Sunday, August 15, 2004

Enter the Curmudgeon

I'm not that old. Honestly I'm not. I've only been out of college for a few years. Well, it was graduate school. College was a few years before that. So when did I turn in to the old man that shakes his fist and curses the careless collegians when they step in front of moving vehicles? I guess I've grown up.

I live in Newark, Delaware. It's a college town home to the University of Delaware. Did I mention that our football team is the NCAA Division 1-AA Football National Champions? Go Blue Hens. I went there for 7 years including graduate school. I met my girlfriend there and with a little luck she's probably going to become my wife. We'll probably get our names in some UD alumni publication at that point. She's looking forward to seeing our names together in the UD Messenger, I couldn't care less. She doesn't live here anymore and I do. What can I say, familiarity has started to breed contempt.

Where am I going with this? You would think that by the time people get to college they would remember what they learned in kindergarten. No, not that stuff about numbers or the alphabet. I hope, they have that down. Well maybe not the business majors. No, I'm talking about common sense rule number one: Look both ways before you cross the street.

Is that too much to ask? Your mom only told you that a thousand times since you were old enough to walk! I drove down Main Street today. It was an ill-advised shortcut. I barely managed to avoid hitting several pedestrians and a few skate-boarding townies. Now this isn't because I'm some sort of careless driver who ignores crosswalks, etc. This is because these fools walked right out in front of a moving car without a care in the world or a glance in the direction of oncoming traffic. And I wasn't the only one this was happening to. And Main Street is one way, so they wouldn't even have to look both ways to get it right.

It's really sad too. There are essentially three leading causes for student mortality at Delaware. One, students get drunk and get hit by trains on one of the many railroad tracks just outside of campus. Perhaps they, like deer, are perplexed by the bright oncoming light and want to see if it will be friends with them. I don't know and they aren't here anymore to say. Two, they get drunk and fall from a great height like the window or balcony of a dormitory. Presumably this is preceded by "Hey Guys! Watch this!" Lastly, they get run over in local traffic.

Notice that the last one is the only case that doesn't involve the consumption of massive quantities of alcohol. Oh it can involve that granted, but usually it's just caused by pure unadulterated carelessness. If it was up to me, student orientation would include the entire freshman class reciting "I will look both ways before I cross the street. I will not play on railroad tracks. I will not dangle myself from great height to impress my fellow fools. I will use some fucking common sense." Frankly it's the least I could do in my orientation speech.

Man I feel old all of the sudden. God help me when I have kids. I might as well start shaking my fists now.

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