Thursday, December 18, 2008

Not-so-Great Balls of Fire

Anyone who knows me understands how appreciative I am of a good laugh. My experience in the field of higher education has been limited to that including residence life, primarily, which has served as a veritable wealth of situations warranting a good laugh at the expense of others. Living in a residence hall, at 27 years old, with 250 of my favorite 18 year olds… you know you’re gonna laugh. Or cry. Depending on what you consider “fun.”

In recent months, I’ve taken up some hours working in the office of student conduct, hearing student cases to determine individual responsibility and appropriate sanctions. Granted, the educational aspect and developmental opportunities are rewarding… but… I’m really in it for the stories. Students, in general, have magnificently concocted tales and excuses to justify behavioral infractions. So phenomenal are these stories, that I can’t help but share.

Let’s recap a few of this semester’s gems. Early in the academic year, I was scheduled to meet with a young male student who’d been found by the police to be trespassing in a construction area while illegally transporting alcohol as a minor. The police had chased him down (he ran… of course), and when they caught up to him, they confiscated a can of beer from his pocket. Rather than to summons this student to court, the police officers decided that it would be in the best educational interest of the student to be referred instead to our conduct office. You’d assume that by the time this had reached the office of student conduct, given the previous interaction with police, that the student in question would be somewhat humbled and indebted to the university for bypassing the state penal code… but no. The script went something like this:

Me: So, you’re here because of an incident from last weekend. Can you tell me your “side” of the story?

Student: Yeah. Well. I was kind of set up… I wasn’t doing anything wrong and I got in trouble.

Me: In this police report, it states that you were trespassing in a well-marked restricted area, in possession of alcohol as a minor, and that you ran from the police after they identified themselves.

Student: Yeah, but that’s the thing. Nobody asked why I was there, or why I had the beer, or why I ran away.

Me: Ok, why?

Student: So, I was supposed to meet some friends in between the two buildings. We didn’t know there was construction, and when I got there, I couldn’t see them. So, I thought maybe they hadn’t seen the hazard sign and had climbed over the fence to go in. See, I knew that was dangerous because it was marked “DANGER: DO NOT ENTER” and I didn’t want anyone to get hurt. So I went in the construction site, but just to look for my friends and tell them that they shouldn’t be in there. And then the cops came.

Me: And why did you run away from the police?

Student: Well, I didn’t know it was them.

Me: They didn’t identify themselves by stating (reading from report), “Stop. University Police. Stop.”?

Student: I think they did say that, but I couldn’t hear because I was covering my ears.

Me: Covering your ears?

Student: I was cold.

Me: Ok, so when the police finally caught up to you, they found a beer in your pocket. Can you tell me about that?

Student: Sure. The reason I had the beer in my pocket was because on my way down to the construction site –

Me: (interrupting) To make sure that your friends were alright in the event that they hadn’t seen the big red DANGER sign…

Student: -- yeah – so on my way down I saw a beer can on the ground. And it was full.

Me: So you picked up some trash you found and put it in your pocket?

Student: Yup. Because I figured I could just recycle it when I got back to my dorm. In the recycling room… Because we’re a green campus… and we recycle.

Me: Good. Good. You’re right, we do like the recycling. So, let me get this all right… While going to meet your friends, you encountered some litter on the ground, and decided to pick it up – for the general good of the campus – and then when you got to where you were to meet your friends, you noted imminent danger and, while trying to locate and warn your friends of said danger were attacked by the police, who you hadn’t noticed chasing and yelling at you because you were cold and covering your ears? Is that right?

Student: Yes. And I also want to say that it wasn’t the policeman’s fault that he had to chase me. I wasn’t dressed appropriately and I was running to stay warm.

Me: Duly noted…

So, there’s a fantastic example of a student interaction during a conduct meeting. Usually the excuses involve some sort of alcohol case… “No, I wasn’t drinking… people were drinking around me and they probably breathed a lot on me,” “Wait, even on campus you can’t drink until you’re 21?” or “I didn’t know it had alcohol in it.” Right.

Very recently, however, I encountered the excuse of all excuses: The Holy Grail of student conduct meetings. I was privy to the self-incriminating “I’m a dumbass and I don’t even know it” excuse.

