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Graduation is a time for extremes. Extremes of emotions (happy to be done; sad to leave), extremes of comfort (you're sweating in your gown; the Xanax addiction you developed recently to prepare for your cubicled job in New York has you feeling fine), and extremes of scent (the boot on your shoes from your last night of college vs. the chlorine in your hair).
For the last half-century or so, Dartmouth College has been one of the foremost battlegrounds for the most important and immense conflict of our era: The battle of the old school versus the new school.
As is painfully obvious by now, Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, is dead. This year has also seen the sad deaths of Coretta Scott King and Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett, as well as the fortunate and long-awaited deaths of dictator Slobodan Milosevic and that bastard Kirby Puckett. Some of these deaths were more predictable than others. (For example, compare Irwin's job title or Puckett's loathsome obesity to Slobodan's graceful aging.) It in this spirit that I present to you some predictions for the deaths of some of Dartmouth's campus celebrities this fall:
OMFG. We've worked through nearly another whole term and our big weekend is finally here. It's the same routine every term, but there's definitely something special about Green Key. Homecoming stands as a monolith among traditional collegiate weekends; it always happens and, as its name implies, has a real purpose. Winter Carnival at Dartmouth also has a clear purpose: We pretend to celebrate the cold to trick ourselves into temporarily forgetting its overwhelmingly miserable and depressing reality. Tubestock was a gift to Dartmouth sophomores, an opportunity to be like Seinfeld and to kill themselves at life's peak. Now the Man wants to rescind his offer, but what the Man doesn't know doesn't hurt Him.
I love my Hinman Box. It is to BlitzMail what stealing cars and killing prostitutes is to simply playing Grand Theft Auto video games; it's more interactive, more old school, more fun and it often involves money from Grandma.
We all like food. That's the way we evolved. There used to be cavemen who would sit around and look at their friends eating mammoth meat who would just sigh, thinking to themselves how boring food was. Lucky for us, all those cavemen died. However, there seems to be a growing resurgence in food-hating around campus lately, or meal-plan hating, anyway.
Winter Carnival is a time to enjoy yourself. It's a time to forget about essays and midterms and personal responsibility and to enjoy life as a college student in Hanover, New Hampshire: the snow, the mountains, the rural setting and the free beer. However, not everybody can enjoy the holiday. Indeed, some people have some serious impediments to getting the most out of this weekend. Below are some common problems and my advised solutions.
One of my favorite TV shows is "COPS." As the inspiration for a decade's worth of reality TV moronic garbage, I suppose that deep down I hate it with all of my heart and blame it for the undoing of America. However, as quality entertainment, I find it second to none. Watching any given episode, you can expect a polite but hilarious exchange between citizen(s) and officer(s); a fast-paced, exciting, and decidedly impolite interaction; or field sobriety testing. Being a fan of humor, action and people nonchalantly leaning on old pick-up trucks, "COPS" is my perfect storm of entertainment. Consider a recent episode -- a "Guns and Drugs" edition -- that featured several typical examples of the polite exchanges of which I write.
The walkie-talkie crackled at the officer's waist, alerting him of an unregistered party and intoxicated undergrads. It was time to get to business. Although Dartmouth students may cast away work's ball and chain on so-called "party nights," Safety and Security doesn't take Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays or about half of their Thursdays off.
An unscientific and generally uniformed look back at the stories that captivated us.
In such turbulent times, I like having a source of consistency in my life. This is why I like the section of the Student Assembly website entitled "college committees." Here, you can see a list of SA's committees, apply to one and even view your archived applications, if there are any. Whenever I am feeling down about a government failing a country because of cronyism and shortsightedness, I can just check archived applications and see the single most consistent thing in my life :
I stopped by the Hanover Barbershop between my 10 and 12 last Friday for a quick trim and had an important revelation. Hanover has a barbershop. I had no idea. At least I thought I had no idea. I always had girls cut it in dorms last year. But there I was, right out of class and walking in this door like I'd been there a hundred times before. Weird.
I will come right out and say it: I am no thug. But my roommate last year, Yin Xie from the Bronx, is a thug. He likes Jay-Z, Bruce Lee, his Von Dutch hats and protein shakes. Yin says that one day he will be an investment banker. I think he will be the first investment banker ever to pull a knife out of his sock and stab a client when he blames him for his portfolio's poor performance (I say "he" because Yin knows how to treat a lady.). I will be honest, I am a little scared of Yin Xie from the Bronx, but we got along just fine for a year.
Over the last week, many returning students have been pleasantly surprised by the presence of kegs in frat basements on nights when the fraternity is not registered. This phenomenon is a direct result of the changes made by the Social Events Management Procedures Committee in the spring, which make distributing alcohol easier this year than it was last year. Like the PBR that many of us can now enjoy, the taste of progress is sweet. And like the wait for a game to get racked when there is only one keg tapped, this progress has been slow.
Recently I lent my car to some friends who wanted to see a concert in Providence. Also recently, some friends of mine, who borrowed my car to see a concert in Providence, slid off the road on the way home and incurred about $6,000 worth of damage to my car, though they themselves were unharmed in the accident. My point? Mostly to call them out publicly as being miserable human beings. Not really, though. The driver's insurance will be paying, so this whole situation is only costing me some convenience. To be honest, I feel worse for him. He has to deal with all of this at the worst time of the term -- midterms. I'm sure most of you can sympathize. If I were writing this for a Harvard audience, however, I would not be able to assert the previous statement. "Sweet!" the Harvard student would say, "Less time for them to study means they'll get a lower grade which means I'll get a better grade which means I will graduate with honors along with the majority of my peers which means I will get to hang the Harvard honor diploma up on the wall of my fancy office next to the window out of which I will eventually throw myself when my ostensibly self-righteous, egotistical personality, which acts as a shield to my insecurities about my success being arbitrary and ultimately meaningless, collides with the merciless truth that my insecurities should probably be deeper than I even suspected! Sweet!"
Just hanging out around campus, stuff doesn't appear to be going too shabbily. I get from place to place and class to class, check my BlitzMail every so often, buy a meal at one of the many campus eateries when I'm hungry, maybe even take a break from online poker and browsing your personal files to check some assignments on blackboard. What could possibly be better?
Upon seeing a recent episode of "The O.C." -- a show about unrealistically beautiful high school students living unrealistically predictable and convenient life stories -- was the lead-in for the new Fox show "Stars Without Makeup" -- a show "exposing" the unrealistic beauty portrayed in the entertainment industry -- I began to ponder the many ironies of our times, particularly those that have faced us as a community recently.
"Where are the college kids these days?" So asks Thomas Friedman in his most recent New York Times column entitled "No Mullah Left Behind" (Feb. 13). To answer your question, Mr. Friedman, we're here -- just chillaxin'.
Toward the end of fall term, I wrote a column entitled "DDS vs. Common Sense" (Nov. 23). My hope was to elicit some kind of response from somebody who would tell me whether or not my assertions about what I thought to be absurd food prices were warranted. While I didn't take any action beyond having the column published, I still thought at least one person who could tell me I was wrong would read it and let me know. That didn't quite happen.
It has been nearly a month since tragedy suddenly swept through Southeast Asia, and the globe is still ardently collecting emergency relief funding and supplies for the victims. Even at a small college tucked away in Hanover, New Hampshire, there have been events every day to raise money and awareness. I've received dozens of blitzes telling me how to help. The response by everyone has been tremendous in the wake of this rare, horrific tragedy.