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How To Dust Your Participation Trophy

Well, the trees are blooming, and pollen is in the air, setting off everyone’s allergies. It’s spring time one again, and with spring time comes spring cleaning. Time to clean out that pig’s sty you call an apartment. And what better place to start than with that participation trophy you kept languishing on the top of your dresser for some reason? It’s been gathering dust or what, five years now? Why do you even still have that thing? Whatever. It’s as good a place to start as any.

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Find those dust cloths your mom gave you when you moved into the apartment. You know they’re around here somewhere. Find them in the in the corner of the cabinet under the sink still in their packaging.


Take your participation trophy off the top of the dresser. Don’t think about how it represents those simple glory days before student loans, stagnant wages, Donald Trump, the ever-growing cost of owning a house or renting an apartment, the knowledge that one illness or injury could bankrupt you, and the growing awareness that you’re going to be stuck in a low paying, dead-end job until you drop dead in your cubicle at seventy. Don’t think about how it stands above you, mocking you and your lost innocence and feeling of security.


Alternate between wiping the dust from the trophy and the tears from your eyes as you reminisce about your soccer team. Man, those were the days. Afternoon practices with your best friends in the world, sleepovers with your team, friendship bracelets and sneaking scary movies. You could’ve been a great player and you know it. You could’ve played in high school or even college. But your stupid parents signed you up for math camp instead and then it was all a long trek to the bottom. But in those days, you had friends, you felt like you were a part of something bigger than yourself. Sure, you weren’t the best player on the team, but the memories more than made up for it. Like remember the time Josh Sanders gave you that soccer ball with “do you like me y/n” written on it? Man, it was the most romantic thing that ever happened to you. Oh god, you peaked in the fifth grade, didn’t you?


Wonder what happened to Josh. Did he ever become an astronaut like he wanted? What about Becky and Janna-Sue? Remember the other friends you have drifted apart from over the years. Ask yourself if you should reconnect or if that would be weird because you haven’t spoken in ten years and for all you know, they don’t remember you or the promise that you would be friends forever. A promise that was broken, just like every other promise in your life.


Give up on dusting the trophy halfway through. Lie down and weep in existential dread over the life you could have lead, the things you left behind, and the unfaltering march of time. Hold the trophy close. The metal is cold and hollow like your soul. It is the only tangible thing in your short, wasted life.

Stay toasty my Avocados or whatever. Who cares? Life is meaningless.

About The Columnist

Katharine Hanifen is fine. Really. She’s fine. Why do people keep asking?

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