Saturday, August 18, 2007

Welcome to the Higher Education Underground, Kids.
It Cares Less about High School Cheerleading Stories Than I Do.


Social Distortion
Greatest Hits
(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.

the undergraduate experience means just that.

And, well, drink your drugs, don't do milk, and...


That doesn't sound right, does it?

- # # # -


Woeful said...

The sad fact is, these young women truly have no idea what a favor you did them. Maybe they will someday...

coyotemike said...

Don't do milk . . . after it's been in the sun for a week. That shit'll fuck you up sideways.

We haven't gotten the lower undergrads here yet. Move-in day isn't for a week. However, we have gotten the cream of the crop here for early move-in. The jocks, the greeks, and the off-campus folks have come to town. There was a highly noticible rise in the bar-noise-volume last night, including some jack-hole, cruising down the main drag, who waited until the local cruiser had gone past to yell out his window "I fuckin hate cops!" I don't know if he noticed that all the cops drive with their windows up for about 90% of the year, so they couldn't hear any of it.

I have this urge to scare the shit out of my first day freshmen. I will be the first college prof that about 50% or more in that class will ever meet, and I feel I need to make an impression. Would they freak out if a huge guy in a beard, black t-shirt, jeans, and biker boots was waiting for them at the front of the class, boots up on the desk and a book by Herman Hesse in his hand?

You probably saved more than one of those girls' lives. If you hadn't been there, they would be bruised, cut, bleeding, mentally shocked, and horribly scarred for life. They would be trying to decide if they should go to the hospital, to the police, or try to bury it in their minds. Their first week of school would be a nightmare they would never forget.

Of course, they will probably be drinking and fucking somewhere else by the end of next week.

xboxgirl said...

Can't help but wonder what the younger you would have done to the older you if the older you tried to get the younger you to stop being naughty, drinking beer and clean up broken glass....

Well, anyway, good thing you got those girls to tidy up around your library.

"And well, drink your drugs, don't do milk, and...Wait. That doesn't sound right, does it?" Actually that does sound about right, since I drink a lot of coffee and don't really drink milk.

Steph said...

In Australia the legal drinking age is 18, so basically we're doin that shit in parking lots when we're 15.

We're usually sobered up a little by 18. :P

Woeful said...

Oh, just because the drinking age is 21 in the US, don't let that fool you. Kids here are drinking too at 15 (and worse).

Smurf said...

lol... you sound like a bonified adult... lol... I am only laughing cuz I met you when we were 18 and first year students. I remember the weekend before classes started back then and a 4th year student pretended to think I was cute and invite me to a party for me to sign and pay for a magazine subscription for his trip he was going on. I never got that magazine. A lot of this sounds so familiar in a way and not in others... I think you know what I mean. I am proud of you for saying something. The comment about the adult thing is cuz we are almost 30 and still feel young, but just more experienced in this thing we call life. Well, I hope things are going well for you J.


Miz BoheMia said...

"And be good to one another" immediately made me think of "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventures"...

"Be excellent to each other, and party on dudes!"

Hah! Yeah, my guilty pleasure when I was younger and I would not say no to watching it now either!

God I was lucky to not have been interested in that shit when I was 18... nor later for that matter. It both hurts, as well as pisses me off, as a woman, and now mother, (and now that I am older... damn being older! ;-P ) to see how naive we can be, how insecure to the point that we allow such insecurities to take over to the point where we work against our better judgement and end up in dangerous situations... my better judgement was always bellowing LOUDLY in my head and when it wasn't I was utterly lucky to have been in fabulous company and protected... but I worry when I see the younger generation and hope to goodness that my daughter, and son, can see past the bullshit and be an exception to what seems to be the sad rule these days...

Good for you my friend... hopefully those idiots learned something! *sigh*

EsotericWombat said...

Drink your drugs, don't do milk, and look both ways before you cross the Zenfopro. Makes sense to me.

I'm assuming that if one can't drink them, you'd recommend eschewing them?

The ZenFo Pro said...

