Sunday, August 28, 2005

Every Minute Counts. A Series.

Many people may think that being a Senator is easy. That they just spontaneously appear at the beginning of school with a clipboard in one hand, T-shirts in the other, and the Magical Senatorial Scepter of Power in still another. (All Senators get a third arm. It’s quite a nifty perk. A baseball pitcher could pitch and scratch at the same time.)

Well, for many Senators, it is that easy. They shuffle in, throw a few value village T-shirts on a card table, scratch out a bathroom newsletter with a broken green crayon on a sticky note, and call it a year.

But not me. No, I have to make things extraordinarily difficult for myself, with no foreseeable long term benefit for anyone. It’s that pesky Protestant Work Ethic. It’s why Alfred Kaerche built Mt. Rushmore when he supposed to be on vacation.

“Relax,” Alfred’s wife said.


“We’re out in the mountains, honey. Of South Dakota. There’s no tasks to accomplish, nothing you can do besides sitting here, on this nice white, granite, surface.”

“Or is there? Wife, I’m going to dig a trench! In case it rains.”

“Okay. Just don’t get carried away.”

I thought I’d give you an idea, of what I’m doing, a week before school starts, to get ready for this coming year I give you this minute by minute account. Be warned, my memories not so good. It may have some inaccuracies.


12:30: Having satiated myself with the an apricot peanut butter sandwich, the last remnants of not-SAGA food I may taste in months, I set out for college. The calls of goodbye from my parents almost obscure the sound of the sledgehammer tearing apart my room to make for the Jacuzzi.

12:55: I gaze once again upon the beautiful campus of Whitworth and reminded of the truth of Whitworth’s noble motto: Servo off Gramen. Latin, for “Keep off the Grass”

1:00: I arrive at the HUB right on time and pick up my room key. Nostalgically, I think of my previous room key, who seemed nice at first, but run off, leaving me with a broken heart and a fifty dollar fine. Oh, how I miss you, Room Key. Oh, how I miss you fifty dollars.

1:30: I shove the key into the lock of my new room, aptly named room 339. I dramatically turn the key and find… the key doesn’t work. Ha! They got me!

1:45: I return, this time with the correct key. I open the door of room 339 and take a look around. It seems a bit Spartan, though the color scheme is consistent. The white walls match the white floors and the white sheets. Though I found the straitjacket a bit restricting.

3:00: I begin decorating, aiming to borrow from both late Etruscan period and the Byzantine designs, with both hints of Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry. Maybe some posters, too.

3:15: Since Housing forbids use of nails, I am forced to hang my $3000 plasma flate screen T.V. using only spittle and stale chewing gum.

3:17: The Plasma screen TV comes crashing down, shattering, and getting plasma all over the floor. Plasma is a PAIN to clean out of the carpet.

3:18: Housing calls, to pleasantly remind me that chewing gum is prohibited under the new decorating rules as well. Fortunately, the twenty-five dollar fine is easily affordable.

5:00: Leadership BBQ. Enchiladas and corn are served, which while it tastes really good, looks kinda like… uh… well, it tastes really good.

6:00: The games begin! To hone our leadership skills, we play a game where you try to grab a finger- to train our enthusiasm. A game where we try to poke other people- to teach us persistence. And finally a game where we break up into teams to form a giant machine using people- to show us that while we may feign individuality, our idealism will fade until we realize that we are mere cogs in the soul-crushing  machine of bureaucracy, drones assigned to carry out a series of repetitious tasks. It was fun!

7:30: President Bill Robinson gives his address to the students. He focuses on the 6 dances of leadership: The tango, the twist, the electric slide, the Macarena, the freak dance, and that Russian Dance where you squat down, kick your legs and go “Hey! Hey! Hey!”  There are no scarier words in the English language than: You’re going to have to learn to do several dances.

8:00: The leadership of Warren meets together for a Team Building Exercise. In a blatant act of symbolism, we write all of our fears on two eggs (hardboiled for safety reasons).

I wanted to write “That one dream where everything seems all nice and peaceful and all of a sudden this huge wolf with six-inch razor sharp teeth comes bounding out of the forest and he turns to you with his gleaming canines and his red demon eyes and starts chasing you, but you try as you might you can’t seem to run, you seem to be trapped in Molasses and can only inch forward, achingly slowly, as the wolf pounces and sinks his teeth into your neck and then you wake up, dripping in sweat and breathing heavily,” but it wouldn’t fit on my egg.
Then you put all of your hopes on two strips of tape, which we would place on an aluminum baseball bat. For my hopes I wrote, “Not burning down the building in the first couple of weeks.” I find it’s best to start with dreams that may seem difficult, but are in the realm of possibility.

We would then attempt to hit the Egg of Fear wit h the Bat of Hope, a poignant and poetic metaphor that resonates with America’s soul. After all, what is scarier than an egg- a harbinger of cholesterol, a veritable hive of swirling salmonella? And what is more hopeful than a bat- the symbol of the American pastimes, proof that with big dreams, a little bit of work, and a whole lot of Creatine you can be anything you want to be? As long as that thing is a ill-tempered, greedy, brooding hulk-man. Of course, if you swung the Bat of Hope at the Egg of Fear, and missed, instead hitting the Umpire of Crushed Dreams, that means that in the coming year, you will never get over your fears, and your hopes will simply be wiffs in the air, marred with the stench of missed opportunity.

Guess what happened when I swung?