Sunday, April 29, 2012

Festering Wounds

And I thought a couch was bad.

I woke up this morning to video links and Twitter blurbs about the fire at 11 Palmer Saturday. Every year there is a new reason the fests get shut down— out of control crowds, drunkards fighting, couches ablaze. But a fire starting in a basement of a house just shows how insane the OU Fests get.

Sometimes I’m embarrassed by this party reputation, and after this weekend’s events at Palmer Fest, I have once again found examples of the reasons behind my pink cheeks.

I guess I must start by admitting that I’m not too keen on the party scene, and I didn’t drink before I turned 21. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good brew with my pizza, and it’s sometimes nicer to watch the Blue Jackets lose after purchasing an $8 stadium Tall Boy, but that fine line between coherent and idiocracy is one I have few times crossed. I suppose because I'm already weird and loud there's no need to add anything else to the fire (too soon for Palmer Fest puns?). 

My embarrassment began as soon as I started telling people my college of choice  senior year of high school. Friends of my parents attempting conversation with me asked their go-to question: ”Where are you going to college?” I’d tell them OHIO, and they’d wink at me or nudge me with an elbow and say something like, “big party school, eh?”

No, I am not attending this particular institution because of something so trivial as a school’s party rep. I also appreciate you questioning the morality of my leisure activities, random stranger who knew my father in middle school.

A lot of people do attend OU because they went to Palmer Fest the week after their 18th birthdays and fell in love with their blurry memories of kegstands and horse cops.

However, I fell in love with Athens after visiting my brother and witnessing the kind of awesome things that happened beyond his East State house’s rotting floorboards and Natty-stenched walls. He had a one-of-a-kind bond with a group of guys that was attractive. I wanted friends like that. The way my brother talked about the town, the teams, the students-- that was attractive. I wanted to be a part of that.

The thing about the fests that irks me the most is the non-OU students’ complete disregard of laws, respect, and the university. When you study here, you begin to have a love for Athens. Your friends from Kent State and Bowling Green just don’t get it, no matter how many times you tell them how awesome it is to have grass grow at your school.

Miami Redhawks come for the weekend, make their marks via porch-couch vomit, and then they leave with no regard for College Green squirrels or Donkey’s refreshing chai. What’s worse, OU students get to take on that reputation.

A year from now when it’s time to interview for a job, I’ll be sitting there with a possible future employer. He or she will look at my resume, see OHIO, wink at me or nudge me with an elbow and say something like, “big party school, eh?”

Then I'll reply.

“…and a nationally ranked journalism program."

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