To set up the story, a colleague and I were to hear a case involving five students suspected to have been smoking marijuana in a residence hall. The RA had smelled what she believed to be marijuana, and had called the police. As the police arrived, they similarly smelled something “burnt,” however also noted that the odor had been covered partially by a spray fragrance of some sort.

The students, during our hearing, were relatively compliant. However, when it was mentioned that the police reported that the odor of marijuana had been covered up with some nature of spray, one of the students decided to take the initiative to explain what exactly had been going on.

He explained that, no, there was no marijuana being smoked in or around the residence hall, so that’s not what they were smelling. And no, of course they didn’t try to cover the smell of weed with perfume. “Actually,” he stated, “ It was AXE deodorant spray, and I wasn’t using it to cover the smell of weed. I spray it on my testicles and then light it on fire to remove pubic hair. I do this all the time. It works.”

Now. As a woman, I frequently have a hard time understanding the general “why” behind most male actions. This particular situation was no exception. I was really struggling at this point. Trying to remain professional (and to appear somewhat developmental and “disappointed” in nature) involved me looking directly at the table. At this point, I couldn’t even look at this fool. Eyebrow positioning wasn’t even an option, because eye contact would likely result in hysterical laughter and/or some sort of physical “wrap upside the head.” Fortunately, my colleague, a very patient and professional man, interjected with “If you want to keep those things, you know, you can’t set them on fire.”

Originally, we had brought charges against the students only alleging potential alcohol and marijuana use. What to do now? Should we tag on an additional charge involving “fire safety,” “self-endangerment,” or “behavior which poses a significant risk to the self or others?” The allegation letter would read something like,

Dear So-and-So,

It is alleged that on a certain date, at a certain time, you were found by residence life professionals and paraprofessionals to have ignited your testicles for purposes of hair removal, you dumb fuck. If found responsible, the maximum sanction is suspension from the university, and possible suspension from independent living, if I have anything to say about it.
You are scheduled to have a meeting with conduct officers on a certain date and time, at which point, we will subtly mock you until you leave the room, when we will really let loose. Failure to participate in this meeting could result in a finding of responsibility in your absence, which I might recommend so that you don’t actually or formally have to admit to being so colossally challenged by the nuances of day-to-day life. Please do not hesitate to contact this office in the event of questions of concerns, as I’m sure you’ll have a hard time digesting this information because it’s not etched in pictograms on the inside of your cave.

Sincerely, I’m making fun of you right now,

Why (oh, why) can’t there be a charge of blatant and inexcusable stupidity?

Thursday, December 11, 2008


So, as some of you might recall, in February 2007, I donated 60% of my liver to my father in a successful effort to delay the effects of liver cancer (February 28th, to be exact... henceforth refered to as my "liverversary." I'll begin accepting commemorative gifts at the end of January, to give you all a good jumpstart on shopping). I gave him the right lobe of my liver (who needs that anyway?), and kept the left one for myself. Magically, the liver lobes grew in both of us to full size within weeks! I regrew a shiny new liver to punish all over again, and Dad came out of surgery with a rocket-charged right lobe to call his own. Currently, Dad and I are both doing well, for those concerned, and looking forward to our 2 year mark coming up.

Anyway, a good friend of mine, Kenleigh, was extremely supportive throughout the entire ordeal. She took my numerous morphine-induced phone calls from the hospital, drove me and my dad to Massachusetts for a follow up exam, and listened to me routinely bitch about the giant divet in my stomach. Also extremely notable, Kenleigh ran the Boston Marathon to raise money for the American Liver Foundation in my father's name that year, despite a veritable monsoon and 70mph headwinds.

Yet again, Kenleigh has decided to run the Boston Marathon to raise money for the Liver Foundation's "Run for Research" team this coming April. Perhaps she's the most dedicated friend anyone's ever had... perhaps she's so intensely driven to fund liver research that she can't help but run 26.2 miles to save lives like my dad's... or perhaps she's toggling between sheer determination to complete one of the most difficult tasks known to mankind and some sort of masochistic infatuation with intense muscle spasms. In any case - she's my pal and she needs help. In order to run for the team, she needs to raise over $4000 in donations ASAP! If you are willing and able (with the understanding that times are tough and there's no Bailout Bill for the layperson), you can donate to her fund here, on a secure-fancy-american-liver-foundation-certified webpage. Your name will appear on her little "honor roll" scrolly thing, if you so choose to identify yourself, or you can remain anonymous. I know that every small donation will help her reach her goal, and assist her in the exquisite self-punishment she can look forward to in the months to come.

