Wallowing in Dartmouth

by Liam Kuhn | 5/17/02 5:00am

Ah, Green Key. It's kind of like the Tampa Bay Devil Rays of Dartmouth big weekends: there's no real justifiable explanation for why it still exists, but we enjoy it anyway every time it comes to town. With Homecoming, there's a bonfire to run around and a pathetic football team to pretend to get excited about. With Winter Carnival, there's cheap skiing to take advantage of and a pathetic snow sculpture to pretend to get excited about. But Green Key operates under no such pretensions; it has no inviolable traditions for the administration to shake its naggy, overbearing parental finger at; it has no aspirations so lofty and hollow as "school spirit" or any of that crap. It's merely a weekend to embrace the onset of spring and get really, really trashed. And that, gentle reader, in and of itself, is reason to love it more than any other weekend in Hanover.

Now, some people might try to convince you that Green Key is about something more meaningful than passing out in a puddle of your own bodily fluids on the lawn of AD by 2 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon, but don't believe 'em. They're probably the same people who would try to convince you that Dartmouth does in fact have a wide variety of viable social options or that the D-Plan is actually a good idea. There are rumors floating around about Green Key being founded on a spirit of good will and community-building and outreach programs and blah, blah, blah. If you're reading this now, then you aren't out there saving the world anyway, and if you're not saving the world, then you may as well go to a party or something and unwind a little bit. Have yourself another drink.

Because Green Key's all about blacking out, in a sense. It's about forgetting things, either through sheer willpower or, for the less imaginative, dedicated and deliberate overuse of libations. Dartmouth's a great place and every day I inch closer to graduation and leaving here, I find another reason to love it and to dread moving on. But let's be honest, folks, it can weigh you down at times. I don't know if it's because of the 10-week terms or because we're isolated in the middle of nowhere, but when things start to go bad, they intensify so quickly that you feel dragged down and suffocated before you even realize it. And a lot of things can go bad here. You could decide late in your Dartmouth career that the Greek system really is as evil and antiquated as everyone's been saying all along; you could feel alienated from your friends because you've made this revelation in a rather public forum, in a rather tactlessly and self-aggrandizing way; you could go six months without writing a single decent column. Hell, you could even be rejected from an FSP because the professor leading the trip doesn't like the cut of your jib or some other equally inane, discriminatory reason. But I digress.

The point is, Dartmouth is a stressful environment where a lot of crappy things can happen in a relatively short amount of time. It's nice to be able to put all of that on the back burner, even if only for one weekend a term, and just let yourself go. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, and if you can't leave Hanover, enjoy it. Go to all the parties. Go to a house you wouldn't usually hang out in. Meet new people. Go watch a play (Kris Thorgeirsson's "Egil's Saga" this weekend or the Frost plays next weekend -- I especially recommend the second Frost play; I hear the playwright's kinda cute, in a tactless, self-aggrandizing way). Go to a concert. Attend a lecture. Do some volunteer work. Hire me for gainful employment. Whatever, just have some fun, please, because if there's one thing I can't stand, it's bitter people who never smile. No, really.

Make this weekend your own. Because before you know it, you'll wake up and be a Grand Old Jobless Senior and the weight of the world will threaten to come crashing down on you and you'll be able to count on one hand the number of times left in your life when you'll be able to pass out on a lawn with an empty bottle of Mad Dog in your hand and hundreds of college girls dancing to some reggae band all around you. Or so I've been told. And if the weather isn't nice, don't let that get you down, either. Go out and cut loose anyway. Wallow around in the mud. Because it's Dartmouth mud, and believe me, there are worse places you could be.