News - September 23, 2010

How low can you go?

My flatmate Mike jumps up when I come in, a beer held firmly in his hands. ‘Stijn, Stijn,’ he calls out enthusiastically, ‘I’ve got a really good idea for your next column.’
‘Oh’, I say, as neutrally as I can, as I am generally not very keen on other people wanting to think up my column for me.

'Let's talk about Michiel.' There was a big smile all over Mike's face. 'But I talked about him not long ago', I retort with a sigh.
'Yes, that was about the time he was standing stark naked in front of his one night stand and all of a sudden she lost interest. That was a laugh, but Michiel's results are even more hilarious. During this holiday he had a month to fill in two forms, but he didn't manage it. Now he can't graduate yet again.'I heave another sigh but it is lost on Mike. There is a glint in his eye. 'I've got a good title already', he adds. 'How low can you go? Did you know that Michiel started out in the academic stream in High School? And now after five years as a student he hasn't even got a level 3 vocational diploma. That is fantastic, after all!' I don't reply.
'I swear you could write a brilliant column about that. You can write about how he never gets out of bed before two o'clock and...' - he grins - 'that he only turned up on time at his internship once - on the first day.'
He goes on. 'I am sure Michiel is never going to make it; he has given up his room how. He only took his valuables with him and the rest has been out on the street for over a week.'
'Not impressed', I say coolly.
'Yes but,' Mike stammers, 'the neighbours have even complained. There must be a great story in that.'
'No', I say decidedly, without offering any further argument.
Mike sips his beer and stares dejectedly at the floor. I understand his disappointment. Mike has had to repeat the second year three times and even now he doesn't have all his study points. So he needs someone to look down on.