When we get closer, I'll post the link for "runner-stalking," as I like to call it, where you can track the times/locations of registered Boston Marathon runners throughout the race. Then I'll give you Kenleigh's cellphone number so you can text her while she's running (yes, this fashionista runs with a sleek fanny pack to house her cellphone and gummy bear stash) and tell her to "run faster" like I do.

Have a fantastic evening!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

All I want for Christmas

Seems like the holiday bug is going around! In the spirit of pure, unadulterated, commercialized, Christmas fun, I've decided to create a wish list of my own...

#1: The Stadium Gal

Sister product to the "Stadium Pal," this magical creation is a discreet external catheter for use by women only. Useful during sports events, long drives, work hours, etc., this product is perfect for all of us who can't be bothered to search out a bathroom. After affixing the catheter, urine flows through a tube, down to the "freedom leg bag," which is cleverly and effectively concealed under any loose-fitting pant. This product begs the question, "bet you can't guess what I'm doing right now."

In line with the Stadium Gal, I propose an addition to my wish list to take care of all excrement not appropriate to the "freedom leg bag." The Bumper Dumper is just that- a complete throne attachable to any modern trailer hitch. Why bother hitting up the nearest pit stop when you can have it follow you wherever you go? Might draw some odd looks from passers-by, but when they get the urge and struggle to find an appropriate stop, and you're happily set up on the side of the road, taking care of business, who'll be laughing then?

#3: A DIY Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Kit (3 included) So everyone's looking to shed a few pounds. You fools out there with the Weight Watchers points and all have the wrong idea. This little dandy provides the effectiveness of gastric bypass surgery without the hassle of hospital procedures and those pesky surgical processes. And you can do it three times.

#4: Fetus Cookie Cutter

Following my DIY gastric bypass, I'll need to make everything I eat count. No longer will the common cookie suffice. If I eat a cookie, I want it to be a fetus cookie. Look how cute that chocolate chip eye is!

For when the students decide to fight back.

#6: Jesus Action Figure

Wind Him up and watch Him go! What a buzzkill this little guy'd be at GI Joe parties... Wind-up Jesus ALWAYS wins.

100% all natural, this product features 32oz of pure wolf urine in a handy, easy-to-pour container. I don't know who wouldn't put this on their wish list.
#8: Cold War Unicorns

Act out for yourself the battle between Communism and Capitalism amidst the majestic pitter-patter of unicorn hooves.

This is an interesting one: A dissolvable, flavored bullet, designed to season your meat before it's even hit the ground. Wow.

A giant, stuffed, chlamydia microbe? Yes please. Also comes in Ebola, Herpes, Flu, HIV, The Plague, Mono, The Clap, and E. Coli. Nothing says "holiday cheer" like waking up with a cute, fuzzy little chlamydia pal in bed next to you.

#11: Butt-out

Featured by Cabela's as a "must have" for the holidays, Butt-out is the most efficient anus-removal tool on the market. Fits in your pocket for quick access in those emergency anus-removal situations. Puts a new (and surprisingly professional) spin on "ripping someone a new one," eh?

So, there you go. Ready. Set. SHOP!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Soap and the Gender Gap

Has anyone seen the commercials for the enticing new scent from Old Spice? While Old Spice has, for years, dazzled the senses with a number of versions of the traditional old-man-smell, they now seem to market towards a younger, more aggressively manly population. The new scent is called "Swagger," and its commercial depicts (I believe) a lame kid at a medieval fair/role playing type of activity in the woods being bullied, and then fast-forwards to his older, cooler, more athletic adult-self, wearing - you guessed it - Swagger. Clearly, Swagger will catapult you into manhood.

