Tag Archives: college

Read the Restroom Door

I went to Ohio University this past weekend.  I graduated from there twenty years ago.  Twenty!  For those of you who may be reading this while still in your college years, I have this advice.  Stay in school as long as possible!  Declare a new major just before finishing your current one.  Consider getting a Master’s degree in anything.  Perhaps everything.

Those years were the best.  You get to make friends with people who will be in your life forever-there-after.  You get to hold almost no responsibility (aside from class work, but trust me, it’s far easier than the real world).  You get watch your university appointed freshman self destructing roommate drink and drug his life away, eventually drop out, and then land a job as the chief supervisor of camper village at Disneyland.  They wouldn’t even let him work inside the park.  I never felt like more of a success story than I did the day I spotted his picture on the vacation brochure.  Way to go, Captain Success!

When I was visiting my old stomping grounds, I had a vivid flashback.  There was this bar located uptown that my friends and I would frequent, frequently.  It was there that I learned the valuable lesson of “double check which bathroom you’re heading into before entering.”  You see, as you approach this particular set of bathrooms, the woman’s room is next to the men’s room, but recessed a bit further back.  Due to this odd architecture, as you approach the bathroom clearly labeled “WOMEN”, the wall blocks the first part of the word.  If you are not paying attention, you will only see the “MEN” part of the label.  Furthermore, if the men’s room has a group of people standing in front of it, it is easy to overlook.  Perhaps the fact that I had a little bit of alcohol in me was a contributing factor in this oversight.  Naw, probably not.  I took a picture to help visualize this scenario even more than my crystal clear verbal description has done.

Looks like two men’s rooms to me

So I pushed right in with no hesitation.  Why would you hesitate if you believe your heading into the men’s room and are opting out of double checking prior to crossing the threshold?  Luckily, there was no one inside as I entered.  I remember thinking to myself, “Odd.  They took out urinals and put in two more toilets since the last time I was here.”  …because that happens all the time.

So I’m doing what men do in a bathroom (sparing your brain the visually descriptive image), when a girl comes in.  I look over my shoulder and scoff a bit.  She lets out an apology, “Oh!  I’m sorry!” and leaves quickly.  Surprisingly, I still didn’t put it together.  I’m thinking about what a fool that girl was for entering the men’s room.

Upon exiting I got to experience a large round of applause.  The girl that “entered the wrong bathroom” put together a good size crowd to ensure that I understood who was actually in the wrong.  I put it together—finally.  It was a long walk back to my friends (an extremely long walk) as I was subjected to a line of woman cheering and clapping for me.  I felt like a football playing running through a tunnel of cheer leaders.  Only, I wasn’t so pumped up to be there.

With my face turning red I rejoined my friends who were just catching on to what happened.  However, to this group of guys, what I just did was awesome!  I breached the woman’s room!  I got a round of high-fives as they joined the applause and patted me on the back.  And then I really did feel like that star football player!

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In Closing,

I received a note via email today written by an old college friend from a long time back.  It was good to hear from him.  He concluded the note by writing the following closing.

Best,
Bill

He selected a rather simple closing.  The single word “best”.  I find this odd.  I’m fairly certain that I should not read too much into it, but the voices in my head won’t let that happen.  Best what?  Best regards?  Best wishes?  Best kick in the shins?

From time to time, I’ve seen this closing too:  “All my best to your family”.  Let’s assume for a minute that we are talking about wishes.

All my best wishes to your family,
Marcus

Wait a minute!  Did I just give away all my best wishes?  Obviously, I must really and truly care for these people.  So much so, that I gave them all of my best wishes.  That leaves me with my pile of average and crappy wishes.  Let see, I still have the following.

“I wish I would win three dollars and twenty-one cents.”  It would be best if the jackpot was in the millions.

“I wish that the diarrhea would slow down.”  I can’t believe I gave away the best version where I wished that it would actually stop.

“I wish all of my toes would fall off.”  Nothing good about this wish at all!  I should have given this wish away a long time ago.

How about this closing: “Warm Regards”?  I’m not sure how you would go about changing the temperature of a regard.  I’ve never actually held a regard.  Are they heavy?  Would it break if I dropped it?  I suppose that if I were to be handed a regard, I would want it to not burn my fingers.  So, sure, “warm” is a good way for a regard to be handed out.  It’s a far better set of regards than:

Ice cold frost-bitten regards,
Bill
PS- Sorry about your hands.  I thought you were wearing gloves.

