BACK TO SCHOOL SPECIAL!
FAR BEHIND (LIVE) [VIDEO]
(Time Bomb, 2007)
@ The 2007 KROQ Weenie Roast,
A Southern California Tradition
Mike Ness is the only punk legend I've ever met who's left me completely speechless. Seriously. Like a giddy schoolgirl. Very embarrassing.
But I quite literally lived off of the Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell and Prison Bound albums when I was a dumb teenager myself. Who can blame me?
OXFORD, Ohio (ZP) -- The 18-year-old woman tried her best to stare me down, to win the contest of wills, to use every bit of the so-called sophistication she'd learned as, like, an All - Whatever cheer squad captain at Whogivesafuck Memorial High School.
With one hand wrapped around her bottle of cheap beer and the other hand on her hip, the teenager tried to convince me that I had no right to break up her group's impromptu parking lot beerfest, that it was none of my business, really, and that I needed to just chill out.
Her guy friends knew better. The older, supposedly more mature guys who'd been trying to get a group of four first-year female students intoxicated enough to just chill out bailed. They drove off the moment they saw me step out of the back door of my library, as soon as they heard my cowboy boots clacking against the pavement towards them.
Their taillights were just out of sight as I reached the remaining female members of the party. One girl tossed her beer bottle, sending glass everywhere, and two dropped them to their side, as if I were both stupid and blind.
All first-year students. Classes haven't even started yet, and already they're facing alcohol violations. One phone call, and they're telling their story to some seriously overworked, underpaid cops.
Seriously, I'm starting to think 18-year-olds are getting dumber with each passing generation. To be fair, I'm not talking about all 18-year-olds. I'm talking about some 18-year-olds. But those somes seem to be overtaking the rest.
Still, I'm starting to think wealthy, white and suburban really should be considered a form of cultural retardation.
* * * *It's 11 o'clock at night, a Friday. I just happened to swing by, to check on the overnight repair of an HVAC unit. I'd gone into my office, the last man standing in a four-story library, waited for an update from the powers that be on the Graveyard Shift (the repair had to be rescheduled, according to the technician, because of overtime restrictions).
I really just wanted to go out myself, have a few drinks with some friends, to have a good time before Uptown Oxford once again reverts into Club Booze-N-Fuck. And, well, it felt so wrong not to give out my only second chance of the year, for doing something fucking batshit outside of my library.
I gave the young women a lecture on responsibility and on how utterly stupid it is for young women, in this town, to sneak off to a dark corner of a parking lot with older guys they'd just met, older guys offering up lots of free beer. I also promised them that I wouldn't call the cops if they agreed to sweep up the broken glass.
If the cops came by while they were cleaning, I'd explain that, yeah, they knew they were being stupid, and, yeah, these three young women in designer clothes were pushing brooms to make up for it.
Three of the women, the ones who'd tried to dispose of their illegal brewskis before I arrived, agreed to the deal instantly. Two of the women were on scholarships, and the other's parents were still in town.
But this one woman wasn't going anywhere, wouldn't budge. The Cheerleader.
The whole time I was talking, she held onto that beer for dear life, rolled her eyes, and smoked Parliament Ultra Lights. After I'd pitched what almost everyone seemed to think was a rather square deal, after her newfound dorm friends had agreed to manual labor in exchange for First-Year Freedom, the woman went ballistic.
Well, rah-rah. And all of that shit.
Obviously, I had no authority to make such a deal, she claimed. I was a stupid library employee who just wanted to ruin their last weekend of freedom before they became bona fide Local U. students.
And, she reminded me, her parents paid good money for her to go to school, paid my salary with their taxes, and she could get me fired if she wanted...
"Fired? I don't think you really understand how this whole "gettin' caught for underage drinking" thing works, chica."
* * * *
I ended the war of wills with one very manipulative, downright sinister outflanking maneuver.
"Either you all clean, or the deal's off, ladies. I'm trying to be reasonable. I hate to be a bitch, but I think you all had better chat before I lose my patience."
I walked back towards my library's loading dock, lit a cigarette, and pulled out my cell phone. I opened it up, dialed, put the Speakerphone volume up as loud as it could go, hit the Send button.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
Ms. Pom-Pom yelled for me to hang up. She emptied her bottle and tossed it softly into the grass nearby.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
The woman kept yelling. All four women started picking up the broken glass.
* * * *
"Hi sexy! Where ya at?"
"Oxford. Got stuck at the office."
"Bullshit. I figured you weren't coming down to Newport. Is she hot?"
"Um, no. Hey. Did you ever drink in the _____ Lot when you were a student here? I just ran into - "
"Who the fuck would be stupid enough to drink in that parking lot? God, that's like asking to get raped."
I finished the call, looked over at the young women. They'd all stopped to listen. The voice on the other end, of course, wasn't the local police dispatcher. And a female friend, a Local U. alum, delivered the goods without even knowing she was doing it.
In information science, this may best be described as the strategic deployment of outside, indirect disinformation into an information ecosystem. Or, to put it another way, I'm smarter than a first-year college student.
The deck was stacked from the moment I made the offer. One choice, however, offered the opportunity for all players to walk away from the table, unharmed.
I just made sure the choice I preferred was the only one left for anyone to logically choose.
* * * *
I went to my truck, pulled a broom and dustpan from the bed, and gave it to one of the women.
I don't think I've ever seen that parking lot so glass-free before. They picked it clean. And no cops rolled by, so there was no need to have to defend my less-the-traditional response to the problem of underage binge drinking.
Not one of them complained after that.
I guess cleaning up a little bit of broken glass may be humbling, but it can, hopefully, be a good introduction into the world of the Higher Education Underground.
* * * *
I'm hoping the women figured out that, given the noise from the frat parties across the street, the fact that no cruisers rolled by the lot for an hour, and the dark, hidden corner their older guy friends had chosen, any one of them could've ended up, possibly, a victim of sexual assault.
Oxford Fucking Ohio doesn't need anymore sexual assault victims. It doesn't need older undergraduate guys, legally able to purchase alcohol, buying 18-year-old women booze in some dark corner in an attempt to get laid, by either force or drunken coercion. We don't need any more pointless stupidity, or women who binge-drink to the point that they piss themselves, or young men who place their cocks before their honor.
Maybe those guys were just trying to find a nice, quiet place to talk and have a few beers, with some very nice young women, where no one could distract them. And maybe it was unfair, downright cruel, of me to make a group of women clean up broken beer bottles.
And maybe I'm really Coco the Waltzing Chimpanzee, too.
Trust me. I've worked around college students long enough to realize that, well, if a dude takes off running at the sight of someone who even resembles an authority figure, it usually means something more than that. Guy friends don't drive off and leave four women, four women new to a strange, unsafe area, alone in a parking lot.
* * * *
So, welcome back, Local U. folks. Welcome back, and be fucking safe for me, will ya? I know you're gonna drink, get blasted every once and a while, even hook up with people I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. You're gonna make stupid choices, fall asleep in classes, maybe even flunk out or fall in love.
But, well, be safe. And be good to one another.
Surviving the undergraduate experience means just that.
And, well, drink your drugs, don't do milk, and...
That doesn't sound right, does it?
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