On Sunday night, I observed one of the most ridiculous, hilarious, drunken spectacles of my life. A certain hammered senior, alone in our hallway, was making the best of his last days in this twilight zone we call Yale by playing a mean air guitar to the solo in “November Rain.” Nothing would come between this man and his rocking. I didn’t know what was more ridiculous — the fact that it was a Sunday night, the fact that he pulled his pants up to simulate the tightness of Slash’s pants, or the fact that this kid would be graduating from Yale in just a few weeks.
But then it all made sense — I felt like Neo at the end of the first “Matrix” — see, more people at Yale need to let loose and play air guitar. Our time here is brief, made briefer by mind-erasing drinking binges and three-hour naps. We have to enjoy those few precious hours of consciousness. I’m about to conclude my second year, and I don’t even know where it went. None of us believed our parents when they told us high school would fly by, and none of us believed them when they said college would go even faster. But like Ryan from “The OC,” they always ended up being right. It’s a scary thought. So, heed the warning given in the movie “Road Trip” when E.L. says, “Think about it Josh, you’re in college. The window of opportunity to drink and do drugs and take advantage of young girls is getting smaller by the day.”
This is where second semester reading week comes in — definitely the best week at Yale. And yes, that’s even including Transgender Week. As we all know, it starts with Tang and Buffett Bash on Sunday, blazing the trail for debauchery and splendid awfulness for the next seven days.
Perhaps it is the bitterness of April that makes this second helping of reading week so sweet. Midterms and papers bombard us, March Madness is but a fond memory, the sun doesn’t show its face for a full month, and fall sports teams have super-important spring practices. I swear this is all a curse put on us by that scary gypsy lady that chills outside of Morse. I accidentally made eye contact with her the other day — she’s probably making a voodoo doll of me as we speak.
But reading week is the one thing she can’t ruin. Like a guardian angel, it floats over us and promises that everything will be alright. “Don’t fret,” it whispers, “you just make sure the keg is still flowing and I’ll take care of the rest.” And whaddya know, somehow, you make it through the week alive. Sure, maybe you arm-wrestled a homeless man for a piece of Popeye’s chicken, or now when you urinate it burns, but more or less, the guardian angel kept its promise.
For seniors, that guardian angel is working overtime trying to meet multiple deadlines. This is their last chance to drink forties without people offering to buy them a hot meal. It’s their last time to go to Toad’s without being referred to as “the creepy has-been.” It’s time for one more sloppy trip to A1 at 3:30 in the morning only to get scammed for a $13 slice of pizza. It’s a final opportunity to hook up with the president’s daughter, or to use the eloquent Kanye West line “I’ma play this Vandross, you gon’ take your pants off” while it’s still “hip,” or to piss off of the roof of Payne Whitney. Well, maybe those last three are just dreams of mine.
But dream I shall, for this is college. Too many people here forget that. After this, there will be plenty of time to work, to talk about “issues,” to gripe, and to be mature. But for now, realize that there are good times to be had; there are things here that will never be offered to us once we leave our bubble. So, do not ridicule the drunk senior playing air guitar. Rather, embrace him.
Pick up your air guitar, make your pants nice and tight, and join him in rocking out. Live like a senior — I know I will … That is, at least until I have those things called finals. Alas, it seems the gypsy lady will prevail after all.
Carl Williott is going to play “Sail Away” by Styx in a 15-hour air guitar medley on Cross Campus beginning Friday at noon.