Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Don’t be ashamed to know my name

Is it pathetic that the only person who has talked to me while walking to class this year was trying to sell me a Socialist newspaper? Every day I walk through the crowded streets of campus, every day I see people I know and every day they snub me like I'm a WISPIRG representative. I fooled with the idea that perhaps these acquaintances do not see me; I've even amused myself with the thought that maybe they're in a big rush, but no idea has stuck more than the one which frightens me most — people just don't want to know me. My assumption might be a little pessimistic, but that's the kind of person I am. Some see the glass half full, some see it half empty, and there are a select few who look at that same glass and are utterly convinced there is barely anything left, and it is only a matter of time before we all die of thirst. I'm the last of the bunch.

When I complain about my fellow classmates not conversing, or even waving to me on campus, I'm excluding the close friends I have here. The friends I see every day, watch football with and text message me pictures of their bowel movements are all automatic stop-and-chats. However, the students I'm referring to are the ones I've had class with over the years, the girl that hooked up with my roommate and caught me spying on her while she urinated the next morning or the weird kid I hung out with my first week of freshman year because I was so anxious to make friends I would have settled for anyone. I know all these people, they know me and they insist on ignoring my existence.

I'm not looking to talk to people when I walk to class. In fact, I don't even like talking to people in general. I always get paranoid that I have a booger, or my breath smells, and I never know what to do with my hands (Pockets? Gesticulations? Arms crossed?). What's even worse than my paranoia during conversations is my eye contact; no matter how hard I try, I always seem to fall into that creepy rapist stare.

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The question still remains, "Why don't people wave to each other?" One of the answers is this: The wave is not cool. No one can wave to another person and possibly look cool. The motion of the wrist, the cupping of the hand and the mouthing of the word "Hey" are all terribly awkward aspects of the greeting we've come to know. This is why so many of us guys have turned to the head nod. The head nod is still a greeting, yet it is not an infraction on our masculinity.

Perhaps the second reason for not waving is a bit more analytical. I believe it was Freud, or perhaps it was I, who first said, "We do not wave because we are insecure." The wave is accompanied by the feeling of vulnerability. Once one commits to waving, that person is publicly showing that he or she knows the recipient of that wave (or the head nod if that is your preferred salutation). People become insecure that the person they are waving to might not know them, and if so, they feel like a loser for knowing someone who has no idea who they are; hence, an avoidance of the wave altogether.

I used to have such feelings of insecurity. My insecurities still exist, but now they simply apply to my lower back hair and scoliosis, and not to my waves. We need to stop ignoring each other. In the words of Rodney King, "Is the taser gun really necessary?"

If you feel you know someone, give the person an acknowledgement, a nod, or even a bow if you are greeting a pal from your Tiger Shulman Karate class. If we all became comfortable with our waves, maybe it wouldn't be long until we could have sober conversations with one another.

Jeremy Elias ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in communications.

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