I was thinking about it in the grocery store the other day. What does Swagger mean to me? When I think about the word "swagger," I think of cowboys or pirates or pimps... or some other type with an occupational limp. Neither the scent of cowboy, pirate nor pimp really drives me into any sort of lust-frenzy. Actually, the thought of their respective stanks is pretty horrifying. Then, in the soap/deodorant aisle of Hannaford, I had another thought - I'm thinking about this all wrong! I've got to think like a man, not a me. Thus prompted a whole lot of unnecessary perusal of hygienic supplies...

No commercially constructed man wants to shower themselves in a scent marked "baby powder," "rain shower," "cashmere silk," "lavender/vanilla bean," or any other traditionally girly-sounding fragrance. To them, swagger is not the pungent and pasty odor of balls-sweat. No, no. It's the scent of manliness and sexual attraction. Looking at some of the other deodorant scents only confirmed this: Morning After (gross), Turbo Clean (wishful thinking), Musk (more balls-sweat), Marine (either rotting ocean-smell or sweaty military - you pick), and Dark Temptation (this last one holds a special place in my humor as the commercial associated with it depicts the stereotypical female attraction to chocolate. The deodorant actually smells like chocolate, and is intended to trigger the same female attraction to your... armpit. Right. We women are definitely that easily tricked), Hummer (actually by the makers of Hummer. Should smell something like the holes in the ozone getting wider and wider mixed with a dash of ego and a hint of over-compensation). The men buying these products are really trying to outfit their pits to charm us wiley women...

After deodorants, I got to the body wash section. Jon says men don't use body wash, they use bar soap, because body wash and shower loofas are for "girls." Well, the makers of AXE have solved that little dilemma with a loofa cleverly disguised and advertised as a "Detailer." It's black, brown or navy, has a "no-slip-grip" feature and promises to detail your chiseled corners like you're a mint-condition-69-Mustang. Pair it with some "dual charged" man-soap concoction and you've got a pheromone bath sure to lure in the lustiest of ladies. And no one will ever know you spent 45 minutes exfoliating, moisturizing, and cleansing with a souped-up shower poof.

In conclusion, I'd like to offer up my own suggestions for advertise-able man-scents:

Territory (as in, I'd like to mark you as my...)
Lumberjack Spice
Virility (see earlier post to know why that's a good one)
Primal (probably what they smell like sans product at all)
Rustic Musk
Swamp Ass
"Pussy" (Jon's suggestion, along with "Boobs," "Beer," and "Huntin'." Thanks, buddy.)

Please feel free to add to the list.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Greetings from the Northcountry! In the land of 6-month winters, ski havens, L.L. Bean, and freakishly affordable lobster, we Mainers now have a new distinguishing characteristic - Nude bowling!

Big-ball bowling? Lame. Little-ball bowling? For amatures. Free-ball bowling? Now that's something worth investigating...

It seems as though an Old Town bowling establishment has taken it upon themselves to market and facilitate a "nude bowling" night. I'm not entirely sure how the Department of Health and Human Services hasn't burnt this arena to the ground by now, but a colleague tells me that nude bowling night at the local candlepin alley remains a popular night out for locals seeking to shed the constraints of socially acceptable garb and simply wing it. So to speak.

I'm not terribly conservative, nor do I tend to pass judgment on lifestyles different than my own. However, in thinking about the concepts of Old Town, nudity, and bowling as interrelated, I have a few questions and comments that need addressing prior to my taking part in any of this.

For starters, let's discuss the region. Old Town. Home to the Old Town Canoe factory, the abandoned paper mill, and about 8,000 true Mainers. Although I'm a fan of Maine and its respective citizens through and through, I'm also keenly aware of the nature of said inhabitants.

Nothing is glamorous here, nor should it be. Until last year when the mill shut down, any shift in the weather involving a wind change churned up a stench from the paper mill likened by many to the smell of rotting broccoli. We'd refer to it as a "bad mill day" and go about our business, taking special care to spend as little time out of doors as humanly possible. Dressing up in Maine involves a pair of jeans, some type of insulated boot (the incorporation of Uggs into general fashion was a lifesaver for Mainers, who could now blend acceptable fashion with functionality), and the nicest fleece you have in your closet (dress fleece). Not a whole lot of time spent on glitz and glamour when a significant portion of "going out" involves frantically avoiding frostbite. So, to imagine what true Mainers look like under their clothes, one might only have to imagine what a Viking might look like naked. Big. Pale. Furry.

