“The man who invented No-Doze, he was a genius,” Mag said, slapping a box on the counter. “You got ten bucks I can borrow?”
He turned to his roommate Boone. He always had an extra wad in his back pocket. His mom sent him a card with money in it every week.
Boone shrugged, “Yeah, one sec.”
He hated that Mag always bummed money from him. Seven months as roommates, and Mag’s tab had grown to $600. Almost a hundred bucks a month. Boone knew he’d never see that money again.
“What you boys goin’ to do wit dis?” the clerk asked, shaking the No-Doze in Mag’s face.
“”Finals, sir. We have finals this week. Gotta study ’round the clock to get passing grades,” Mag said sincerely.
“Well, lawdy, son. In my day, plain coffee worked just fine.”
“Oh, don’t worry, sir. We plan to drink that, too.”
The clerk shook his head and rang up the sale. “Kids dese days be stupid,” he muttered.
“Come on, Boone. Let’s go ace some exams!” Mag exclaimed as he marched to the door.
Boone didn’t need the No-Doze to pass his finals; he’s been attending lectures and writing papers all semester while Mag overslept in their dorm room and purchased essays online. Mag didn’t believe in putting effort into school. He’s rather party and meet girls, then cram fifteen weeks of information into an all-night memorization session. To Boone’s disbelief, it worked. Boone was flabbergasted when his roommate passed every class in first semester. He’d never even showed up to them.
“Dude, we’re going to spend the rest of our lives chained to cubicles and obligations – this is the only time when we’re not tied down to anything. We’re completely free! Live it. Enjoy it. You’re not gonna have the luxury of this much free time on your hands for another forty-five years. And by then, you’ll be too tired and old to do anything.”
Boone knew Mag had a point, but his time at college wasn’t free. It was controlled by a financial scholarship that would disappear if his GPA slipped below 3.25. Just because Boone’s mother sent him money every week didn’t mean he came from a house with an endless stream of money. She sent him the extra tips she earned working a second job as a waitress. Mag didn’t know about that. He didn’t know about Boone’s life – how he’d grown up rich for fifteen years and then, in one day, watched all that money vanish because Boone’s father had lived like Mag and operated his financial brokerage firm with the same “live now, worry later” attitude. “Worry later” landed Boone’s dad in prison for twenty years.
Boone envied his dad’s and Mag’s spontaneity, their desire to seize life by the balls, but he didn’t want to share his father’s fate. Deep down, he didn’t think a man like the one who created No-Doze was a genius. And he thought the people who took a drug to pass exams were ten shades of stupid.