By Charlotte Freccia ’19
Picture me on a Thursday evening in a booth at Wiggin. I’m all alone save for the textbooks, loose papers, and other academic paraphernalia that surround me. It’s been an exhausting week. I’m surviving––barely––on Amish granola and caffeinated beverages. I haven’t seen a dog in weeks.
Suddenly, by fate or God or Spotify’s spooky sixth sense: “Hand In My Pocket” by Alanis Morissette comes on. And I’m crying. I’m crying. In Wiggin. I don’t have it all figured out just yet, either, Alanis. But you’re right. It’s gonna be fine, fine, fine. In the days to follow, I rediscover the wonder that is “Jagged Little Pill” and realize that the wildly-underrated Alanis has created a sassy, spunky song to fit just about any early-adulthood emotional situation.
How can you come enlightened, as I now am, to her infallible wisdom? Take this quiz to find out which of the Canadian songstress’s classic works is right for you.
You’ve been waiting in line at Comfort for the better part of fifteen minutes, and, right before you can get at those hashbrown triangles, the laxbruh in line one spot ahead of you swipes the last one. You:
- Clear your throat conspicuously, loudly get the attention of the woman behind the counter (“When will the next batch be ready, please?”), and secretly pray for an injury to put the athlete out for the season.
- Sigh, duck out of line, and content yourself with a bowl of Smart Start. You weren’t that hungry anyway.
- Remember that you intended to watch your caloric intake anyway and walk away feeling like everything’s gonna be fine, fine fine.
- Feel disappointed––you could almost feel your teeth sinking into that crunchy, greasy goodness––but take it as a lesson to book it to the Comfort line a few moments earlier next time.
Your professor stood you up for office hours––again. Your paper is due by next class and you haven’t started it because you were counting on getting her input. You:
- Turn in a half-assed paper and then pointedly refuse to turn off the lights when she asks you to before showing a film clip and instead make her walk all the way around the table to do it herself. You don’t owe her anything.
- Chalk it up to your own bad luck: this kind of stuff always happens to you––like the time you were offered a free ride when you’d already paid.
- Put one hand in your pocket, slide your headphones over your ears, and acknowledge that you’re in a tight spot, knowing that with faith you’ll pull through.
- Remember that there’s a valuable lesson in every shitty situation and swallow your professor’s indifference down like a jagged little pill.
You’re pretty sure you downed, like, fourteen cans of Keystone at Bullseye last night, but you still felt sober as a stone. You went to bed disappointed in your night but woke up with a wicked hangover. What gives?! You:
- Use your churning stomach and aching head to act like a brat all day. Your hangover is the cross you bear that the Keystone gave to you.
- Send your roommate to the Market for a coconut water and resolve to nap your blurry vision and light-sensitivity away, but get some satisfaction of the classic irony of the situation.
- Eschew victimization and instead say to your aching, irritable body: I’m wrong and I’m sorry, baby. [Harmonia solo].
- Regret your decision-making and vow to take it easy next time, but don’t get too hard on yourself. Alanis does recommend biting of more than you can chew. She certainly does. How would you know your limits if you didn’t test them once in awhile?
You finally kiss the dreamy guy from your Religious Studies class at a questionable hour outside of Olin after a cramming session. Nice! The next day, he acts weird and drops you a text claiming he just wants to be friends. You:
- Ignore all further invitations to study together and adopt an attitude of blatant hostility to every girl you see him with in the weeks to come. Make sure he knows that it was a slap in the face how quickly you were replaced.
- Feel your face burn with shame and embarrassment. You could’ve sworn he was into it. Who would’ve thought? It figures.
- Handle rejection better than anyone you know. The way you see it, being turned down by the wrong person puts you one step closer to being accepted by the right person. You’re lost but you’re hopeful, yeah.
- Keep your head down in Religious Studies for the next few weeks, but remember that repudiation is a natural and valuable part of life: you live, you learn; you love, you learn; you cry, you learn; you lose, you learn.
If you got..
mostly 1’s Drop “Jagged Little Pill” onto your Crosley and drop the needle on Track 2: You Oughta Know. It sounds like you’ve been dealing with some real poppycock at the hands of your boyfriend/girlfriend/professor/roommate/parents these days. Alanis feels your pain. This song may be a rip-roaring, raucous kiss-of to an ex (upon whom Alanis supposedly went down in a theatre (!!!)) but it really can fly any time somebody does you wrong. She opens the song saying to a player, “I want you to know that I’m happy for you,” but you know she doesn’t mean it––at least, not as deeply as she means it when she says “Every time I scratch my nails down someone else’s back…I hope you feel it.” Tell em, Alanis. Tell em exactly what they Oughta Know.
mostly 2’s The 90’s anthem “Ironic” is the song for you. Though this song did come under fire by lyrical purists who argued that certain situations Alanis so masterfully described (rain on your wedding day, for example) weren’t exactly ironic so much as sad, it still hits home when you feel like nothing’s going your way. And while it might not make you feel any better to acknowledge the tragic irony in your life, sometimes you just need to complain. Alanis knows. Alanis understands.
mostly 3’s Get like me and get a little “Hand In My Pocket” in your life. Like Alanis, you’re someone who understands that their life is a mess of paradoxes, contradictions, and unlikelihoods (You’re high but you’re grounded! You’re sane but you’re overwhelmed!). This can be a scary truth to embrace, but it becomes a little more easy to accept when you remember that nobody’s got it figured out just yet. Your life may feel imbalanced, but your perspective sure isn’t.
mostly 4’s Hit repeat on “You Learn.” Taylor Swift once said that the most valuable piece of advice she’d ever been given was from this song: You live, you learn. You love, you learn. You cry, you learn. You lose, you learn. In other words, there’s no situation in which you find yourself, no matter how sad or unfortunate or inopportune, that can’t be absorbed as a valuable lesson. You’re mature and optimistic and have a high tolerance for pain. Take it in your stride. Alanis would be proud.