Then, I'd like to address the act of bowling. There seems to be an awful lot of jostling, running, heaving, squatting and jumping involved with this sport - so much, in fact, that I wonder if anyone (clothed or not) can possibly use bowling prowess as a positive physical attribute. Picture how you look when you bowl - do you incorporate a fancy wind-up? Do you take big lunging steps or hop along in short quick steps? Do you bend over and hurl the ball between your legs? Do you hold a certain pose as you watch your ball collide with the pins? Have you developed any sort of winning-dance? Have you ever fallen? These things may not be so important when clothed, but I feel like the physical act of bowling, in the nude, might not be so cute. Especially when you add Vikings to the vision.

Finally, I'd like to reference the big question that came out of the office upon learning about this sport-horror taking place so close to home. Todd asked, "Do you have to wear bowling shoes?"

From what I understand, you have to participate FULLY in order to attend nude bowling night in Old Town. Lord knows what it would look like if they opened the doors to participants and spectators... Since I have no plans to bowl naked in the near future, I'll apologize now for the abrupt end to this investigation. However, should a colleague decide to grin and [bare] it, I'll let you know more details.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Eyebrows UP!

My prospectus for law is a done prospectus for law, as of about 40 minutes ago. Since I have nothing law-ish to do, and I'm nursing a two-day blog addiction, let me go ahead and relay to you an important theory I have in regards to non-verbal communication. I call it "Andi's Theory of Facial Sincerity."

Long ago, and far away... namely two years ago in Oneonta, NY, my supervisor was giving me information completely impertinent to whatever I was doing at the time. In an effort to be honest, following his monologue I told him, "See how I put my eyebrows up to make it look like I was interested?" Thus was born the "eyebrows up" initiative, and my aforementioned theory.

Your eyes may be the windows to your soul, but the eyebrows are the respective window treatment that indicates to all with whom you communicate whether or not your soul is opened or closed to information. Both eyebrows down indicate anger, stress, confusion, frustration, and judgment; nothing you necessarily want outsiders to know you're thinking. The one-eyebrow-up-one-eybrow-down is a popular tactic, but socially equates to skepticism and/or criticism, and we all know to keep those sentiments inside the old windows.

"Eyebrows up," however, is a fantastic way to both harbor all negative emotions and exude all positive and socially acceptable emotions simultaneously - kind of like the facial equivalent of Multiple-Personality Disorder, only without the medication. An appropriately doled out "eyebrows up" can be a seemingly genuine indication of interest, excitement, happiness, optimism, understanding, consolation, compassion, empathy, sincerity, playing-dumb, surprise, disbelief, shock, contentedness and a vast array of other pleasantries. The eyebrows up maneuver can be used in a variety of circumstances to give the user any variety of desired outcomes; from the excitement of an American Idol-winner, to the innocence of a Amish schoolgirl, to the pleasant sincerity in demeanor of a Precious Moments Doll - all while masking whatever real thoughts are bouncing around inside of you. Let me show you...

Scenario 1: "Excitement," "Interest," "Sincerity"

A student comes to your office at 4:55pm on a Friday afternoon. Reluctantly, you invite him in to sit down. He begins to tell you, in galactically boring detail, the ins-and-outs of his recent Animal Anatomy & Physiology lab test. At this point, you can tell that Friday's Happy Hour is but a distant memory as you sit and silently absorb the student's verbal attack.

Inside, your attention level hovers around absolutely none, but in the interest of retaining your job and avoiding the inevitable bruised ego of a student brushed off, you have a choice to make: Where should your eyebrows go?

Option A: Eyebrows Down

In allowing both your eyebrows to fall below the level of normalcy, you are relaying to the student complete disinterest and aggressive frustration with his conversation, which could very well beat his inner-self down to the point where you would then have to initiate a follow-up conversation and/or apology. Or, your facial indication of confusion could translate to the student as a request for more information, as if his lengthy description is falling short of understood. In an effort to reduce unnecessary communication as much as possible, you should avoid this eyebrow placement at all costs.

