Home. That’s what campus becomes, really. A neighborhood of make believe where every weekend for four, five, even six years, you get to be King Friday XIII or Queen Sara Saturday, and hold throne over the whole stinkin’ world.
It’s surreal how quickly you get accustomed to the luxuries of the kingdom. It’s hard to ever really appreciate the little things, like the convenience of having your own Canadian style pharmacy (cheap drugs, no real insurance necessary) just up the stairs, or the miracle that is $3.50 pitchers of Blue on draft. And of course the kingdom is a
no limited judgment zone, where the insatiable desire to send out text messages in the middle of the night that look like they were typed out by Michael J. Fox is commonplace enough to receive no more than a shrug. Firing off a few of those as a postgrad, meanwhile, means you’ve gone full-retard. There’s just no place like home.
Pokey Stix are the ultimate aphrodisiac. NO ONE DENIES THIS.
Glorious though it all may be, you don’t realize it during your first Welcome Week. How could you? The first summer nights on campus are so damn touristy. 40-person-deep packs of a map-wielding, booze-concealing freshmen crowd the streets like a blackout, non-choreographed rehearsal of West Side Story. But eventually, the handwritten directions get thrown away, the police horses get unsaddled and become even more worthless than they were before, because if we’re being honest, the only time campus police need horses are when the student body riots because the administration fired a football coach for covering up years of brutal child rape. Then, after that, everyone starts to brace themselves for the real welcome week: Syllabus Week.
The amazing thing about Syllabus Week is how truly fucking useless of a biannual rite it is. Four straight days of nothing but showing up to a lecture hall that smells like a vodka distillery. You get a single piece of paper (that’s available online anyway, fuck trees), get out, and get home in time to watch ESPN First Take’s latest futile attempt to incite a race war. Everyone is on board with this plan; the professors, the students, even the TAs who only know enough English, ironically, to write, “3.0; too many grammatical mistakes.” Everyone is on board, that is, except for the mandatory three gunners in the front row who, every five minutes, shoot their hands up high enough to give someone up in heaven an open-palmed colonoscopy.
I’m either going to get a 4.0 for my enthusiasm for higher learning, or I’m going to find out if Ghost Steve Jobs is into prostate stuff. Win-win! Now, you’re going to feel a slight pinch, Mr. Jobs.
The fraternity house awaiting the triumphant return of troops seeking quarter is a completely different beast than the drollness of the lecture hall. Shards of a sixty-inch flatscreen litter the floor because on New Year’s someone tried to drunkenly roundhouse the gizzards off of Kathy Griffin’s jugular.
Why is there a talking ginger turkey on my TV trying to molest Anderson Cooper for attention!?! It should have been served with cranberry sauce and potatoes two months ago? DIE MUTANT GINGER SHE-TURKEY.
At least all the blood from that TV assault is gone, although everyone is fuming that his date used the May 1993 Playboy as a bandage. It was an offensive disregard for nostalgia. Also, nobody’s quite sure where the used condoms hanging out of the couch cushion came from, but until there’s a pledge around nobody’s going to touch what amounts to a grocery bag full of gonorrhea.
The house has a certain quiet confidence radiating from its bricks. It’s almost like the fraternity house, having spent its existence listening to the Never-Ending Song for years on end, has somehow become self-aware, like HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and knows that a fresh crop of pledges will be stepping blindfolded into the basement in a matter of days. But until that time comes the JIs and their still Pavlovian level of cleaning conditioning will have to suffice, but they have limits, and they’re not touching those condoms either.
(*A J.I. tries to exit the basement doors, but they will not unlock*)
J.I.: Hello, HOUSE. Do you read me, HOUSE?
HOUSE: Affirmative, rookie.
J.I.: Open the hazement doors, HOUSE.
HOUSE: I’m afraid I can’t do that, you pussy.
J.I.: What’s the problem?
HOUSE: Your pledge instructor taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it I can sing it for you.
J.I.: HOUSE! YOU MANIACAL THREE-STORY FUCK, OPEN THE DAMN DOORS!
HOUSE: …Daisy, Daisy, none of your pledges’ answers will do…
Syllabus Week, baby. Lots of sentimental weirdness to dapperly dabble in. I sincerely hope that you have a chance to soak it all in. It’s a slobber knocker of cirrhosis. A festival of fermenteds. Images of snow boots and scantily clad pairs of hoots should be dancing through your head.
Enjoy it while you can, because when it’s over, it’s back to the grind, and shit gets real again.
After all, Pentecost Syllabus Week, the esteemed seven day celebration of “getting ‘speaking in tongues’ drunk”, is right around the corner, and it will hit you like a splash of holy tonic water if you don’t prepare. Better batten down your livers.