Today I bring my daughter back to college. Whatever knowledge she acquired during her first semester has no doubt worn off by now. Besides, I was growing a little weary of those “I’m eighteen years old and you can’t tell me what to do can you drive me to my friend’s house?” arguments.
The month she was home went by quickly, as many pandemics seem to do. There were so many fun times, although none of them actually involved the two of us. She retrieved her grades, which were a mild disappointment to anyone actually betting on her failing out. Still, mathematically speaking, she will have to earn a 16.2 GPA this coming semester to have her overall cumm soar into mediocrity. I told her that I believe she is capable of achieving GREATNESS, as long as she doesn’t let her attempt to get an education stand in her way.
The ride back up to school will be poignant. A tear will likely be shed, albeit mostly due to the mold levels in her college town. “Someone can breed penicillin up here with just an air sample,” I once told her. “What’s penicillin?” she asked. Perhaps I just should have created a bonfire with her tuition money.
But once we get back to the dorms, her roommates and other assorted friends will rush to see her, spinning tales of tattoos and piercings and academic probation. Yes, there will be a lot of catching up to do. They’ll run back to their rooms, giggling, leaving me alone by the car with her duffel bags of clean laundry and tubs of extra-fatty snack foods. Perhaps she will remember to come back and get them. Perhaps I will shrug my shoulders and merely offer them to the first hobo who passes by.
Either way, I will drive back home with one less child in my day-to-day life, and I think I’m OK with that. And by “OK” I mean deliriously happy almost to the point of losing my mind. What can I say? I’m just an old softie.
It was Family Weekend at my daughter’s college!
We packed our bags and donned our school colors (mauve and chartreuse, natch) and coasted into the campus parking lot at about 10:30 Saturday morning. And I mean “coasted”; I miscalculated how much gasoline we would need.
Regardless, our first order of business was to immediately forgo the college president’s State Of The College address (I mean, really?) and make a beeline to the real heart of this learning establishment — the campus bookstore. I was rather surprised to see how few actual books there were in the place, but I guess they needed the space for more college-branded merchandise. Sweatshirts. Pajama pants. Beanies. Coffee mugs. Tampons. I bought one of each.
We were then directed to the large field for a pep rally, featuring a squad of peppy cheerleaders leading us in cheers. I have never seen such pep! The climax of the program came when some of the larger leaders of cheer peppily tossed some of the smaller leaders of cheer several feet into the atmosphere. At that point, the cheerleading Captain explained to the crowd that by this time next week, the squad should be proficient at CATCHING them.
This was followed by a short intermission to clean up the mess. PEP!
Then came a rugby match between the home team and a small herd of ruffians from a neighboring college or penitentiary. For the uninitiated, rugby is a game similar to football, only stupider. Kind of like a bar fight with a ball inexplicably thrown in. We stayed until the end of first half, when a majority of the players on both teams were declared mortally wounded.
The next big activity was the hay ride. It IS autumn, after all! So, we stood alongside the other parents and watched as bales of hay rode around in a wagon pulled by a tractor. True, the hay looked like it was having a blast; however, it would have been more fun FOR US if they would have let people ride too. Perhaps next year.
And at long last came the Mauve And Chartreuse Dinner, with the finest regional delicacies slightly north-central New York State can offer. Like, um, steak-ums. And, uh, baked potato, baked to its mushiest perfection. But perhaps the high-point of the meal was the 199-proof grain alcohol, home-distilled by the good guys at Alpha Tau Epipen fraternity. Surprisingly, not all of this nectar was consumed, but don’t worry about the left-overs. What the families didn’t drink was used to strip the finish off the paddles to be used at next year’s Rush Week. Way to recycle, boys!
In the end it’s hard to imagine one family having so much college-drenched fun in just one weekend. In fact, we had so much fun, we had about zero time to spend with our daughter (and I really wish she would have stopped texting me all day). But the way I see it, there will be plenty of time to spend with her AFTER she drops out.
My daughter has been away at college since the third week of August. Since that time, there have been texts, phone calls, Skype sessions and even a “care package”. And let me say, my daughter’s choice of snacks to send us has a lot to be desired.
But about two weeks ago, she announced that she will be visiting. Why? I wondered. I mean, wasn’t I paying a large sum of money to have her be Iona College’s problem? I decided to send just such an inquiry to the Dean of Students.
His reply was a little convoluted—something about there being a distinction between a college and a gulag. A gulag? Isn’t that a type of alien, I asked. Surprisingly, the Dean has yet to respond to any of my 10 follow-up emails. Probably something wrong with the campus server.
In any event, when my daughter finally came walking up to the house, I almost didn’t recognize her. Her posture was a little straighter, her gait was a little more confident and her piercings were a lot more numerous. Oh yeah, and a lot more shiny. My wife and I congratulated her on keeping all her metalwork so tarnish-free. You know, not many college freshmen take the time to keep up with their appearance. My wife and I are just lucky I guess.
I half-expected her to bring home about a month’s worth of dirty laundry, but my daughter assured me that most of those clothes simply disintegrated. So I imagine I will have start dipping into my son’s college fund in order to replenish my daughter’s wardrobe. Can’t have my daughter walking around campus naked—or she’ll be bringing something ELSE home with her next time and it won’t be dirty laundry.
At dinner, I asked my daughter about her classes. “I hate them! They’re filthy!” Apparently she thought I said GLASSES. I guess kids don’t clean their ears much in college either, which leads me to believe that she probably isn’t getting too much out of her lectures. Unless she’s actually learning how to read lips.
Oh, who am I kidding here.
Today, my freshman daughter was to move into her dorm room. You know, the one she has to share with two other girls. Athough she is not planning to study the hard sciences, my daughter did get an education in physics, namely, that a year’s worth of wardrobe is not going to fit into three shallow dresser drawers.
We got to the room first, meaning my daughter had her choice of beds. Without hesitation, she picked the top bunk, which has about eight inches of clearance between the mattress and the ceiling. Given her height and the area in which she has to work, I estimated that it will take my daughter approximately one hour to make her bed each morning. Which is why I totally expect her to completely give up on it by this Tuesday. The latest.
In addition, my wife and I made a bet as to how many times she will will smack her skull against the ceiling during her initial week of college. My wife says fifteen times. I say far fewer, given the fact that I fully expect her to lose consciousness after only the first or second occurence. Either way, I am banking on the college reinstating the study of phrenology, if only so that my daughter can earn a few extra bucks as a teaching aid.
Kinda like Gift Of The Magi but without the useful lesson in the end.
My daughter and I are going on the second leg of the Great 1962 College World Tour.
Fortunately, we plan on remaining in the central New York State part of the world.
In fact, we will be visiting our illustrious State capital, somewhere in the vicinity of Albany. If my dim memories of geography class are correct.
I suppose that if we are visiting the State capital, we should do something senatorial. Perhaps we will overspend our budget. Or yield to special interest groups. Or have affairs and then deny them and then admit to them and then leave office to “spend more time with our families”.
Yeah. Maybe we will do some of those things.