“With deepest sympathy” has probably been used for letters expressing condolences for a parted loved one.  I offer this advice.  Consider losing the word “deepest” because it reminds me of the six foot depth of the average grave site.  You wouldn’t elaborate on that closing with a description of exactly how deep, would you?

With a sympathy of approximately six feet of depth,
Bill
PS- The daisies are going to look beautiful!

The closing “Yours cordially” leaves me scratching my head.  I guess this is a fine way to wrap up a letter being sent from one cherry to another cherry.

Yours cordially,
Maraschino
PS- Sorry about the stickiness of this letter.  It’s the pits.

A nice way to end a letter to a loved one might be, “Always in my thoughts”.  This phrase should convey to its reader that you, the writer of this letter, are thinking kind things about you often.  But realize, if you would, that there is something missing.  This closing doesn’t really address if the writer is enjoying you always being in his or her thoughts.  You ever have “that song” stuck in your head for days on end?  It drives you so crazy that you would do anything to make it stop.

Always in my thoughts,
Bill
PS- I’m on the verge of sticking an ice-pick in my ear to make it stop.

I guess maybe I’m over thinking the whole closing thing.  At this point, however, I am at a loss on how to conclude this writing.  I clearly built up too much pressure for a simple exit.  There is no way I can just hit you up with a “Take care” or a “Sincerely”.  Ok, how’s this?

Approximately half of my best above-ground lukewarm thoughts cordially given to you,
Marcus
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Chuck’s Cheese

I read an article recently that explained how the face of Chuck E. Cheese is changing.  If you have children, you know the place.  It’s that building where they serve lousy pizza, take your money for game tokens in exchange for paper tickets, and repay you by rewarding your child with toy trinkets that you will find under your car seats long after your child has started college.  Apparently the old mouse is being replaced with a new mouse.  A more hip, more cool, and more trendy mouse.

I can speculate that Chuck’s business model is struggling to survive and this change is the result of some recently promoted hot-shot who thinks he can build a better mouse trap.  Ok, maybe that’s not the right analogy.  Accurate perhaps, but not appropriate.  Well see now I have this vivid picture in my head of the old Chuck E. Cheese character bleeding from the eye balls trapped in a humongous mouse trap clamping down on his neck while the new mascot stands in the background shaking his head slowly.  And it would have to be a humongous mouse trap—have you seen the size of that rodent’s head?

It’s been years since I was subjected to Chuck’s mad house since my children are a bit older now.  But, when I saw the “mascot changing” news story, the memories flooded in.  We would always happen pick the day where every single parent in the entire state would show up.  The place would be jammed.  There would even be a line at the entrance where the incoming children and parents would have to wait for the same number of crying children to exit the building.  No one ever leaves Chuck’s house without crying a river.

The wait to get in was no doubt due to fire code and building occupancy rules, but I’m also sure the teenager at the door failed to keep the correct count.  While waiting for our turn to enter, I would be observing absolutely no space to walk from one side of the room to the other.  This will be fun.  Pictures of abducted children running through my head.

Once we passed the entrance queue, my little young boys would love to crawl around in that very complex maze of plastic sewer pipes.  That is exactly what they were—raw sewage pipes.  Children see this structure as the greatest indoor jungle gym ever assembled.  As a parent I was appalled–watching the not-quite-sick-enough-to-stay-home children with their faces just oozing out snot crawl around through the same tubes that I was about to send my children into.  It simply looked like a raw sewage system.  You know why those slides are so fast and fun?  They are greased down with several different bodily fluids from multiple children.

Regardless, I would follow my children on my hands and knees through the endless miles of muck filled tunnels and slides.  I think good old Chuck could have made an extra fortune by renting knee and elbow pads to the adults.  My knees and elbows would be raw and bleeding as I desperately try to keep up with my children who were short enough to simply walk through the tunnels.  “Oh crap!  My boys just went in two different directions!”  Maybe one day I’ll be reunited with them again, I think to myself.  Maybe one day.

