Thursday, October 27, 2005

Crowning Achievement

It’s Homecoming season here at Our University, and the kids who never left high school behind are vying for the right to be crowned Homecoming King and Queen. My undergraduate institution was no stranger to the Homecoming Royalty tradition, but here they take it to a whole new level. Any part of the campus traveled by undergrads is plastered with photocopied fliers, exhorting us to vote for one candidate over another, many of them employing phrases that the author obviously thought were catchy and clever, though in reality they are obnoxious and often poorly rhymed. I am comforted by the fact that I’ve been trying to think of an example for the past few minutes, but am drawing a complete blank; I’d feared I’d still be chanting some overly made-up Tri-Delt’s election slogan in my chair at the nursing home.

Merely plastering the walls with hundreds, no, THOUSANDS of posters in blatant disregard for fire code and campus rules governing the posting of notices is not sufficient if you truly desire to wear the Homecoming crown. No, indeed. One must also employ strategy learned from The Art of War, or at least the latest episodes of The OC. These include covering your opponent’s flyers with your own and ripping your opponent’s flyers down. I was torn between relief and dismay to find that there was no vandalism of flyers; it might have been amusing to see how the frat boy devotees of Former Highschool Cheerleader 1 would change the flyers for Former Highschool Cheerleader 2, if only in the same way that watching Dog the Bounty Hunter is amusing.

One particular young man and his friends employed a particularly interesting technique that I witnessed on my way to the bus. There is a pedestrian bridge connecting two buildings separated by a busy street. It’s lined with windows and lighted by powerful spotlights. These upstanding citizens had ripped down their opponents’ posters and were in the process of using them to spell out the young man’s name on the windows facing traffic. There was a certain amount of deviant intelligence in that move.

The amount of money that these kids are spending on their campaigns is astounding. In addition to the astronomical bills they must be running up at Kinko’s, not just for the initial 1,000 copies, but for the ongoing expense of replacing the ones that get ripped down by opponents, plus the ones that get removed by the cleaning crews because they were posted in violation of fire code and/or the rules governing the posting of notices. Then they spend the last day before the election standing in the area in front of the largest dorms. This is a particularly high-traffic area not just because of the people coming and going from the dorms, but also because there is no way to get from a very large bus stop to the buildings on the same side of the campus as Our Law School without walking across this area or going all the way around the block. Trying to get from the bus to the building on these days is like trying to play one of the higher levels of Super Mario Brothers. You dodge one overgelled frat boy trying to hand you another copy of his flyer and another pops up. They’re all trying to get you to promise to vote for them and handing out candy with little sayings attached to them. A few of them get a little abusive if you dare to ignore them, screaming after you. I hate running this gauntlet and wish the university would rein the little buggers in.

And after all that, I have never yet heard the outcome of these elections. While I might normally be happy about an event that seemingly celebrates the concept that the glory is in the race, not in the winning, it seems kind of anti-climactic in this case. I wonder if the victors felt the same way?



At 7:16 PM , Blogger pacatrue said...

My main thought through-out your whole story was, "who still wants to be homecoming queen when they are in college?" I guess that's what I get for going to a liberal arts college with no Greek system, but a Language House and a Farm House.


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