Option B: One-eyebrow-up, One-eyebrow-down

Displaying the combination eyebrow approach is always likely to be read as critical or blatant skepticism. In this particular case, these sentiments on your part are to be avoided, as they could lead to both the abovementioned bruised ego and/or the student recognizing an unwelcome need to delve further into the subject. This would, in effect, be bad news.

Option C: Eyebrows up!

Here, eyebrows up is the facial demonstration of choice. Eyebrows up says, "Gee, tell me more about the mating habits of indigenous Canadian badgers - I can't believe I've gone so long in ignorance!" Inside, you hear the screeching of fingernails on the proverbial chalkboard, but outside, you are a vision of excitement, interest and sincerity. Granted, you may have to speed on your way to the bar to meet the people you actually like, but you've saved yourself a heap of unnecessary work. To appear sincere while listening for five minutes mitigates the ushering out of the student when his relative time is up. Should you do this effectively, eyebrows up, the removal of the student from your office will appear as though you are so vastly interested in his topic of conversation that you will wait with bated breath until the next time you meet and can speak more. And then avoid such meetings at all costs.

Scenario 2: "Innocence," "Sincerity," "Playing Dumb"

While rushing to meet your friends at the previously mentioned bar, you are pulled over by a police officer for speeding. He comes to your window and asks to see your license and registration. While you fish around in your garbled glove compartment, the officer asks you if you know why he pulled you over.

Option A: Eyebrows down

Although this may seem a viable option for this situation, I might suggest otherwise. To furrow your brow here may indicate that you are angry and/or frustrated, which (depending on a number of factors) could sum up to aggression in the eyes of the officer. Since I personally view arrest and the subsequent legal action as undesirable, I recommend a very strategically placed eyebrow combination, and this one ain't it.

Option B: One-eyebrow-up, One-eyebrow-down

This expression is very likely to get you into trouble, as no man (and I'm not assuming all police officers are men... just this one for the purpose of the exercise) like to be criticized, especially one in uniform. Here, your eyebrows are saying, "Do YOU know why I was speeding? And why are you asking? Isn't this YOUR job?" If you fancy yourself a gambler, the up/down eyebrow combo is the way to go, however, avoidance of this tactic is also recommended for those of us looking to retain a clean record.

Option C: Eyebrows up!

Now, I've used this one before, so I know it works. Although playing to the stereotypical stupidity of female drivers, I exchanged a continuance of gender-oppression for a pricey ticket. Sorry ladies. Eyebrows up here says, "I'm so sorry, officer, I had no idea what the speed limit was!" and "I never get into trouble!" Properly used, one can utilize the eyebrows here to initiate an air of complete and utter naivite with the rules of the road. Regardless of how simple driving is. In my own personal success story, I was given a verbal warning and intricate instructions from the officer including, "The white signs with the black letters are the speed limit signs." Right, thanks pops.

So, in summary, I encourage the use of eyebrows up in nearly all situations where sincerity and genuine interest will get you somewhere. Even on the telephone, eyebrows up is a magical trick, as the person on the other end of the line can read the [imposed] sincerity in your voice as you concentrate on not scoffing at their shameful ignorance. As a general caution, however, I warn you to practice appropriate eyebrow placement prior to public usage. Use a mirror, and evaluate your eyebrows in response to various situations. Try not to appear too interested, and tame your brows to a level below that of psychosis or cosmetic surgery. A few minutes in the morning, a few in the evening, and you'll have a repetoire of eyebrow expressions fit for a social butterfly! Think of it as putting a set of stunning curtains on your barn-windows... to the outsider, it's a finished palace... but we all know that on the inside, it's full of shit.

A Viral Young Man

Last night Jon and I mutually took a night off from studying and spent some quality time doing nothing. At one point during our conversation, Jon was bouncing around, doing little push-up maneuvers and other strange boy-things when he declared, "Don't you feel lucky to have such a viral young man in your life?"

Now, I'm not one to criticize or mock someone else in the event of a misspoken word... wait, yes I am. So the rest of the conversation looked something like this:

Me: (laughing) Just how viral are we talking?
Jon: Viral, like "masculine" or something. You know.
Me: Viral, like, I should mention this to the doctor the next time I'm in? (still laughing)
Jon: (stares quietly at me for a second) V-I-R-A-L. Viral. That's how you say it.
Me: I think you might mean virile.
Jon: Virile?
Me: I certainly hope so...

