Brave student disregards impending chastisement

Mike Dirksing chases his cloud-chasing dreams

Brave student disregards impending chastisement

During my freshman year at Elder, it seemed that all of the cool kids were picking up a new hobby: puffing on vape pens.  As ludicrous as it sounds, students from all walks of life had their hands on these gadgets.  In hindsight, they were all doing it in an attempt to appear cool and hip; nonetheless, it was popular then, and now it is not.

“I would’ve killed for a vape pen during freshman year,” said Will Colvin, a junior, “those things were sweet.”  But just like everyone else, he began to condemn the use of vape and make fun of kids who indulged in it. 

I would’ve killed for a vape pen during freshman year. Those things were sweet.

— Will Colvin

The Ego CE4, a "great pen" in Dirksing's opinion
The eGo-CE4, a “great pen” according to junior Mike Dirksing

In all honesty, my freshman self thought that it was a pretty dope pastime.  Not only were these kids blowing massive clouds of vape, but they were also looking good while doing it (as far as “good” looks in the eyes of a freshman).  It is for this reason that I was surprised when vaping began to be looked down upon by society. It is also for this reason that when I received a text from junior Michael Dirksing saying “I just bought a vape pen.  What flavor juice should I get?”, that I was stunned.  “I hope you’re kidding,” I replied, but to my own surprise, he was not.  I was baffled.

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The conversation went back and forth, with me telling him that this was a bold purchase, and his pushing it off as uncontroversial. I told him that he would get made fun of, while he disregarded that caveat.  He was sticking to his guts and doing what he said he would.  I had to respect it.

While this purchase is still shocking, Dirksing has been making references to this purchase for the entirety of this year; however, no one thought he would actually go through with it.  Back in early October I even tweeted a picture with a mocking inference to Dirksing’s vape usage after listening to him discuss the possibility of purchasing a vape pen, only to find out that he would eventually follow through with this promise.


I spoke with Dirksing in person, and he was more than happy to express his love for his new hobby.  I asked him what exactly nudged him to pull the trigger and make the purchase. “There was a gap in my life,” he started.  “I’ve found that vaping is the answer.  Vaping has gifted me with a new fulfillment and contentment in my life.  All in all, it makes me a better person.  It makes me who I am.”

I can attest.  Sharing multiple classes with Mike, I see a lot what he’s doing.  For instance: in German class, while sitting behind him, I’m able to watch most if not all of his web activity.  Adding to his ongoing struggle with Frau Kraeling, he has constantly been browsing the web, researching and learning everything that he can about vaping.  He has a certain perseverance for this new hobby that gives me reason to believe that he will be vaping for the duration of his life.

I ended our conversation with a speed round of questions:
Q: Favorite vape juice flavor?
A: Black Cherry Berry

Q: Preferred brand of vape pen?
A: Mount Baker Vapor

Q: Favorite vape trick?
A: French Inhale 

Q: Any other hobbies besides vaping?
A: I plan on sticking solely to vape, but stuff gets in the way sometimes.

The nature of this article most likely appears playful and mocking, but I seriously applaud Dirksing and his brave independence.  There aren’t many kids out there that would proudly open up about their usage of vape pens.  Today’s teenage society condemns and mocks vaping, and to go out and do it anyways, without worrying about the judgement or chastisement that is bound to come, is praiseworthy.  I applaud you, Mr. Dirksing.  Vape on.

Originally, Dirksing wanted to extend a plea to readers of this story.  He was in quite the dilemma.  The actual vape pen is scheduled to arrive on Friday, December 11th, while the vape juice was to arrive on Monday, the 14th.  Obviously this was a predicament for Dirksing.  He would have to endure the whole weekend without vape juice, while his vape pen sat there and taunted him.  He was going to ask if anyone had some extra vape juice that he could borrow; however, before the publication of this article, he fell to the pressure and ordered expedited shipping.  Crisis averted.

*Note: Dirksing legally purchased his non-nicotine vapor and vape pen online, with the consent of his legal guardians.