The Light at the End of the Tunnel

by Tom Mandel | 5/26/11 10:00pm

Blitz kicks ass. Here's a story to illustrate why.

My freshman Spring, I got on a DND nickname kick. (I'm still on it.) I started trolling around the DND looking for cool nicknames that I could take. "Bro" was taken. "Sweet" was taken. Everything was taken. So I started looking around at what other people had. Some facetimey Croo people had some pretty funny ones. I wondered if faculty and staff had nicknames. Did Jim Wright have a nickname? I typed in "Jim Wright" into the DND.

No matches were found, so I took the name and instantly set it as my reply-to.

It was funny and I felt so cool. Even upperclassmen would laugh about how my reply-to was "Jim Wright." A couple weeks passed.

Then I got a blitz from Director of Outdoor Programs Daniel M. Nelson that looked really important. It was clearly intended for President Wright. I felt guilty about halting the transmission of urgent correspondence, so I replied and told the sender they should send it to the real president.

Five minutes later, I got a blitz from Warren D. Belding of Consulting Services. He said (this is why I love saving blitzes), "It has come to my attention that you have placed the first and last name of a person (jim wright) in the nickname field of your DND account. This violates the Computing IT policy. I have removed this name from your nickname field in the DND, but am requesting that you ensure this does not happen again."

At least I wasn't in any real trouble. But I do have to admit that I was impressed with the response time.

This is where things get tricky. When he went in and took the nickname out, he forgot to remove it from my reply-to.

So for a 10-minute period until I realized the mistake anybody responding to a blitz from me would send his/her response to the actual President Wright. He got a few really harmless blitzes, stuff along the lines of "let's get dinner" or "what's the reading?"

At the time, however, I was also having a conversation with Matthew Paul Ritger '10 (I saw him over Green Key and asked if it was cool to tell this story. He told me to use his full name). The conversation centered around The D's spring banquet, which is kind of like formal for The D except without dates and with less alcohol and there's also a speaker at the event. Matthew was complaining that Arts staff enthusiasm for the banquet that year was particularly lackluster. So I told him, "matthew, the way to get US enthusiastic is for YOU to promise to be an embarassing [sic], blacked-out mess."

He highlighted my text and responded with, "Oh please, this is the baseline assumption for all D events. It's part of my job description."

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), that blitz went to James E. Wright, not Thomas J. Mandel.

The next blitz to arrive in Matthew's inbox was this gem:

From: James E. WrightTo: Matthew P. RitgerSubject: Re:Dear Matthew,I am not sure who your are negotiating with here, but I am not part of this conversation. And I don't believe that I want to be!sincerely,James Wright

I'm going to forgive President Wright for his typo, and applaud him for his exclamation point. And the poise with which he handled the situation.

Doesn't blitz kick ass? R.I.P., for real.

THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL is that at the end of four years, I don't have some huge lesson that I've learned and I haven't had any traumatic events that fundamentally changed me. What I'm left with are four years of stories and experiences and memories that add up to one helluva meaningful collage. I'm going to remember that story for the rest of my life. Or the time my freshman floor threw a formal using SIPS money and invited a professor to make it legit. Or seeing Kevin Bacon play pong freshman year. Or taking the AD dogs to swim in the river every day during sophomore Summer. Or what it felt like to finish my thesis. Or the great friends I've made along the way. They're all pieces of the same puzzle. And if I think that it all makes sense right now, I can't even imagine the kind of clarity I'm going to get on June 12.