For the third time in four weeks, I'm heading out for the weekend -- this time it's back to Athens for an unofficial reunion of folks who worked at our student newspaper, The Red & Black, while I was at UGA. I'm pumped as hell about this, but at the same time kind of apprehensive, because I know that 48 hours of laughing and boozing it up with my best friends from school are only going to lead to the inevitable come-down in which I ask myself why, oh why did I ever graduate from college in the first place.
Nah, fuck that. College was a straight-up blast and I'm not gonna let any of the depressing stuff about real life intrude for the next few days, particularly since numerous people have told me my current, supposedly "real-world" lifestyle is barely distinguishable from that of an unreconstructed frat boy as it is. This is a weekend for throwing the usual cares about "the real world" and "my job" and "obeying the law" straight out the window and just enjoying the good times, both past and present. But since y'all can't come with me to Athens this weekend -- or at least you better not, 'cause seriously, that's on some stalker shit, seek help -- you're gonna have to content yourself with the past. My past, that is. Not that you give a crap, but this week's +5 is My Five Favorite Memories From College, At Least The Ones I Was Sober Enough To Recount.
April 1, 1999: The Jim Harrick double-switcheroo
During my last semester at Georgia, I was the editor-in-chief of The Red & Black -- don't get excited, I was the only one who applied for the job that semester -- so every other night, alternating with the managing editor, I would have to read every last word on every single page to check for errors and then stay at the newspaper office until the whole thing had been sent out the door to the printer. On the morning of April 1 -- yup, that's the actual date all this stuff went down -- we got the official word that Jim Harrick was leaving the University of Rhode Island to become the head basketball coach at UGA, and immediately began assembling the splashiest front page possible to announce the news. Later in the afternoon, we got the unfortunate news that Harrick had changed his mind, he didn't want to leave URI after all, he wasn't coming. So we tossed the first front page and started laying out the "Not coming after all" spread. And then around 7 in the evening, if memory serves, we got yet another surprise: He'd changed his mind a second time and was coming to Georgia. So we flushed yet another front-page layout and started all over again, and still managed to get the thing out just a few minutes after the midnight deadline. It was a wild afternoon, to be sure, but it made for a great story afterward, and it was really great to see everyone in the newsroom pull together to roll with the considerable number of punches we all experienced while Harrick dicked around up in Providence. This would be just the first on a lengthy list of instances in which the Harricks screwed Bulldog Nation and left us a dazed, whimpering mess, but this one, at least, we could laugh about later.
Summer 1998-Spring 1999: Going to "church"
Part of what made the Day Of Many Harrick Shenanigans so much more tolerable than it otherwise would've been was the fact that we could all get together and laugh about it (by which I mean "get drunk about it") afterward at Boneshakers. Georgia grads of a certain vintage will remember Boneshakers as Athens's most popular gay bar, which it was, but the '80s Nights they did every Wednesday were popular enough amongst the straight crowd to bring the sexual-orientation mix to about 50-50, and the R&B crew's attendance on Wednesdays became so regular that my dear friend Alice Coggin started referring to it as "church." During the summer of '98, when I failed to lock up an actual internship and instead spent my time doing the opinions page of the R&B's weekly summer edition and working graveyard hours at DialAmerica, we'd send the paper out the door on Wednesday evening and immediately head over to my friend Chandler's apartment to prime ourselves with liberal amounts of grape Kool-Aid spiked with Golden Grain before making our weekly church trip. (This soon came to be called "Golden Girls Kool-Aid" since reruns of that show always seemed to be on when we were over there) I'm sure that my regularity as a Boneshakers patron ratchets up my quotient of Teh Ghey even more than it already was, but who cares, it was a blast. And I'm not convinced we're all not going to get plastered on Saturday night and dance around in the middle of Hancock Street to Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" just to try and recreate the good ol' days.
