Students have now been in university long enough to do something really stupid.
(You may notice that the “stupid” theme has dominated this column recently; I think it has something to do with the heightened political debate over Muskrat Falls.)
That’s almost a month to put your imaginations to work. If I remember correctly it didn’t take us nearly that long in my student days. By the end of our first month, we had already decided to:
1 — kidnap a member of the football team and shave off one eyebrow and half his hair;
2 — confiscate the eating utensils from the dining hall on a morning they were having scrambled eggs for breakfast;
3 — grab some late arrival for a meal as he passed by the entrance to our floor and throw him in a very large bathtub full of water and all the ice cubes we could find;
4 — go to the nearest farmer and buy as many gallons of apple cider as he could spare (as a business venture);
5 — although neither one of us drank more than a beer a month, if that, we gave permission for other students to use our room window as a conduit through which beer could be snuck into the residence — our room was on the ground floor. We provided that as a service to our fellow students.
That wasn’t a bad list for just two students, my roommate (OH’s brother) and me, in less than a month. Of course, more help was added as required. That turned out to be fairly quickly since the idea about the football player, and the one concerning the apple cider, turned out not to be our wisest and best.
The first almost got us killed, and the second almost kicked out of university — perhaps it wasn’t that bad, but the cider caused an awful stink (literally) when the jars exploded in our room. I remember the dean of men not being real happy with us. For a while we were on a short leash.
I didn’t intend to talk about my student days. It’s just that the memories are so vivid and pleasant. I want to tell you about what students are doing in the good old United States of A today.
I was listening to CNN’s Anderson Cooper the other night — I do that to get the latest scores between Obama and what’s his face — and heard Cooper expounding on the latest exposé from some university fraternity. Those boys make our activities look like the unfolding scandals among students at any preschool.
You may have already heard about this, in which case you probably won’t be surprised, disgusted or amazed or blasé about it. (Love that word “blasé;” it doesn’t get nearly as much use as it should and therefore I’m committed to seeing that it gets more.)
The student activity to which I refer is the alcohol-enema thing. You may know, or think you know, all about enemas. You may know, or think you know, a fair amount about alcohol. I’m fairly confident in saying that you don’t know much about how both may be used together.
This doesn’t mean you’re unsophisticated and not up with current trends, especially among the younger set. It does mean that up until now, you have been blissfully ignorant.
It would seem that students at a certain fraternity in a certain university in a certain American town have discovered a novel way to get drunker faster. You are aware, I’m sure, that this is something scientists have been working on 24/7 for the past several decades.
When Eli Whitney finished inventing the cotton gin, he turned his attention to that problem. When Einstein had completed his e=mc² formulation, his next major goal was to figure out how to get loaded in a hurry. And when Charley Darwin completed his studies on natural selection, he was sure that solving the drunk thing would mark the pinnacle of evolution for modern man.
It’s only natural that the problem should be resolved in a university setting.
As with all great solutions to increasingly complicated technological situations, the answer once found was amazingly simple. You insert plastic tubing in that part of you where the sun don’t shine, then using a small funnel, you pour a goodly amount of a bottle of booze through the catheter and into your unsuspecting self. The result is, if not instantaneous, close enough.
The explanation is that the blood vessels in the walls of the intestine absorb the alcohol much more quickly than the conventional method which has to be filtered through the liver and takes hours, or it may seem like that when you’re anxious to get the party underway. Of course, there is a downside to this amazing physical process: it can kill you. Just another illustration of that time-honoured convention: if it’s fun, it’s not good for you.
Right now, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that? Consider how much time could be saved at my next party. No wine or liquor glasses to be laboriously washed and dried after everyone else is gone home, and partner in sickness and in health is snoring it off in bed.”
There may be many reasons this idea hasn’t already occurred to you. One, you may not have a sick mind. Two, you were raised in the Judeo-Christian value system. Three, you are not stupid. Four, you don’t indulge in the asinine.
Whatever else you may think about the modern generation, you have to admit they’re not mired in outmoded traditional responses to age-old problems and situations. We who are older but by no means smarter often criticize them for not honouring our own attitudes and approaches. In this case, guzzling until we get drunk or sick, whichever comes first.
I think those frat students may be getting a bum rap.
Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.