Just Like the Year in Review, But it Hasn’t Happened Yet

By Jeffrey Carl

Jeffrey Carl UR Column
University of Richmond Collegian, April 14 1994

It occurs to me now that topical humor from college campuses nearly 30 years ago does not age well. I’m sure it was absolutely hilarious at the time, though. Enjoy!

Editor’s Note: I lied.

We here at The Collegian pride ourselves on being responsive to our readers.  We are also responsive to being poked by sticks.  Go figure.

It is customary at this point in the academic year for many editorialists to provide a year’s-end wrap-up of all the fascinating things that have happened this year.  That’s boring with a capital “D.”  I mean, you already know what happened, so what’s so exciting about that?  Which is why, as a service to our readers, we are presenting a wrap-up of next year.

1994-5 AT THE UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND:

 AN ODD YEAR

• Aug. 28, 1994: Returning to school, the Board of Trustees finds that its accountant has invested the University’s endowment in several bad blackjack games in Las Vegas over the summer and then took the last few remaining thousand dollars to buy a one-way ticket to Nepal.  Comments one board member, “I guess this means the ‘Jepson School of TV and VCR Repair and Refrigeration Technology’ deal is off.”

• Aug. 31: The University Police launches on a bold plan of “getting tough on campus crime.”  First step: all parking tickets after the fifth ticket result in the University taking your car away and selling it for spare parts.

• Sep. 7: As a publicity stunt, the members of campus band “9 Divine” kill themselves onstage.  This performance statement is met with overwhelming response from music critics, although it is uncertain whether the praise is for their supreme dedication to art in music or just because they waxed themselves.  The band members, currently dead at the present time, are unable to be reached for comment.

• Sep. 14: Looking for some extra cash, the University begins loaning out Westhampton Lake as a toxic waste disposal site.  Russian whaling ships are occasionally seen on the lake, late at night, dumping nuclear waste.

• Sep. 20: The University administration adds a last-minute addendum to fall fraternity Rush rules: nobody is allowed to Rush.

• Oct. 3: Campus religous groups unite for the second “Pray for Revival” campaign.  It is declared a qualified success when the voice of God orders TV stations to revive episodes of “The Jeffersons.”  “We’re getting closer,” says one Baptist Student Union representative.

• Oct. 9: To save on food expenses, the residence hall water fountains are removed.  The University dumps 850 lbs. of Kool-Aid mix into the fountain in the administrative triangle and tells everyone to go there if they get thirsty.

• Oct. 20: The first Virginia senatorial debate between Oliver North, Douglas Wilder and Aerosmith Girl is held in the Robins Center.  After the debate, North is offered an honorary Doctorate of Leadership from the Jepson School, but turns it down.  “What I really wanted was a degree in refrigeration technology or TV and VCR repair,” he explains.

• Nov. 12: Due to budget cutbacks as a result of the infamous “Puppy Chow incident,” the E. Bruce Heilman Dining Center saves money by switching to serving Swanson “Hungry Man” dinners.

• Nov. 29: The third “Pray for Revival” campaign is launched, but due to a typographical error, everyone ends up praying for “revisal.”  Within a week, all term papers on campus are mysteriously cleared of spelling and grammar problems.  “Well, it was a simple mistake,” explains one Campus Crusade for Christ member, “but the important thing is that we’re getting results.”

• Dec. 2: In a seemingly unrelated incident, Bob Vila of “This Old House” is found dead at home with a suicide note and a power drill.

• Dec. 8: The police announce that they have made two arrests as a result of an investigation started when they received a complaint that someone was stealing everything on campus every night and replacing it with an exact duplicate before everyone got up.  “Now you know why we have guns,” explains one police officer.

• Dec. 16: The school is covered in over 16 feet of snow in a freak blizzard.  Students are advised to crawl out second-floor windows onto the snow to get to exams.

• Jan. 12, 1995: Students return to classes.  That’s it.  Nothing funny happens.

•  Jan. 18: Due to further budget cutbacks, the D-Hall switches to the even less expensive Swanson “Big, Sweaty Man” dinners and Hostess “Zingers” for dessert.

