Tuesday, August 14, 2007

For those of you starting college...

Attending an institution of higher learning is a risky proposition in a post-9/11 world. So, kids, here are some tips I've prepared to guide you through the four-year-plus quagmire known as college. The hints below originally appeared in the Aug. 24, 2004 edition of my university paper, but its wisdom transcends the plethora of local references. Don't know what plethora means? Ask a professor. But not a pointy-eared liberal one! They'll steer you toward the path to iniquity, a word they'll also explain to you if you aren't careful.

Hello friends! In light of the times we live in, we all have to stay safe. Because let’s face it: something will happen to you this semester. It might be great and it might be terrible. It might happen in the Quad or in Griffin Hall. Or somewhere else. At any time of day or night. You could be in a bar, or perhaps in your car. It might happen at the Keg. Or on your leg. It might happen in a box. It might happen with a fox. It might happen in a chair. It might happen when no one’s there. So damn, Sam! Don’t eat the green eggs and ham!

How can I be so certain that something will happen to you? Because things like these have happened before. What should you do in anticipation of something happening? Well, don’t let it affect your activities in any way. Go on with your life! Just make sure to be fully alert at all times. And watch what you say.

Keeping in line with our government’s guidelines for fighting terrorism, I have prepared a primer for you on how to prevent things from happening:

1) Don’t give out any identifying information. This includes, but is not limited to, any handwritten documents such as schoolwork and personal checks, no matter how much instructors or clerks demand it of you. Even typed work, cash and debit cards will have traces of your DNA on them. Avoid doing any assignment of any kind or buying stuff, and by all means DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING!

2) Do not venture into uncertain territory. With such a multitude of prominent landmarks, Lafayette is rife with potential happenings. You’re better off in your designated living area, unless that happens to be in one of those prominent landmarks. Nightclubs are massive points for human convergence, as are local churches, Cajun Field, the Cajundome, Dupre Library, the Student Union, Bourgeois Hall, dorms and pedestrian crosswalks. Avoid all of these areas at all costs. And don’t even CONSIDER eating at a restaurant.

3) Don’t say or do anything even remotely controversial. Because of the diversity of this great nation, you are bound to affect someone; so it’s probably best that you stay in bed and never leave your room. But even that might annoy your roommate and anyone relying on you to perform some kind of job or go to class.

4) Avoid any and all personal contact. While college offers an incredible opportunity to meet people, it also provides for trouble. How do you know that the person to whom you’re talking isn’t a recruiter for a clandestine cult? If they’re upfront about it, avoid them. If they’re friendly, seem harmless and appear to belong to no organization of any kind, well, that’s even worse! This suspicion should extend beyond peers to include professors, UL staff, SGA, frat boys and the university police. Never trust or touch anyone.

5) DO NOT HAVE FUN! Fun leads to the kind of things that can distract one from watching for something happening. These distractions include: making friends, socializing, partying, meeting a new lover, “going out” on “the weekends,” games, sports, movies, music, hobbies, the Internet, working out and reading. Such frivolous pursuits only allow for something to happen to you that might change the course of your life.

If you follow all of these tips, I guarantee you that you will have a safe experience during your college career. You will also minimize your risk of ever being the unwitting subject of something happening. Unless you picked up this paper, in which case you’ve already screwed up. Sigh...

1 comment:

Huck said...

As a college professor, let me also say to young conservatives about to embark on the "liberal brainwashing" that is college. Take heart! Just think that if colleges and universities really were the big brother boogeyman indoctrination machines that Rush Limbaugh would have you believe, there would be much fewer conservatives with college degrees out there. The fact that many conservatives not only survive college, but also come through it perhaps with a more informed conservative conviction, is proof positive that college is good for both liberals and conservatives (and even independent and/or apolitical folk, too!) What is scary to folks like Rush Limbaugh is that college encourages critical thinking. Folk like Limbaugh are afraid that if you think you might become liberal. And they call it brainwashing if, in fact, this happens. Well, let me just tell you that critical thinking is not something to be afraid of. Sure, it may (and probably will) change your view the world; but how it does so is wide open and is ultimately up to you.