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!
Editor’s note: This guy is just a columnist. He doesn’t reflect the opinions of the editors. He’s just some jerk we found in the gutter and chained to a Macintosh and we don’t like him anyway and he smells bad and … hey … wait a second. I’ve been writing these “Editor’s notes” for close to two years now and I just realized … I am the editor of this section. Uh … screw all that other stuff I said before. This “Jeff Carl” person is obviously a damn fine American and it is the firm opinion of the editor that you should bow three times a day, face Apartment 302 and worship him, plus send all your money. Good night and God bless.
We here at The Collegian pride ourselves on being responsive to our readers. Yeah, my ass we do. Anyway.
I hereby quit.
I’m sick of all this crapola [Spanish for “9 Divine”]. This is my final column.
But why, you ask?
In my brief, three-year career in journalism, Ihave been threatened with a lawsuit, been threatened with having “the living s–t” beaten out of me by people I called “sissy boys” [see last week], received stern letters from my professors about using bad words, been damn-near disowned by my fraternity, shot at (okay, so that didn’t actually have as much to do with being a “journalist” as being a “trespasser”), received hate mail from the Westmoreland County librarian, gotten fan mail from the Callao County Medium Security Correctional Facility and been called everything from “a poop-brain” to “a poop-head.”
Being a columnist isn’t all kibbles and bits, you know. Comedy is a serious business. Do you realize how difficult it is to fill 800 words with stupid cracks at 9 Divine whilst overusing the term “a mild cheese sauce?”
Frankly, it’s really not worth it. I’ve worked for The Collegian for three years now, and what has it even given me? Pain! Anguish! Hangnails … Leg cramps … Dogs piddle on me … “Chicks” for some reason just don’t “dig” me … They pay me in stupid worthless beads and shiny bottlecaps just because I listened to Nimchek’s advice and insisted in getting all my pay in “fiat currency” … Chick-Fil-A still refuses to give any sort of “Columnist Discount,” although most liquor stores do … and I still haven’t been named “WCGASenator of the Month.”
Ergo [Latin for “therefore”], I’m giving this crappy [Latin for “like crap”] racket up. Maybe I’ll do something that people respect more, like clubbing baby seals or mugging blind nuns.
Once upon a time I thought that plenty of people here lacked a sense of humor. Well, I believe I’ve spent the last two years proving it.
In that time, I’ve systematically attempted to cheese off everybody there is to cheese – if you haven’t been offended, don’t worry, it was a clerical error, please send in your name and I’ll offend you personally – and you know what? Some people actually didn’t think that my abusing them and dragging their name through the mud was funny.
But, you may ask, aren’t there any benefits to being a Collegian columnist?
But, admittedly, you do get to complain about things. You also have the ability to irritate people on a campus-wide scale, instead of just those in close proximity to you. In fact, you can inspire people you’ve never even met before to hate you.
Also, Collegian columnists have lucrative endorsement deals with Charter Westbrook hospital (“Depressed? Can’t stop crying? Still writing 800 words about ‘9 Divine’ and ‘a mild cheese sauce?’ Get help.”)
Maybe it would just be easier – certainly more lucrative – for all of the columnists here to give up writing and use their new-found fame to market their own products:
• Paul Caputo’s “It’s All Greek to Me” souvlaki and gyros restaurant. All the food is bitter.
• The Scott Shepard Keg-erator: icy cold, inhuman, mechanical and usually full of alcohol.
• Mike Nimchek’s “Sanskrit Translations of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ anthology” : obscure, well-nigh-impossible to read and completely paraphrased from Ayn Rand.
• The Brian C. Jones Safety Handgun: lots of bullets and no points.
• And the Jeffrey D. R. S. Carl Automatic Monkey Shucker: It’s just … strange.
The point of all this being that I’ve had it. “But what you said wasn’t true,” people will say.
Excuses, excuses. If a frog had wings, it wouldn’t bump its ass hopping.
Of course it isn’t true. It’s a joke. Jokes are not real. Do I really think RCSGA senators should be used as firewood? No. Do I really suggest an InterVarsity ChristianFellowship “Rush event” with a “Fish and Loaves Picnic?” No. Am Ian eight-foot-tall marsupial with small vestigial wings and a thick German accent? Well, kind of. No! I make fun of myself more than I make fun of anyone else. Having a sense of humor is not that important. Having a sense of humor about yourself is. You have no right to laugh at anyone else if you can’t laugh at yourself.
I tried to point out how silly it was to take some things seriously (popularity, envy, sorority Rush, scurvy, the Black Plague) by making them seem as silly as possible. I tried to make everybody laugh, regardless of who got their feelings hurt or how tasteless it might have been. I took no prisoners and butchered every sacred cow and served it up as “cole slaw” at The Pier, assuming everyone else would laugh at their own foolishness as easily as I did. I was wrong.
And now I really don’t care enough to keep at it. Truth be told, there’s plenty of other things to do with my free time, most of which don’t involve smelling the asbestos and film developer in The Collegian’s office (proven probably not to always necessarily cause cancer in some laboratory pledges) and none of which involve getting fan mail from prison.
I could take up bungee jumping … learn ritual suicide techniques (for the next time I’m in Indiana) … be a roadie for the 1995 Monsters of Rock tour with Van Halen and Timbuk3 … stay home and watch every hour of the O.J. Simpson trial coverage on E! anchored by Kathleen Sullivan, a fashion consultant and a blob of grayish mold shaped like Walter Cronkite … or just run around campus screaming “Yahtzee!” at the top of my lungs. The possibilities are endless.
And I won’t miss it at all.