There was this over-sized ball pit filled with colored plastic balls that my boys loved so much.  It was this large area where kids would romp and play and giggle and laugh.  They would also take turns throwing the balls as hard as they could at each other’s heads.  A wonderful playtime experience.

Once, my son yelled out a very happy noise as he stood in the middle of the ball pit, jumping up and down,waving a ten-dollar bill high above his head that he just fished out of the bottom of the ball pit.  How awesome is that?  Without hesitation, I dove in head first to join him with dreams of recouping some of the college funds that I wasted on Chuck E. Cheese’s institution.  Picture this crazy man sitting in the ball pit among several small children frantically scouring the bottom of the pit with both hands.  And then I hit the jackpot!  I felt a papery object, raised it high in the air, and exclaimed, “I got one!”  Only I was holding a used tissue.

The following noise I made was not a happy noise.  I grabbed my children and flung them and myself out of the ball pit, never to return again.  I think the “E” in Chuck E. Cheese stands for “Effing”.  If it wasn’t a place for children, the business would have been Chuck F. Cheese.

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Sure, I’ll Slow Dance

I would love to keep my blog entries current.  But, sometimes days will go by without anything amusing to write about.  That is not to say that my life is currently boring.  There are just good days and then there are very odd days.  Please don’t worry about my state of mind.  All is well.

You’re not worried about me, are you?  No?  Fine.

Ok.  I thought I would dig deep and bring to you story from my college years.  About twenty years ago.  Crap, I got old.

I went to school at Ohio University.  Note that the word “the” does not appear in the previous statement.  OU!  Home of the Bobcats.  Harvard on the Hocking.  Beautiful chunk of our country–rolling hills, green campus, no need for city buses, etc.  Hey, that is the description of an old guy reflecting upon his college years.  As a student back then, I didn’t really care or even notice the hills, unless I was lugging a backpack of books up them.  As a student, I would gladly tell you about the awesome engineering school that can be found there, or perhaps the uptown bar scene, where, back in the early 90’s, they would let anyone drink regardless of age.  Total non-discrimination.

There was this one particular bar called (back then) “The Greenery”.  This was a bar that looked the other way when checking your ID at the door.  The act of handing your ID to the so-called bouncer was just a show for… for who?  No one was watching?  Clearly this was a great place for freshmen to gather in order to discuss the finer points of the theories presented in the last experiment conducted in the physics lab earlier that week.  A place to develop student friendships.  A social gathering point to bond lifelong relationships.

Or maybe it was just a place to drink many pitchers of Brain Stoppers.  Man, they were yummy.

I remember the first time I attempted to enter this reputable place of business.  I handed my ID to the guy at the door and actually told him that I was underage.  I explained that I just wanted to see what the inside of this place looks like.  He said, “Sure.  Come on in!”  And then he marked my hand with that “approved to drink whatever” stamp.  Good times.  Stupid times.

There was an upstairs floor to this bar.  Up there music would be cranking out sounds of the late 80’s over the dance floor.  Young adults (too young to be there, but I wasn’t complaining) would be dancing, jumping, screaming, wiggling, and barfing to the beat of the tunes.  The smell of spilled Brain Stoppers filled the air—both serve and post-consumed.  The dance floor occupied a small area of the upstairs and a full mirrored wall made the place look like there were hundreds of students jammed in and having fun.

A little background about myself.  I am a Caucasian American.  You know the type, the non-dancing kind.  I’m also a tall guy.  I’m just under six foot five.  My dancing skills were never honed at all.  I was typically seen biting my lower lip and flailing my arms like I was trying to get a bathroom light sensor to turn the lights back on while trapped in a stall.  (Sound familiar?)

But it didn’t matter that I couldn’t dance well.  It’s not like this place was packed full of Footloose stars.  The likes of Kevin Bacon were nowhere to be seen.  So I’m out there with all my friends having the time of my life when I noticed this guy jumping around like a fool, waving his drink in the air, standing a good foot taller than everyone else on the dance floor.  What a dork!

Now, I’m not one to judge him based on the level of my own dancing skills, but that guy should go sit down.  He doesn’t realize that he is embarrassing himself.  Then a thought occurred to me and I froze.  I probably look just as dumb as him.  And then it was confirmed as I realized that I was looking at my own reflection in that mirrored wall.  That was my last fast dance.  Ever.

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