There are a few major questions in my life. Here they are.
Number 1: Why did I buy an Annie Lennox CD? I don’t even remember doing this. I mean, did I go into Tower Records thinking, “Hmmm….maybe I’ll get an Annie Lennox CD today” one day? Did that really happen?
Number 2: Who, exactly, thought “Shrek” was funny? Names and numbers, please.
Number 3: Why did Steve Sanders always look five years older than the other kids at Beverly Hills High?
Number 4: I’m a senior. Did I fall asleep?
Number 5: Suede goes bad in the rain. Aren’t cows outside a lot?
Number 6: No one caught on to Liberace until the early ’80s?
Number 7: Are the majority of Gourmet Heaven’s products lined with pure gold? Cocaine? Jimmy Hoffa’s ashes? Is the store located in an airport? How the HELL do they get off charging what they charge?
But all of these questions, as mystifying and profound as the scene in which the velociraptors let everyone go at the end of “Jurassic Park III,” pale when compared to this one: Where did all this stuff come from?
I’m sitting in my room, writing this and trying to disregard a stack of boxes more or less the size of Mount Kilimanjaro. I know what you’re thinking — it’s probably books, clothes, posters, stuff I’ll need for the new year. Well, you’re dead wrong. As far as I can tell (and I haven’t ventured too deep into the stack — look what happened to that weird woman in “Poltergeist”) the bulk of what I chose to store consists of a) old magazines and b) every word I have ever committed to paper. I’m not quite sure when I thought I would have the time to sit down with a Zima and read all of this garbage. Do I really want to read about how Gretchen Mol is going to be the next big thing? We all know that Rounders is a modern classic (see: Johnny KGB) but I have to put my foot down and say that I’m only going to read NEW magazines from now on.
All of this rant is by way of getting to the parties section of the column. For the freshmen who have yet to figure it out, this space is supposed to be devoted to the fascinating whirlwind that is the Yale party scene. It’s good that the News has someone covering this stuff; at any time Swifty Lazar’s Oscar Party is liable to break out in Farnham. (By the way, does Farnham exist? I don’t think I’ve ever seen it or been there.)
Yet your faithful correspondent, bursting with witty insights and ponderous, awkward column endings, has been restricted from his usual nocturnal rambling. I’m stuck in my room, sifting through old DS papers about the Nicomachean Ethics. Sweet.
I’ve managed to fight through the junk a few times, though, and this is what I’ve found: this city is ridiculously fun when you’re 21. Yep, the cat is out of the bag. I wasn’t 21 before this summer, and I’ve been getting into bars and R-rated movies using every spy trick John LeCarre ever taught me. Boy, did I pull the wool over their eyes. I expect the people at Toad’s are feeling pretty foolish, right about now.
Speaking of which, I took the plunge and went to Toad’s last night. Has anyone seen the sign outside of that place? It says “no skull caps,” “no Timberlands” and “no jerseys.” I’m no Anna Deavere, but is there, ahem, a theme to these restrictions? I never would have thought Toad’s could be racist, but the writing is on the wall. What’s especially interesting is that Toad’s is a Yale-owned property. I think this could be a pretty big story, for a real reporter. Richard Levin and Jesse Helms: an expose. He DID visit Bush, so we can assume he’s Republican. Louise Story and Elyssa Folk, get on it. I’m expecting six articles apiece by morning. I just won one of you a Pulitzer.
(By the way, when did we all get this soft and fuzzy feeling about Jesse Helms? When he said he was going to retire? Let’s not forget that this man’s favorite joke is to call all black men “Fred.” This isn’t exactly like Mr. Rogers leaving last Friday. THAT I shed a tear for; this is the man who assured me that I would never go down the drain, the central fear of my early life.)
Despite the sign, I had fun at Toad’s. I was in Paris this summer and there the bars are a little bit chi-chi, even when they try to be down and dirty. At first it was disconcerting to stick to the floor when I tried to walk, but eventually I got into the spirit of things and splashed some beer around. I miss my friends who graduated, but that’s OK because now we all have new friends: freshmen girls …
This is all the party news I have. I mean, we’ve had the usual assortment of Kav’s, apartment parties and all the ragers in CCL. But it’s been a pretty quiet start to the year. I hope things pick up, or I may be out of a job. Though I could start a cottage industry by selling off old magazines on the corner of Elm and High. Do you think YES might give me the fifty thousand bucks?
Charles Finch is a senior in Berkeley.