• Feb. 16: The fourth “Pray for Revival” campaign ends in failure as Vivarin mystically appears in everyone’s food and the campus collectively gets wired and stays up for five days.   “It’s nice because I had extra study time,” explains one student, “but I think my eyeballs are drying out.  I haven’t blinked for three days.”

• Feb. 25: Getting desperate, the University announces that it has begun investing in magic beans it bought from some guy on the way to market.

• Feb. 29: The University police announce that they are opening an investigation on reports that the trees around the lake uproot themselves and walk around campus at night and eat the campus dogs.

• March 3: The University forces the Shanghai Quartet to play on downtown street corners for spare change.  Within a week, two members have been mugged, another has been killed in a drive-by shooting and another has given up the cello to become a pimp.

• March 6: A large, black, rectangular monolith appears on campus and is taken to the Gottwald Science Building for study.  Soon thereafter, the UR Vax computer goes insane and attempts to cut off the life support systems of the hibernating scientists and crush one of the student assistants in its mechanical arms outside the ship.  Fortunately, no one is hurt because there really isn’t anybody in suspended animation and the UR Vax doesn’t have mechanical arms, and it’s not on a spaceship.  The old Vax 8000 computer is soon replaced when the school buys a new mainframe, the updated HAL 9000.

• March 26: The University’s use of the lake as a toxic waste dump ends in a debacle as a particularly bad algae bloom develops consciousness and crawls out of the lake and begins eating the Commons.  “Look,” explains a Board of Trustees member, “nobody was using the downstairs room anyway.”

• April 2: The D-Hall, denied funds again after the infamous “fried or baked sloth” incident, shifts as a final cost-cutting measure to serving only Taco Bell seven-layer burritos and tater-tots, with “Crisco-sicles” for dessert.

• April 16: The University begins spending the last few dollars in its bank account on Virginia state lottery tickets.  “Well, somebody has to win,” explains one trustee.

• April 19: The fifth and final “Pray for Revival” campaign ends in disaster as the dead come alive again and walk the earth as zombies preying on the living.  Former Chancellor Boatwright is seen in the library, terrorizing students with overdue books and eating Lexis/Nexis terminals.  Massive turmoil is caused as long-dead Confederate veterans begin holding New Jersey students hostage and repeatedly calling up the WDCE request line to request “Freebird.”  “Sorry,” explains one Baptist Student Union member after the turmoil dies down, “next time we’ll be more specific about what we want to be revived.”

• May 4: The University of Richmond’s ship finally comes in as one of the lottery tickets it had invested in pays off and the endowment is restored.  When asked about the lucky lottery success, one board member simply replies, “We’re going to Disneyland!”

Pretty exciting year, wasn’t it?  You betcha.  Well, that’s all the space for this week, so keep those letters and marriage proposals (please include photo) coming to:

Over-the-Cliff Notes Groupie Club

c/o The Collegian Ministry of Propaganda

Freestyler Hanes Commons

University of Wisconsin, VA. 5150

CORRECTIONS: Last week’s column may have contained some statements which were perhaps a little misleading.  Okay, I lied like the dog I am.  Deal with it.  See you next year.

End of the Column as We Know it

By Jeffrey Carl

Jeffrey Carl UR Column
University of Richmond Collegian, April 6 1994

It occurs to me now that topical humor from college campuses nearly 30 years ago does not age well. I’m sure it was absolutely hilarious at the time, though. Enjoy!

Editor’s Note: Next week, this strip will be replaced by something wholesome like “Beetle Bailey.”  We promise.

We here at The Collegian pride ourselves on being responsive to our readers.  And we’d like to thank all six of you for reading us this year.

This column is the final installment in the “Over-the-Cliff Notes” series. This issue marks the end of this column’s tireless crusade against crime, injustice, the vile forces of International Communism, and people who drive too slow.  It has been a kooky year, but good writers know when it’s time to call it quits.  And then they pass this information along to bad writers like me.

You may ask yourself, “But why?  What has led this man to abandon the vast, sprawling comic empire he has created?”  You may say to yourself, “This is not my beautiful house!”  You may say to yourself, “My God!  What have I done?”

