The Old College Try
So you don’t think I didn’t make a bit of an effort to at least try to give my college a fighting chance, I did find a few glints of hope in my experience. I attended the homecoming game one year and during the sing-along of the school song, many of us pop-cultured, college students were elated to find out our alma mater shared the same melody as the end-of-summer salute to Kellerman’s of Dirty Dancing fame. We all proudly sang along, just with the completely wrong lyrics. Speaking of music, I also enjoyed an autumn concert by the Louisville Symphony Orchestra, and not just because it was free. Another bonus of dorm life was when my roommate left after the first semester to transfer to another school, so I gained a room to myself because the school didn’t have anyone else to take the room.
The nearby Hardees would deliver for a minimum order, and when I was feeling wealthy, I would order the minimum worth of their chocolate chip cookies, because back then, they were fresh. I took a photography class that only met once a week and was cancelled three times during the semester, not counting Spring Break. I could have used more classes like that one, or the Home Economics design class that a fellow student recommended since the required materials included colored pencils and a ruler. I interviewed for a summer job out of state that absolutely changed the course of my life, so getting the news that I wasn’t going to spend my summer in the Midwest was a definite high point.
Stranger Than Fact
Hands down, my best memory from my first three semesters of college occurred on a particularly delightful Friday. I remember the day of the week because every Friday, at the biggest, busiest corner of campus between the bookstore and the student center, around mid-morning when the most students could be found crisscrossing the streets, a fire and brimstone preacher felt certain in his conviction that he could convert all of us heathen matriculaters. On an average day, he was being routinely ignored by the masses. On a good day, he was being challenged by a snarky heckler.
And then there was a great day. Standing on the raised grate giving him a concrete and metal soap box from which to remind us that we were all slated to burn for all eternity, he suddenly felt the fierce heat of competition on the opposite side of the street. This college town was not culinarily sublime, as the aforementioned cookie delivery reference should imply, yet one of the town’s finest eateries was well represented on this fine, spring morning. Even the weather inclined those of us passing from class to class to linger outdoors just for a few moments longer to relish in the dichotomy of our eternal salvation rapidly dwindling down the basement grate versus some poor, college kid who needed to cover the cost of life in Indiana by dressing up as a blueberry pancake from IHOP. He blew the preacher away without a single word. As Professor Jules Hilbert told Will Ferrell, “Harold, if you pause to think, you’d realize that that answer is inextricably contingent upon the type of life being led… and, of course, the quality of the pancakes.” The highlight of my campus experience weighed in favor of the pancake.