November 1, 1997: "We Believed"
More commonly known as the day we beat Spurrier's Gators for the first time in eight tries; this one's pretty self-explanatory. I watched the game over at my friend Meredith's house and I distinctly remember all of us going out later that night and strutting around like we ourselves had picked Florida off four times; in true Jim Donnan fashion, the Dawgs went right out the very next game and laid an ostrich egg against a lesser-ranked Auburn team that had just gotten shut out at home by Mississippi State, but neverthless, neither that glorious night nor the 100-point "WE BELIEVED" headline on the front of the following Monday's R&B are things that anyone can ever take away from me.
February 13, 1999: Being a journalist finally pays off
The one and only time in my life I've had a date in the remote vicinity of Valentine's Day came, ironically enough, after a column I wrote for the R&B about how much Valentine's Day sucked. This girl in one of my journalism classes whom I'd always thought was cute e-mailed me saying she liked my column and did I want to go out sometime, and we ended up going to dinner and then a party at my friend Kristen's house on the 13th. I can honestly say it's one of the few times in my life when being a writer or journalist ever resulted in something tangibly positive; not only was she smart and fun, she was the spitting image of Drew Barrymore. (And I'm not just making that up out of thin air -- nearly everyone at the party told me "She looks like Drew fucking Barrymore!", usually followed, of course, by "What the hell is she doing here with you? Did you drug her or something?") Sadly, as a later-than-late bloomer who'd only had two, maybe three girlfriends my entire life up to that point and thus didn't know a good thing when it dropped right into his fucking lap, I managed to screw this relationship up royally after only a couple months, but still, it was nice while it lasted.
Sometime during 1996: Preaching the Seuss Gospel at the Tate Center
Being both a major college campus and and a festering den of the worst kinds of iniquity, UGA got plenty of visits throughout the 1990s from "confrontational evangelist" Jed Smock, otherwise known as "Brother Jed," and his toady "Brother Ken." Bros. Jed and Ken would get up on the free-speech platform at the Tate Center plaza and basically rail away for hours on end about what whores and drunkards and masturbators all of us students were; this didn't convert a single person that I'm aware of, but it did give us some rollicking good entertainment between classes. One afternoon, as Jed took the stage -- and I don't know what got into me that day -- I went to the Tate Center bookstore and bought a copy of Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham; I then jumped up on the platform and started "preaching the Gospel of Dr. Seuss," mainly just to see if I could yell louder than Brother Jed. I don't think I even made it through the whole book before Jed and his entourage left in righteous disgust. But I didn't know what an impression this sermon had made until years later, when my parents happened upon another Brother Jed appearance while doing a campus tour with my sister. While they were standing there marveling at Jed's holy fury, some kid next to them said "You should've been here a few years ago when some guy got up there and started preaching Green Eggs and Ham to the crowd," and my parents were like, "Oh my God! That was our son!" and soon everybody wanted to meet the parents of Green Eggs and Ham Guy. I won't say that's the proudest my parents have ever been of me, but I'll bet it's in their top five.
Ah, good times, good times. My blood-alcohol level has jumped a couple points just thinking about it. Anyway, this week's Ten is composed of stuff that I was listening to back in college, not that that's all that different from what I'm listening to now:
1. N.W.A., "Gangsta Gangsta"
2. The Chemical Brothers, "Playground for a Wedgeless Firm"
3. Underworld, "Rez"
4. De La Soul, "Tread Water"
5. Pet Shop Boys, "West End Girls" (Acid House mix)
6. R.E.M., "Walk Unafraid"
7. Beck, "Today Has Been a Fucked Up Day"
8. The Farm, "Golden Vision"
9. Beck, "Ramshackle"
10. Underworld, "Confusion the Waitress"
Oh, and what the hell, here's the obvious 11th --
11. Avenue Q cast, "I Wish I Could Go Back to College"
Got any college stories of your own? Can you even remember any, you sad old farts? If so, put 'em (along with your own Random Tens) in the comments thread.