Monday, August 20, 2007

Bright college days

I have officially become an obsolete parent:

My only child started college today.

KM is a freshman at our local junior college, a fine institution of higher education with a Starbucks across the street and a Taco Bell on the nearest corner. (Hey, she might get hungry.) She's taking four classes #151; English, psychology, art history, and her fifth year of Spanish.

Since KM is only just beginning to drive, Dad's taxi service will shuttle her to and from campus for the time being, giving the old man a daily opportunity to bask in the reflected glow of academia and pine for lost youth.

I recall my own first day of college as though it were only 28 years ago. (Which, not entirely coincidentally, it was.) That first evening, with the summer waves lapping at the distant Malibu shore, our resident assistant gathered everyone in our dormitory's main living room. He passed around a roll of toilet paper, telling each student to take as many sheets as he felt he needed. Once the roll had circled the room, the RA announced that, for every sheet of TP one had taken, he had to reveal a fact about himself. (The first sheet counted for name, hometown, and major.)

Being no one's fool, even at the callow age of 17, I had taken a mere five sheets — hardly sufficient to peel back the veneer of mystery with which I prefer to enshroud myself. One of my fellow dormies, conversely, unspooled so many squares of tissue that he was compelled to expose knowledge to which none of the rest of us really needed to be privy, such as his favorite sexual position (I'll give you a hint: it's a two-digit number) and his preference in pubic grooming (I'll give you a hint: Gillette).

Living at home, KM will escape such torture. At least for this academic year.

In the immortal words of the legendary Tom Lehrer:
Bright college days — oh, carefree days that fly,
To thee we sing with our glasses raised on high.
Let's drink a toast as each of us recalls
Ivy-covered professors in ivy-covered halls.

Turn on the spigot,
Pour the beer and swig it,
And gaudeamus igit-tur.

Here's to parties we tossed;
To the games that we lost —
We shall claim that we won them someday.
To the girls, young and sweet;
To the spacious back seat
Of our roommate's beat-up Chevrolet.
To the beer and Benzedrine;
To the way that the dean
Tried so hard to be pals with us all.
To excuses we fibbed,
To the papers we cribbed
From the genius who lived down the hall.

To the tables down at Mory's
(Wherever that may be),
Let us drink a toast to all we love the best.
We will sleep through all the lectures,
And cheat on the exams,
And we'll pass, and be forgotten with the rest.

Soon we'll be out amid the cold world's strife.
Soon we'll be sliding down the razor blade of life.
But as we go our sordid separate ways,
We shall ne'er forget thee, thou golden college days.

Hearts full of youth,
Hearts full of truth,
Six parts gin to one part vermouth.
For the record, the first college punk who shows up at my house to pick up my daughter in a beat-up Chevrolet will be invited to admire my knife collection.

Up close.

[UPDATE: Now there's an odd coincidence. After I posted this article, I took my daily stroll through my blogroll. Two of my favorite bloggers, Mark Evanier and The Ferrett, both riffed on Tom Lehrer in their posts today. Great minds really do think alike. That, or my tinfoil hat has stopped working, and aliens have infested my brain.]

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3 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Anonymous Anonymous offered these pearls of wisdom...

Now there's an odd coincidence. After I posted this article, I took my daily stroll through my blogroll. Two of my favorite bloggers, Mark Evanier and The Ferrett, both riffed on Tom Lehrer in their posts today.

...or, perhaps, Ferrett reads Mark Evanier. *G*

8:11 AM  
Blogger SwanShadow offered these pearls of wisdom...

Anonymous: You're right, Ferrett may read Evanier, or vice versa. My point was that I hadn't read either of them yet when I decided to reference the great Professor.

Wait a minute... you're one of those aliens, aren't you? ;^)

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Donna offered these pearls of wisdom...

Congrats to KM as she embarks on her journey and travels the paths I once traveled at my alma matter SRJC. I'm sure many of my professors have long since retired or moved on to other tenures.

Now, you know my curious nature wants to know what five facts you revealed about yourself long ago @ Pepperdine University! Do tell!

11:22 AM  

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