Formal season has arrived, and maybe, due to some beautiful miracle, you not only have secured a date to your formal, but have received an invitation to his fraternity’s formal as well. So how do you repay this guy by making your dreams come true? By painting him the greatest cooler he’s ever laid eyes on. Your painted masterpiece sitting in his bedroom for the next few weeks is also a nice way to mark your territory. After embarking on the journey of painting a cooler myself, I have come to the conclusion that there are five distinct stages which occur over the course of this project, similar to the five stages of grief, which you are bound to endure once you’re finally finished and grieving over the sanity that you lost along the way.
You have pinned every single possible inspiration that Pinterest has to offer, and your followers probably hate you for blowing up their feeds with photos of alcohol logos, American flags, and stereotypical fraternity sayings. But you don’t care, because you’re about to create the most beautiful cooler in the world. You get into the car with wide eyes and big dreams as you head out in search of the perfect cooler to display what will most certainly be a work of art. Once you find it, you ask the first worker you see to help you locate sandpaper, primers, and sealers because god knows you would have no idea where to find them on your own. You carry the stuff back to your place with pride and deem yourself the next Picasso.
This is harder than you thought it would be. It was windy outside when you were trying to apply the layers of primer, and you’re convinced that it is completely impossible to apply it evenly regardless. When painting the base colors, you immediately regret trying to be fancy and buying the biggest cooler you could find, considering you had to make several trips back to the store to buy more paint. You realize the paint-pens that you once considered to be a lifesaver completely deceived you as excess paint oozes out the sides and drips all over the design that you FINALLY perfected. It takes all of your mental strength to not throw your already cracked iPhone 6 against the wall. You lay on the floor, writhing in agony as you realize that there is nothing this guy will ever be able to do to repay you for the piece of your soul that was destroyed while working on this stupid cooler.
It is your third night working on your creation, and you have officially completely lost your mind. You’re seeing double, you’re talking to yourself, and you don’t realize that it’s 5:00 a.m. until the Pandora station you’ve been listening to stops and asks, “Are you still listening?” You are behind on your homework in every single class, and you’ve become completely incapable of being able to tell whether or not your paintings look like the work of van Gogh or a 2-year-old. When you wake up the next morning, you decide that it would be best for your mental stability to hide the cooler for a few days and rejoin civilization.
After trying to separate yourself from the cooler, you realize that you can’t stop thinking about it. There are reminders everywhere. The sink that’s stained from the number of times per night you had to re-wash your brushes. The paint underneath your fingernails. You’re in too deep now, and you begin to compare your emotional health to that of a crack addict. You finally dive in and tackle the rest of this cooler, promising that if anyone ever puts one scratch in it, you’ll end his or her life.
You’re done. It is finished. It isn’t perfect. There are a few uneven lines. Some of the edges aren’t as sharp as you would have hoped. One of the colors you attempted to create wasn’t exactly the shade you were hoping for. But it’s beautiful and it’s your pride and joy. It is one of your greatest accomplishments, and if you could take pictures of it and put them on your resume, you would, because it took more hard work and dedication than anything else you’ve ever done. If the receiver of this remarkable work of art doesn’t appreciate it, you will scrape off his last name that you cleverly replaced the top of the “Jack Daniels” logo with and hit him with your car. Just like the final stage of grief, you have reached the stage of acceptance. Acceptance that you are the greatest formal date in the entire country. .