I were born a few days later, I’d have been a year behind. That one year of experience doesn’t matter much now that I’m in my 30′s, but when you’re a kid adjusting to new shit it makes a world of difference.
Basically, I was probably too young and immature to run off and be “on my own” at that point and should have gone to a college where I could stay home and commute. And on top of that, my actual college experiences weren’t particularly enjoyable.
I switched roommates halfway through my freshman year. I demanded it. My first roommate was a drinker. A heavy drinker. The sort that made a collage out of beer boxes and covered our windows with it. His hobby was “getting plastered.” I don’t drink. At all. I asked him not to bring his booze into our room. He can do that shit in other people’s dorm rooms if he wants, but I didn’t want any part of his escapades. Guess I was a bit of a stuck-up dork or whatever for feeling that way, but yeah. Anyway, that wasn’t the kicker. The kicker was that he used my refrigerator for his beer. I asked him not to. He said OK. He kept doing it.
It was that “I’m gonna lie right to your face then wonder why you’re pissed off” attitude that made me change-up roommates.
There were a few other problems that semester. I tried to join the campus RPG club, but the people in the club came off as way too tight-nit and wary of accepting newcomers. But I chalk that up to awkwardness on both sides of the issue. Gaming nerds and all. I was probably too shy to really stick my neck out there and they weren’t too keen on a newcomer changing things up. So that was just a bummer, but it sucked that I was denied a potential outlet for my frustrations.
My second semester was even worse. My new roommate was alright, although he had a borderline psychotic older brother who went to the same college who chewed me out for using his brother’s stereo. Yeah. But that was one of those laughable things that didn’t really bother me after the fact.
The second semester was something of a two-headed beast. I was taking on particular class that semester that was all about creationism myths, evolution, and comparing scientific and spiritual theories on the origins of life. It was a cool little class, but the professor was a complete asshole. He was as close as you could get to being an evangelical atheist. Evangelism in all forms is pretty obnoxious to me, and in my youthful mindset it was even more annoying then than it would be to me now. At the time I had no idea what to believe, religion-wise, since I’d had my own little falling out with Christianity during high school, but I also had no real reason to just abandon all concepts of spiritualism.
But this guy challenged spiritual beliefs. Rather, he challenged the beliefs of those who weren’t atheists. He never tried to get the other atheist kids in our class to consider spirituality, he basically picked on anyone who dared to say “Yeah, I believe in something resembling God.” He was the sort that was completely convinced that it was OK to be an ass about his beliefs because he was right. You get those sorts on both sides of the issue. If he had been a Christian pulling the same stunt he would have pissed me off just as much. He just happened to preach for the opposing side. It led to me pretty much questioning my own existence. Not in a “should I live or should I die” sort of way, but in more of an existential “what the fuck is the point of all of this when you have no fucking idea what’s going on” way. My mind would run with that shit, and it was all but paralyzing.
(As a side note, it was around this time that I started delving into New Age shit like Tarot card reading and the like. I talked about that shit in this old Azazel post.)
All of this messed with me more so than it should have because at the same time I was taking an acne medication called Accutane. See those side effects listed on that link? Severe Depression? Yeah, that’s at the root of all of this. I was taking a medication at the time that would eventually be linked to cases of severe depression. In hindsight, all of these little nagging problems probably wouldn’t have effected me as much if I wasn’t taking a drug that exasperated all of these issues. None of it was any different from the shit that I’d dealt with in high school or middle school, but I never had any sort of collapse because of those problems until my freshman year.
Fortunately my emotional problems never got so severe that I took any drastic measures. The most drastic thing I did was quit going to class. The last two or three weeks of school, all I did was wake up, watch TV, and play video games. I didn’t do any of my major projects. I didn’t take my finals. I gave up because I was too damn depressed to do anything but sulk around and do nothing.
And what’s Samurai Pizza Cats have to do with any of this?
I discovered the show during this time period. It was during that second semester. Before everything went to shit, I would watch the show every now and then before going to class. It was a pretty cool show, especially for something that was completely re-written for a western audience. It was filled with cheesy puns and references to American shit and all that. And when I finally gave up on my studies, it was Samurai Pizza Cats that made me get out of bed. It gave me something to look forward to every day. It may have been nothing but 30 minutes of stupidity, but it was something that actually made me happy.
It wasn’t the only thing that kept me afloat, since I had friends around and I actually met my first girlfriend during that period, but I like to give it some props for basically making a completely miserable time of my life somewhat bearable. It’d be ridiculous to say that the Pizza Cats saved me, but let’s say it anyway.
The Samurai Pizza Cats saved me from fucking up my life. Nya’all have me eternal gratitude.