With Labor Day weekend passed and another chapter in the annals of tubing written, we have the same-ol’-same-ol’ issues. It’s a bunch of ruthless and awful college students getting together and partying.
Or is it a bunch of uptight cops getting agitated because people are trying to have fun? Actually it’s a little of both and a lot of neither.
The past 20 years has seen a struggle between the blowing of steam and the maintenance of a community. The first event to fall victim to this balance was Pioneer Days in 1987, which became an excuse to get drunk that then-university President Robin Wilson “took out back and shot it in the head.”
Fast-forward to 2001, when Halloween turned into a nightmare with four stabbings and more than 60 arrests. It was determined at the time that something significant had to be done. Last Halloween, downtown turned into a drenched police convention; I mean, a controlled atmosphere. Now we have drunk college students floating on water (hopefully conscious).
I would love to hear how those new Taser guns feel. I guess it beats a baton, though. The only problem is, it’s not that creative and it results in one-on-one confrontations between cops and students (and sometimes one or two cops on about 20 college students).
Here’s an idea for next year: Get a couple of banjo players and hide them in the bushes. As the students float by, they start strumming “Dueling Banjos.” Anyone who’s seen or heard of “Deliverance” isn’t going to want to squeal like a pig and will quickly get outta there (alcohol permitting).
As for the students, please raise your hand if you’re from out of town or from out of the area. Now that you’ve gotten a few blank stares wondering what you were doing, remember where you are.
The problem with people in this community, and many other college towns, is “all them college students come blowin’ in durin’ the year and take over the place and trash it.”
Wouldn’t it be great to have just a speck of credibility? Here’s an idea: Get to know some of the people around you. I’m not just talking about the other college students. Believe it or not, there are families nearby that live in this town all year. Just remember, fruit baskets are the perfect bandages, but it helps to actually talk and visit with them. You’re stuck next to each other until at least December or even May. Might as well make the most of it.
Now here comes the penultimate issue. You’ve fled from the banjos, you know the people around you, but now what? Hopefully by getting to know the locals, you have a deeper appreciation for them and the community. Now clean up after yourselves!
There is no better way to piss off both your neighbors and the police by leaving a huge mess after you party. I’m not going to go all environmentalist and hope you’ll be picking flowers with me off a greener and trash-free earth.
Instead, remember this word: community. Like it or not, if you live here part of the time, you live here all of the time. Good things reflect well on your person. Bad things come around to kick you in the butt. If you wave to people and say hey to your neighbors, maybe you’ll be able to sit down sometime.