Now, normally I would have corrected someone who has my name wrong early on in order to save them the embarrassment , but something stopped me this time.
It could have to do with the fact that when I was little, Max was among the top three coolest names in my head (the higher-up ones being Chris and Greg.) It could have to do with the fact that he's just so awkward that it's funny to have that moment with someone else when they get that look on their face like "What did he just call you?"
But honestly, I think it has more to do with the fact that when he calls me Max, I get to be, if only for a brief second, someone else. I get to be an idealized version of myself. I get to fabricate a life that helps me forget momentarily that I am human.
You see, Max wouldn't have the stresses that seem to be plaguing me. Max wouldn't worry that the money he's spending on the food he needs for the week would prevent him from buying the reeds he needs for the month. Max doesn't go to sleep at night feeling like the work that he's done that day is only a fraction of what he needs to have done when he wakes up. Max keeps in touch with his friends, no matter how much time it takes, because he realizes that they're more important than the facts he arbitrarily has to memorize. Max gets in the hour of exercise he needs to feel healthy. Max makes delicious meals quickly with fresh ingredients. Max is spontaneous and doesn't worry too much about the consequences of letting his hair down for a bit. Max is on top of all the paperwork he has to be doing. Max doesn't feel guilty for being the biggest expense to a family that's just run into some trouble. Max has a plan for next year and is taking steps toward it.
Unfortunately, Max isn't real. And the second someone says "Hey Steve!" they snap me back to reality, and I have to come to terms with the fact that I cannot say all that about myself. I have to accept the fact that I'm imperfect, that people expect more of me now than it's physically possible for me to supply. I have to face the world knowing that I'm entirely unprepared. Once I leave college, and most likely the country, I know that nothing I've done the last four years has actually prepared me for what I will experience, with the exception of how to do my job.
But maybe I'll take a page from Max's book and see it as an opportunity for adventure.