Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Don’t be boring:

It’s the dawn of a new semester. The next 15 weeks stretch out ahead of us like some glittering road into a mist-shrouded horizon. Anything can happen, right?

This will be the semester where we lose all that weight, start papers more than 12 hours before they’re due, drink only once a week, volunteer to do worthwhile community service, talk to our parents even when we don’t need money. This will be the semester when it all comes together.


Yeah. Whatever.

I guess it could happen, this surge of virtue. Maybe at the end of the semester, every person on campus will be sober, thin, glowing with righteousness and named to the dean’s list.

And maybe President Bush will rip off his head to reveal scales, fangs and tentacles before sloppily devouring Condoleeza Rice, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m pretty sure that glittering road will turn out to be nothing but an overwrought metaphor — or scattered with Severe Tire Damage strips.

Which is not to say I’m against virtue, or that I don’t believe people can change. Virtue is good. It’s just — well, boring. Think back to a New Year’s when some well-meaning type made everyone sit down in a circle and tell their resolutions. Was that fun? Did anyone say anything interesting?

Didn’t think so. “I resolve to work out three times a week.” “I resolve to be nicer to my brother.” “I resolve to tithe.” Worthy things to do, but — yawn ?

Besides, how many of those good intentions lasted more than a week?

It’s my opinion that this semester, instead of setting up admirable yet sleep-inducing goals that are destined to fail anyway, we should all simply try to be interesting.

For instance, when you’re getting dressed and you have the choice of a sharp outfit or several pieces of clothing that bristle at having to be in the same closet as one another, skip the sharp outfit. What’s interesting about being fashionable? Unless you’re built like Barbie or GI Joe (in which case you’re probably too busy fending off propositions to be reading this anyway), your clothes will just melt you into the shuffling herd.

Whereas if you’re sporting green pinstripes, a shiny red flowered skirt, a ski mask and Aqua Socks, people will look at you and wake up a little. In fact, coming to class in costume occasionally might be a good idea. Who wouldn’t rather discuss literature with the Incredible Hulk than with a Gap lad?

Of course, your clothes won’t get you far if everything you say is a variant of “How are you”/ “I’m fine”/ “We were so wasted”/ “I didn’t do the reading”/ “My romantic partner causes me difficulties.” You’ve got to think a little, come up with remarks people might not be expecting.

“How are you?”

“Troubled. Doesn’t it seem to you that the fragility of the human skull may ultimately cause us to lose our position as Earth’s dominant species?”

“Uh, what?”

The person you’re talking to might suddenly remember a laundry emergency that needs their attention, but they’ll also remember you.

“I didn’t do the reading.”

“Me neither. I was too busy leprechaun-proofing my apartment.”

There are so many ways to be interesting. Granted, quite a few of them should, I think, be automatically disqualified. Serial killing, for instance. But even if you skip the actively evil pursuits, enough is left.

Skinny-dip off the Terrace in broad daylight. Pick a B movie — say, “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies” — and use it as a metaphor in every class discussion for a week.

Chase squirrels. Anything that makes people look at you funny qualifies, keeps you from slipping under their radar.

I’ve never heard anyone say, “I want to be boring” — and yet so many people are, at least outwardly. I’m sure I am, too. Doesn’t it make sense to take steps away from that designation?

All right. I realize boringness isn’t exactly a glaring societal ill — and lack of virtue probably is. I ought to be saying, “Be good! Set those goals high! And have a swell semester!”

And I would, except I can’t face the thought of another semester of schoolwork and attempted self-improvement. It seems to me some campus-wide wackiness would spice things up, make the weeks slide by instead of creaking and sputtering.

Besides, I really am troubled about that skull thing. Wouldn’t it suck to get overthrown by the dolphins?

Jackie May ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in English.

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