Thursday, September 15, 2005


I'm cheating a little. I wrote this last fall after an encounter with three sets of parents in a row who drove me right up the wall. Yesterday, an encounter on the way home from work reminded me why I wrote it.

The years roll by, but the students (and their parents) change not.

Handy Info for New Students and Their Parents

1. Contrary to appearances, I am not a member of the janitorial or groundskeeping staffs. I know this will come as a shock to you, as your sheltered life in the upper Midwest leads to you believe all persons less white than a bar of Ivory soap arrived yesterday from Mexico or Africa and aspire to careers in leaf blowing. But you're in the big city now. So try to adapt. (And by the way, don't talk to the janitors or gardeners that way, either.)

2. Yes, thank you, I do speak excellent English. I can write it, too! Isn't a Harvard education a wonderful thing?

3. No, I am not looking at your daughter like that. Now that you've pointed her out, I do question your wisdom at letting her wear an ill-fitting belly shirt and droopy sweat pants with the name of the school written across the seat. If one's ass is wide enough to serve as a billboard for the lengthy name of a prominent university, one should probably not emphasize it.

4. Yes, I am gay. No, I'm not the first one you've ever seen. I may, however, be the first one you've seen who isn't married (possibly to your wife) and lying about it.

5. I'm not looking at your son that way, either. He should be so lucky.

6. I arrived at college with a steamer trunk, five boxes of books, and a suitcase. It is not my fault that your child could not travel as lightly. If you require help in carrying your kid's Disney Princess bidet up five flights of stairs, don't hesitate to ask for assistance. From somebody else.

7. Here in Chicago we are fond of the concept of "walking distance." The space between Point A to Point B, if it can be covered in roughly five minutes or less, is "walking distance." If you insist on driving your Hummer the three blocks from your hotel to the dormitory and then cannot find any place to park, don't look to me for sympathy.

8. There is no McDonald's in the neighborhood. No, seriously. You may have to try eating actual food for lunch. I'm terribly sorry. Please stop crying.

9. For the student. If you are going to ask me a question, please do the following first. 1) Take the earphones out of your ears. 2) Hang up the cell phone. 3) Stop text messaging your best friend Caitlin at Michigan State. What's that you say? Multitasking? Well, I can multitask, too. I can write a memo, get my job done, and ignore your rude ass all at the same time.

10. For the parents. News flash: Within 24 hours of your departure, your little darling will either have gotten profoundly drunk or participated in an orgy. Or more likely done both simultaneously. We call this "multitasking."

Welcome to the University! Have a pleasant year!


Sahara said...

made me laugh out loud. Thanks, I needed that!

Sandee said...

Your post made me laugh as well! The brightest spot so far in my morning!

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of some of the reasons I'm glad I'm not longer an academic. The life skills of some 'nice middle class' students are frighteningly bad.

My condolences about the experiences you've had this week that made you post this.

geogrrl said...

Excellent comments! And, coming from someone else ensconced in a university environment, quite accurate.

Anonymous said...

I don't even know how to start... I remember seeing the people who moved in to the dorms like that and thinking that it wasn't a very positive first impression. I like to think that I, myself, wasn't such a nightmare. Life has taught me that treating people disrespectfully will come back to bite you, which is doubly true on a college campus.

Best of luck avoiding the general idiocy of the new Frosh (and the upperclassmen as well).

Anonymous said...

I actually worked for the University you attended. Hell, I might even have checked you out...

Oops :-)

And what is it with those belly shirts and widebody ads on the ass, favourites are the glittery-letter ones. Yeek.

TurnipToes said...

funny...because it is true. I always wonder how these people do not realize that is how they appear to others. *boggle*

Alyssa said...

You are so funny. I'm so glad I have very little contact with the undergrads, just grad students - fewer parents at least:) Just try to keep your sense of humor and it will be over soon (at least for this year).

Unknown said...

Clearly the young ladies wearing the butt-crack sweat pants never saw Dan Ackroyd as the refrigerator repairman on SNL.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like it could equally apply to the parents of New Trier students who end up at MY alma mater because they couldn't get into YOUR school. Haa.

Rebekah Ravenscroft-Scott said...

oh, it's all so true! in my neck of the woods (large, midwestern, land-grant university) the local radio station plays "Mow 'em Down!" every year about this time. It's a clever song about how amazingly stupid undergraduates are about traffic - "who me, jaywalking?"

birdfarm said...

Franklin - F#$%in hysterical. I think this represents your apotheosis. Perhaps we can raise Rubens from the dead and get him to paint it.

Marilyn - yes! The refrigerator repairman! Thanks for a second LOL.

Anonymous said...

That was great!
I think I love you.
Will you marry me?
No, really, I think we bonded.
Dave D

Anonymous said...

That's pretty funny. I don't have your eaddy, so I'll just put a link in here. I know your art, so you might appreciate this.

a quick morality test

Just a quick little test.


Rabbitch said...

I do believe I love you.

I also believe I am sooooo over my need for self-immolation in the form of working in a post-secondary educational institution (done it twice -- you'd think I'd learn).

And btw, I had my first drunken orgy BEFORE college, thank you very much.

Cher said...

Oh, Franklin, dear boy, thank you so much for that - I think I hurt myself laughing. God, how I don't miss NU and its lovely student body.

Anonymous said...

Hi - just found your blog and it's great. I work in student affairs and can sooo relate to your post. I don't work in residential life anymore but much of your comments could have been directly lifted from RHD 101.

Hope the term is shaping up better. We just opened on monday and I'm still in the "honeymoon" stage with students - by November I'm sure I'll hate them all.