Fear and loathing


If you ever go temporarily insane, don’t shoot somebody, like a lot of people do. Instead, try to get some weeding done, because you’d be really surprised.

— Jack Handy

Hey, could you turn down that clock? Time is almost ending. On the drive over. Eddie Hull in the backseat recording every alcohol violation. So tailgate, he tells us, but don’t. Drink more. Drink less.

Get your priorities straight, undergraduates.

McDonald’s is now BK with a drive-thru. The driver asks, Where do I go? And it’s Dane Cook saying, Go to the Texaco Station, take a right, go five and a half miles Southeast. You’re going to see a guy in a yellow poncho. His name’s Hank, he’ll take you to the Whopper Layer. That’s where you go. And you’ve got 10 minutes to get there or we take your food.

But Hank is really Colin Powell, stepping down. We’ve made it to the Atrium. James I, he says, saw himself as the agent of God on Earth. He thought he was divinely appointed. Mandated. And the only way his subjects could object to his policies was to pray for his amendment. As though 53 percent leads to an absolute monarchy, to a marriage between politics and religion. A marriage between a man and a woman. Go you, he says, and pray.

And Larry Moneta rocking back and forth, saying this is a safe place, this is a safe place, she’s lying. Go to sleep, go to sleep, don’t question what we tell you. It was true that it was false this time, so it must be true that it was false last time. Read what is written.

But the libraries are closing, I say. And they are. The Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries, better known, perhaps, as the B&ECPL, suffering from the county’s 80 percent cut in budget allocations (about $19 million), are closing 52 locations Jan. 1. They ask that all materials be returned no later than Dec. 27.

And after dinner, senior portraits. We must be getting old. No, time is not almost ending. College will last forever. I pose in the Boyd-Pishko Café and answer questions about my life, my future, my career plans. None, I say. I’m an English major. As if that answers everything. Starting in one place and ending in another is fine as long as you know how you got there.

At the bar in the ‘Dillo, Faran and Whitney share drinks with Sarah Jessica Parker. You have not been replaced, I tell them. Either your shoes were too big to fill or maybe we tired of it. Because it was a love affair that made us feel a little bit worse about ourselves. Made us feel cheap and used, belittled and betrayed by our own peers. Made us sneak into a closed room to read your drivel and emerge with that terrible taste of a world we longed to deny but knew was true, was all around us, was everywhere. If the shoe fits.

Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin shoot a game of pool and discuss who would make the better Duke student. I am here to give hope to the least of you, Homer says, because we all have a crayon up our nose. Maybe it’s not a crayon made of wax. Maybe it’s a crayon made of prejudice. Peter pockets the nine in the side. Oh yeah? he replies. Well, I got an idea, an idea so smart my head would explode if I even began to know what I was talking about.

And so I tell Peter that he would not fit in. Duke is not a place to have radical ideas of any kind, progressive or conservative. If you’re not saying what people want to hear, they won’t listen.

Just because you don’t like what he has to say doesn’t mean it’s about nothing. A voice of reason in the crowd. That’s just mean.

But time is ending after all. The library is closing, the library is closing, I yell, but Ayn Rand is there, drowning out my voice, screaming Capitalism! at the top of her lungs.

Eric Vivier is a Trinity senior.


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