By Jeffrey Carl
Thanks to a bare modicum of writing skill and a more obvious fondness for bourbon which aligned with that of my journalism professors, my putative career advanced rapidly through my undergraduate years. I went from a practicum story writer for the University of Richmond Collegian student newspaper in my freshman year to Assistant News Editor in my sophomore year, then on to Greek Life Editor and IT Manager (I read MacWorld magazine!) in my junior year, and ultimately to Opinion Editor in my senior year.
For some reason that escapes me now, I acquired a humor column during this process at the beginning of my junior year. This column, titled “Over the Cliff Notes,” eventually ran for 22 installments and was over the course of two years was read by literally dozens of actual humans, only most of which where KA pledges I forced to do so. Its literary influence was quite literally incalculable, and I’m just going to leave it at that.
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!
We here at The Collegian pride ourselves on being responsive to our readers. Unfortunately, we also think we’re funny, which pretty much cancels out any chance we just had of doing something useful. Besides, I have the flu and I’m in a bad mood, but I’ll try to suck it up and get on with this column. So I guess it’s time to open that fruity-licious mailbag and pull out some piping-hot, hearty chunk-style letters.
Remember: all these letters are real, because if we made them up, it wouldn’t be funny.
Q: My apartment-mate keeps running around in only Spider-Man underoos, eating dirt and claiming to see this “Mr. Snuffallupagus” that none of the rest of us can see. What should I do?
Oh, okay, okay. That one was made up. But the rest are really real. I’m not kidding. Back to the mailbag…
Q: Does anybody actually understand girls?
In fact, it is well-established that even actual real-life girls don’t understand girls. In a recent survey, over 65 percent of girls that were asked, “Like, what’s up with chicks, you know?” responded with either “Huh?” or “I dunno.”
Indeed, my own research into the subject has been somewhat hindered by the fact that whenever I ask a girl out, they don’t actually respond, but rather drop to the floor, laughing hysterically and occasionally wetting themselves. This has made further research difficult.
However, medical science has made enormous advances in the past 20 years and some important discoveries have been made. Scientists have only recently discovered that:
• Girls have not been found to cause cancer in laboratory rats.
• Girls are much less likely to include “ESPN 2” as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
• One-third of guys were rated as “really messy;” the other 75 percent were declared “just totally disgusting slobs.”
• Girls do not actually have – as was previously believed – long, spiny wings or small vestigial tails.
• Research was found to cause cancer in laboratory rats.
What is the final conclusion that we may draw from this? Well, the conclusion I drew is that instead of facing an entire lifetime of rejection and ignominious failure being turned down by girls, I could just forget the whole thing and go to the vet’s and get “fixed” for about what I would have otherwise spent on one formal date. Next question?
Q: Are you really as grumpy and bitter in real life as you sound in your columns?
It’s not because I hate anybody in specific, I just hate people in general. It’s not that I hate you, I hate your whole family and your little dog, too, Dorothy. If any of you are freshmen men and you happen to meet someone during Rush (I won’t say where because I promised never to mention KA again in the newspaper) wearing a tie who seems to be mumbling Shakespeare and biting people who try to talk to him, it’s me.
The technical term for my sort of attitude is “curmudgeonly.” Most people just refer to it as, “boy is that guy an ass” or something similar.
Did you notice how this turned from an innocuous little “fake questions” column into a rambling tirade about how cranky I am? Well, tough noogies, Pretzel Boy. I’m grumpy and I have the flu and I have no compunctions about trying to make everybody else feel as rotten as me.
Where was I? Let’s see … my life … parade of shame and wasted lives … biting freshmen … the vet’s office … Biosphere II … small dogs dipped in crunchy batter and lightly fried … oh, yeah. I have the flu.
Influenza (or Influential Snifflus Vomitorium) is a virus carried by mosquitoes that live in the deserts of Morocco. It can only be cured by a series of extremely painful shots and is sometimes known to cause death, paralysis and minor stomach discomfort.
Consequently, I am forced to be miserable and skip classes when I otherwise would have been skipping classes and doing something fun. It is just no fun to skip classes when you have really have an excuse. Half the fun of skipping classes is inventing lame excuses like:
• “I had to go to the Dagobah system to seek the Jedi Master Yoda who would teach me the ways of the Force.”
• “I was playing racquetball with the Pope.”
• “I was dead on Wednesday, but I’m all better now.”
• “But I was here last class. You didn’t see me? Then it means … my invisibility serum works! It works! HA HA HA HA HA They said I was mad! Mad, I tell you! But I’ll show them all now! HA HA HA HA” and so on and such forth, the point still being that I’m sick and cranky and I hate everybody.
Q: Who do I call if I have problems registering?
A: Oh, and another thing. On top of all that, my mom got behind sending checks to everybody to get them to hang out with me, so all my “friends” stopped talking to me until their November checks clear. So I’m completely miserable and I’ll probably die of pneumonia and halitosis and stuff and nobody likes me and I’ll have to take my mom to our next formal and I hate everybody.
So why doesn’t everybody cheer me up? Huh? Well? Why don’t we have a special holiday just like Christmas, except everybody just gives presents to me? When am I going to be named WCGA Senator of the Month? Since when did the world stop revolving around me?
So what have we learned?
a) Don’t write newspaper columns when you’re sick.
b) Don’t stick a fork in an electrical socket.
c) Stop, drop, and roll.
d) If you ever run into me when I’m sick and I am this cranky to you, you have the right to slap me.