“Youths” what a bunch of jerks. Amirite my fellow office professionals? Amirite my Powerpoint Party People!!? No, you’re right. Stigmatizing groups based on their age is both ‘profiling’ and a micro-aggression and I apologize for my Tweet. I was hacked.
But they are. University kids specifically. After not thinking about my college (which in the Australian sense, refers to a dorm-type community on a larger university campus) years for, well, years, I heard that a small group of its residents had just being expelled for doing something so fuckin offensive that it made national news.
My first thought was “Seriously?! Gross, man! Young people! Idiots!” But then, as a flood of early 2000’s rum and coke and emo-infused memories suddenly came roaring back at me so hard I had to sit in the dark and listen to Fall Out Boy, it occurred to me that I knew plenty of people back then who were exactly that moronic/creepy. The difference being that there was no social media at the time to get amplified out to the world.
I’m not in any way defending these dummies. I’m just saying that if we all think back to the college years, that we boys and girls, were capable of being enormously stupid, whilst studying for degrees – Engineering, Law, Physics, Economics, Medicine etc – that would otherwise indicate we’re capable of being incredibly smart.
My college was on the ANU, Australia’s only school ranked top twenty world wide – tied for 19th with London’s Kings College – and everyone in my college would have likely been no lower than a top 5 student in their graduating high school year. Many were Dux. But at the time, we were often idiots. Oh, my God.
Example No. Dumb – Kill-a-keg
Five teams of four boys. One keg each. You drink the keg. The first team to finish “wins”. Drinking a keg works out to around 12 pints per man-baby. The one year I did it I was on the winning team (my three team mates I believe are all now practicing attorneys) with a time of just over 20 mins.
Impressive, since I spent ten minutes of the time throwing up in the long grass like a fire hose that got away.
Meanwhile, the girls had their own version of it off in different field, but in place of a keg they had boxed wine. Which is much, much worse. It meant the ones still standing would go on to commit crimes later that evening. Violent crimes.
Example No. toolander? – The Sleaze Tree
Yep. Creepy AF. At the end of every year, the graduating residents are given a set of tasks to complete on the night of the end of year formal. These could be drinking related, streaking related, cross-dressing related i.e. anything that would lower our chances of gaining future employment.
My task was to “win” the Sleaze Tree. I was selected because over the course of my four years in residence, I’d only be spotted in PDA once, rolling around in an unseemly fashion of the basement level of a bar called Mooseheads, in between sips from a $3 jug of beer to the sounds of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Long story short: I was forced, FORCED I tell you! To make out with 24 girls in one night.
I had strep throat for about a year, but it did teach me that at college level, the best pick up line is “Excuse me, I’m on a dare…”
Though, all the young ladies were people I knew and were in on the joke. The record last I heard, is held by a gay resident (also now a lawyer I think) who tapped out at forty something.
Example No. Ice cream! – The lecture theater fart of ’03
The ANU is known for its political science and international studies departments, who pump out what is essentially the entire graduate intake for Australia’s intelligence agencies and the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade every year.
So you can imagine the somberness of the material we were going through (Myanmar), when someone, who is almost certainly now helping guide our foreign policy, farted so loudly I felt the vibration from 8 chairs down the row.
It wasn’t just that it was loud, – purposely so – it’s that it went on for so long that our lecturer – who was often on the TV news to talk about what N. Korea had just done – wasn’t so much shocked into silence as he was forced to trail off until he could be heard again.
With an expression more bewildered than angry, he looked up towards the culprit, who sat stone-faced in the middle of concentric circles of outward leaning foreign policy students having fits. I cried. For days! By the time I stopped laughing all my library books were overdue.
Low, low humor.
My college was known as the sporty college on campus. I don’t know what it is about country kids, but they seem to breed ’em strong and fast out on the farms. The football teams were undefeated in college competition going back, I believe, to when my dad was a resident.
Winning the inter-college sports shield (boys and girls footballs, basketball, swimming, cricket and Inward Bound) was a given every year. Yes, I “played college ball.”
Conversely, we were also winning the inter-college academics shield, which consisted of debate, public speaking, art, music and – once – creative writing, for which I was awarded Best & Fairest. The MVP. Of creative writing. My writer team mates lifted me up on their shoulders then immediately put me down when we all got nose bleeds.
But it was Inward Bound that was the highlight of all inter-college events and worth the most shield points. It involved being blindfolded as a four-person team, dumped deep in the New South Wales backwoods around midnight and told to find our way to a finish line some 40 to 80 kilometers (200 dickety miles) away.
Before you can make your way to the finish, you first have to figure out where on the map you are. Pray you figure right because it’s the difference between merely running a marathon with 10 kilos (one trillion fathoms) on your back, or 2 or 3 marathons. You could totally die. You specifically, would.
Training for Inward Bound of course took up the entirety of first term. I failed stuff.
But, we grow up and buy button-up shirts and pantsuits, and go about filling out our Facebook with pictures of babies and hair loss.
I’ve fallen out of touch with the great, great majority of people I went to college with, but based on my Facebook and LinkedIn feeds, all are now gainfully employed in foreign affairs, law, medicine, publishing (I’m client to two), high finance, and being a contestant on the Bachelorette.
Ahh, adulthood.. It’s fun too, right?