When it was announced on October 10, 2014 that seventeen year old Malala Yousafzai would share that year’s Nobel Peace prize with a man from India, students in Colby White’s grade twelve homeroom class felt an immediate sense of shame. They were the same age as Malala, and yet their biggest accomplishments to date were making the school sports team of their choice, having a boyfriend or girlfriend, and hiding their sex lives and drug use from their parents. Here was a girl who had stood up to the Taliban and won.
Right then and there they all vowed to do something more meaningful with their lives. Well, not all of them. Colby White was quite content to go on wasting his life. The way Colby saw it, if everyone from his generation grew up to be as remarkable as Malala, the world would fall apart. Sure, it would be nice if someone found the cure for all known diseases, put an end to world hunger, inspired people to treat each other with respect, and managed to build a life sustaining colony on the moon, but if all of that were achieved within the next ten to forty years then there wouldn’t be anything left for his kids or grandkids to achieve. They’d be bored, and you know what they say about kids who are bored. They’re bound to get into trouble.
We’d be back to where we started. Maybe even worse than where we started. In Colby’s mind, it was a very distinct possibility that civilization could regress to that time when people dumped poop out of their windows, or to when we fed those who got on our nerves to the lions, or to when humans drew really lame cartoons on the walls of their caves. It was better to balance things out and Colby White was willing to do his part.
So his English report that was due the next day? He blew it off. At his next shift bagging groceries down at the local grocery store after school? He put a two pound bag of potatoes on top of a carton of eggs and didn’t feel the least bit guilty. And when it came time to fill out his college applications, he picked the program any lazy moron should be able to pass.
Colby White will never be written about in the history books which, when you think about it, is kind of a shame because in his own special way, Colby White made the world a better place.