Not too worried about it, actually. Don't really know if I made a difference or not. They probably ended up, in all sadness, doing the same thing over again Saturday night.

Of course, they will probably be drinking and fucking somewhere else by the end of next week.

In all honesty, the Local U. has a reputation, statewide, for attracting students who really enjoy the "follow the crowd" mindset. A guy told me yesterday that he saw a group of 30 (30!) first-year girls, a near ravenous pack of "sneak me into the bars" wolvettes, packed together, matching iPhones, handbags, and all wearing virtually the same preppy clothes.

Lol, the younger me wouldn't have gotten caught. Hell, when I was their age, I was a closet coke addict with years of hoodlum experience.

Hmmm...I think my 18-y.o. self would probably try to mug, possibly just beat the living shit out of the older me. The older me, however, is much, much smarter (in theory.)

Never had the luxury of even claiming to be ig'nant of college life, because I grew up in a college town :)

Yeah, the 21-and-over thing really is such a stupid thing. Kids drink because its a perceived taboo, just like teenagers fuck, shoot heroin, run away from home, join bands.

Lol, I started drinking at...hmmm...14?

you sound like a bonified adult


Oh Jesus Christ, Woman! Why'd ya have to say something aweful like that? What'd I do to you?



Miz BoheMia said...

HEY! Are the Esoteric one and I invisible? *SOB*


cooper said...

Such a kill joy you.

Good luck with the year Jason.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Nah, not invisible...there seems to be a delay in responding to comments (or there was.) Didn't see em til after I hit the publish button...


Yeah, I don't think American young women are learning about that little voice in the back of the ol' noggin anymore. They may be trying to teach it, but the gals sure ain't learning it, from what I've seen so far this year.

Where were the goddamned parents who were supposed to be raising them? Lol, around here, the most common story I get is not that both parents were working, but that they just thought, well, once kids hit puberty they raised themselves.

Hell, I'd be DEAD by now if my parents hadn't switched gears, made me spend time with them, and opened up new lines of communication to keep my self-destructive tendencies in check. My DAD learned to like Social Distortion and the Ramones - gave us something to talk about.

Lol, I almost included a line about how its important to, well, not get caught by a certain Oxford blogger whilst doing something stupid.

Here, students tend to take this rather batshit pride in turning up in the Police Beat section of the Local U.'s newspaper. Recently, someone told me that, heh, turning up in this ol' blog for being stupid ain't exactly flattering.

Oh, of course. My job to be the asshole sometimes. Plus, well, to be that damned stupid.

Liberality said...

If they are old enough to enlist and go fight in Iraq they should be old enough to drink a fucking beer!

The ZenFo Pro said...

Well, sure. The 21-to-drink is just another example of isolationist puritanism anymore - a global joke, just like the political comedy from the party machinery.

(The Americans market sex to kids nightly, but its the booze ALONE...).

But, alas, less worried about legality than safety. We've lost a lot of kids in this area to alcohol and drug related stupidity.

Liberality said...

Yes, alcohol is stupid. Our society is so high stress though that I think a lot of people turn to addictions (like some people use sex you know, hint, hint) to get distance from their emotions. Our consumer society markets alcohol and cigarettes to teens as legal (once they reach a certain age) forms of addiction. These addictions are highly taxed as a form of revenue to the states. Anyway, you know all that, but the point is our entire social structure is hypocritical. We are all the biggest fucking hypocrites around! Do we really believe in health? Then why don't Americans eat right? Young adults are doing just as we taught them, including these young girls. I think you stopped something bad from happening to them and that is good but chances are next weekend they'll be doing the same thing again. And these kids are damn lucky their parents can afford to send them to school because they could be over in Iraq getting a dose of PTSD or getting killed. Anyway, I am just super frustrated with our systems in this country. We use more resources, pollute more and fuck over more countries than I can wrap my mind around. So I'm just venting here I guess. I do like your blog dude.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Oh, no worries about the rant, chica! Being an U.S. citizen anymore does indeed start to feel a bit like living in a really bad, made-for-TV informercial for how not to live free or die these days.