You may also stop quoting Talking Heads songs and seriously wonder why this is the end of the line.  A sign from the heavens came to me: earlier this week, I played in a softball game against the Law School team.  And they kicked our asses.  Now, it’s one thing to have your softball team get crushed like a chihuahua in a sheet-metal press.  It’s another thing entirely to get your butt kicked by people who you recommended  in the newspaper to be executed by fumigation.  This was  like a sign from God, except it was smaller and it didn’t appear on flaming stone tablets.

Furthermore, I’m getting old and cranky.  I’m just not the zany youngster I used to be.  I’m watching “Matlock,” playing shuffleboard, and showing people pictures of my grandchildren.  And I don’t even have grandchildren.  I just show people these blank little pieces of paper, and tell them my grandchildren are albinos.

So I have decided to leave this business to the youngsters.  As a parting salvo, I thought I’d include some simple directions on how to write a column yourself.  Go ahead: it’s fun, it’s easy, and it will keep the Op/Ed section editor from tearing his hair out and drinking rubbing alcohol like he does whenever I turn in a column.

The supplies for column-writing are simple:

1. Notepad and pencils

2. Small Macintosh computer

3. Pent-up angst or other mental disorder

4. Two or three bottles of Old Crow or Wild Turkey

Perhaps you’re asking, “But do I have what it takes to be a writer?”  Well, let me tell you a little story that had a lot to do with my deciding to become a columnist.

I was working at my summer job as an intern for the People’s Revolutionary Marxist Army of Angola, answering the phone, taking dictation, and organizing massive air strikes against reactionary government outposts in the mountains.  I was in the office one morning when we were attacked by a government tank battallion and overwhelmed.  I barely managed to escape into the jungle, with only a rifle, several food rations, a staple gun, and a bottle of Scotch which I had been using as a paperweight.

Fortunately, I had received survival training during my days on “American Gladiators”: I knew 50 ways to kill a man with a straw, and another three or four with the wrapper.  I lived off the fat of the land: killing lions with my bare hands, bathing in waterfalls, and flossing with the staples.  But at last I realized that I was going to be late for my racquetball game with the Pope that Thursday and I was running low on Scotch, so I was forced to try to make a break for civilization.

I made my way through the outback to a small roadside café near Zimbabwe with attractive decor and reasonable prices.  I was going to ask if I could use the phone when I saw her.  She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, and when our eyes met I knew that it was meant to happen.  Her lithe, gorgeous figure sashayed over to me from across the room while my heart fluttered like a butterfly trapped in a Pop-O-Matic bubble in the board game “Trouble.”  She stood in front me there and whispered softly the three words that would change my life: “Don’t touch me.”  Then she walked away.

I became inconsolably depressed and decided to commit suicide.  I grabbed a gun, put it in my mouth, and pulled the trigger.  Unfortunately, it was a BB gun and I only gave myself horribly bruised tonsils.  I turned wildly and grabbed another gun and repeated the process, but it was a water gun and I nearly drowned myself.  Two tries later, after a suction-dart gun and a lighter shaped like a revolver, I decided it was no use.  I would just have to pick up the pieces of my life and go on.

Hmm … I guess that actually really didn’t have anything to do with writing columns.  Oops.

Anyway, the point is that you don’t have to have writing skill, talent, an opinion, or even a point to write columns.  And look – somebody’s gotta do it.  So why not you?  To get you started, here’s some sample topics:

•  “Sex: it’s not just for breakfast anymore”

• “‘Spider Web’ and Satan-worshipping: the hidden link,” or “Pray for Registration”

• “Boy, are my bowels acting up lately”

• “Shouldn’t we have a third side of campus for transvestites?”

• “We should have a Hitler Studies program”

• “Campus ducks: the hidden heroes of UR”

• “We should have a Fabio Studies program”

• “Terrorism: frankly, it’s just tacky”

• “I have a grudge against the Greek system so I take it even more seriously than Greeks do”

Oops.  Sorry.  That’s been taken already.

• “Montel Williams: he’s one damn fine American and I want him to bear my children”

• “Have you had your prostate examined recently?”

• “We should have a Gilligan Studies program here.”

• “Earthquakes: what’s up with that?”

• “Beer: I like it.”

Well, that’s all the time we have for this week.  Write some columns of your own and make this world a better place, or at least a stranger one.  Good night, and good riddance.