This is not to say that I haven't experienced my own bouts of stupidity in the relationship. A short time after we started seeing each other, we slap bet on the location of Minnesota. Jon explained that Minnesota is near Canada, and I assured him that, no, no, Minnesota is closer to the "Mid" of "Midwest," and further south than that. Look at a map of the US and you can figure out how this little game ended...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spare a flush

So, I was just over in Shibles where I encountered a really disturbing proposition: A sticker in the bathroom stall reading "Save a Fish, Spare a Flush."

Right, so I'm all over UMaine's green campus initiative and all, but I have to say there should be certain limits to appropriate conservation. For one, this sticker was in a PUBLIC BATHROOM. Public as in - I don't know whose pee that is. Or worse, I don't know whose ANYTHING that is, and I'm not about to plunk myself down intimately inches away from it. Plus, everyone has experienced an inconvenient "splash" or two in their life (you know exactly what I'm saying), and the idea that some stranger's bathroom production would be involved in that special splash is repulsive.

In a men's bathroom - sure. Most of the men I know wouldn't hesitate for one second to pee all over someone else's bowl-business. I think it's in their nature - like marking territory or something. However, we women are refused the luxury of remaining feet away from the problem, as we sit/hover/cower/whatever within dangerously proximate range.

And let's think of the dominant population here... college students. Anyone who's ever lived-in knows for sure that this particular group isn't markedly tidy. We spend an unfortunate amount of time teaching these fools to flush the toilet in general in the residence halls (where one significant bathroom "episode" can significantly deteriorate the quality of life for everyone on a floor), only to be met with such opposition from the academic buildings' strange affinity for fish-saving. I think we can bank on the fact that few of them know how to flush anyway, so plenty of fish are living it up in their wake. To deter the avid flushers from doing their learned civic duty is just ridiculous.

I think the "If it's yellow" doctrine is applicable to home bases only, and we might need to rethink the level of excitement over conservation on campus. My apologies to the fish.

Stand back

So, my efforts to avoid a law prospectus have reached a critical point, where now I'm actually creating new ways to procrastinate. No longer are the old habits of random cleaning, napping, visiting and shopping appropriate, as I've entered a whole new galaxy of avoidance. There's no looking back now.

This weekend, I conceded to watching a scary movie with Jon. I don't watch scary movies based on the personal theory that as a rule, I try to avoid terror on a daily basis. I don't jump out into traffic for the adrenaline rush following survival, and I don't eat raw poultry to gamble with Salmonella. Scary movies seem similarly asinine to me. But, because every once in awhile I can let someone else have their way, I sat there and watched "The Strangers" from start to finish.

To date, I don't know if I've ever been more horrified. To summarize (stop if you haven't seen it and feel the overwhelming desire to crap your pants on the couch), a couple finds themselves in the woods, in a cabin, following a botched proposal on the part of the male character. As they awkwardly skitter around each other, a knock comes at the door. They answer, and some sketchball girl is vacantly staring at them, asking if "Tamra" is home. No Tamra in the house, so they send her away. The awkwardness continues, until the female character starts whining about how she wants cigarettes. It's 4am. In the woods. Any committed smoker would have planned for such an occasion and secured a backup supply, but no, no, not her. So the guy leaves to get her cigarettes. While she's in the cabin alone, that circus freak girl comes back and asks for her imaginary friend Tamra again. The female character sends her off again, and the creepiness continues to unfold as it becomes glaringly apparent that the weirdo on the porch is psychotic. So things go on and the guy comes back to find his terrified gf in the bedroom. The girl from the porch comes back with her freakish friends, only this time they have doll masks and weapons. Yadda yadda yadda, the mask people terrorize the two dummies that stayed in the house and in the end, they strap them to chairs and stab them. The end.

Notably, I screamed like a schoolgirl twice, prompting Jon to cover my mouth because he insisted that the police would come. I would have welcomed the interruption. And I cried. Three times, including a weeping session at the end of the movie because it was so wretchedly awful that my emotional response was limited to that of a startled puppy.

There you go. My first blog post. Copyright Andi McLame, 2008.