Shopping Cart Series: Off To College


This is the time of year when my depression sinks to a new low. It’s mid-August and college students everywhere are heading off to another year of higher education.

You see, when I was a lot younger, I was approached by some guys who said they were college recruiters. They told me I was smart, and offered me a scholarship, even telling me that I could do my GED while taking college classes. It sounded a little suspicious that a cart without a high school diploma could enter college (and that too, tuition free), but I trusted the guys. They even showed me their official Kingsborough ID’s.

So my mom (a single mother living on disability income), and I discussed it and we felt this was the best decision for my future. Asking me to look through the course bulletin and schedule of classes, the guys really got my hopes up high for my first semester. I had heard that Kingsborough Community College was the college by the sea with its own private beach, so I imagined myself sitting on that beach with my books doin’ my higher learning. I wasn’t so much interested in underwater basketweaving like the other carts my age, who weren’t admitted to the college, had advised me to take. It was the high road for me and I signed up for philosophy and math.

Fast forward 9 years. Yeah,  that’s right. I’m here at college. Kingsborough Community College’s shop — that’s where! Those liars brought me here to college, but I never seen the inside of a classroom.

Here I am living my life in this windowless room, where my main job is to carry tools, wires, and ropes around this generator room. I’m not a college student, I’m a shop cart. Those guys fed me lies about my future and told me I would get my degree. I’m getting a degree, alright — 95 degrees. Boy, do they keep the temperature hot in this shop.

Some might say those jerks never really lied when they said I was going to college. Sure, they brought me to college, but I haven’t seen a book since I arrived here. Only one of my evil captors still works in this department, Now as a shop steward.

Whenever we see each other and others are around, he treats me like a regular cart. But when the other workers can’t hear him, his taunts and cruel remarks cut right through me: “Hey, Cartie, Cartie, wanna go to college? I got a mortarboard just your size.”

Yeah, man, don’t be surprised when one of these cables in my cart makes its way around your neck. Not even a Ph.D. on parchment, printed with gold ink, can give me that degree of revenge.