Fall 2018: December 1st Issue 4

Aloha Vulcans

Life is a lot like bubbling C for a question you don’t know the answer to. You might be right, you might be wrong. No matter the result, you’re guessing and living with the consequences somewhere in between knowing and eliminating your options. The only guarantee the proctor made when they passed out the exam is that there are many questions and not enough time to answer them all.

Hope your pencil is sharpened. May your eraser leave no trace of your transgressions.

I found an email from 2013 I sent to my friends about places to live in Hilo. It took until 2017 before I arrived here on a one-way flight from my hometown of Los Angeles. In those four years I had feats of incredible failure and immeasurable success. I felt happiness enter my heart and warm my body. I felt sadness and solitude creep in to occupy the space in between me and my shadow. It took equal parts stupidity, naivety, courage, and luck to finally answer the question:

Where will life take you?

As I look at all the questions still left on the exam suddenly I can’t seem to hold my eyes open. I’m halfway through writing my answer before my hand starts to slip and the words are unintelligible. This system is shutting down. Please save all work in progress and log off.

Time before shutdown: 3… 2… 1…

I see the faces of people past. What are they asking me? Are they trying to tell me something? Should I be doing things differently or is everything going to be alright? Why can’t I reach them? What can’t you hold with your hands and arms?


Sometimes I feel like I can hold my breath underwater forever. I like the sound of waves passing over my body. I like diving deep and grabbing sand from the bottom. I like how quiet it is. I like to think my mustache makes me look like a walrus. I like to open my eyes underwater.

Time’s up.

Your leg is asleep and your cheek and sweatshirt are covered in drool. Why do I always burp after I fall asleep at a desk? Blink twice if you’re awake, make sure your name is on the test, and pass your exams to the front of the class. All you can do now is hope that you studied hard enough for the test called life. After all, failure to prepare is preparing to fail.

You will always do your best.

A man with many names,

Peter Holden Chao

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