Thursday, May 03, 2012
Small scale immortality foiled
One of the wonderful things about the current state of the internet is the knowledge that, no matter how much you wish it wasn’t true, anything that has happened to you in the past is recorded for the rest of eternity. Once you accept this fact you can remove yourself from the embarrassment of the situation and realize that for the rest of your life you will never escape your past. Or, thanks Rug for posting this picture to Facebook a year ago and thus keeping this memory alive forever.
So, when I was at Illinois I lived in Newman Hall, which is kind of like living in a dorm at Notre Dame except without the football tradition or networking. Lots of rules, some followed some less so, but a pretty controlled environment for college. In fact, the main reason people lived in Newman was that it was the closest dorm to the campus. Think about the type of person who chooses where they live in college based on the fact that it makes it easier to go to class. Let’s just say it wasn’t the party dorm.
(Side note: While I did drink in college I in no way had the common experience. In a weird way, now that I am aware of the Straight Edge movement I wonder if I would have been drawn to it. It at least would have been a scene where not drinking was part of the reason behind it, along with arrogance, random violence and punk rock. To be honest, I have no idea if there even was a Straight Edge scene on campus.)
Anyway, Newman Hall had the benefit of being one of the older halls on campus and as a result it actually had history. Hugh Hefner lived there, a fact that I always felt was worthy of a memorial plaque or at least some free subscriptions. The main lounge had trophies dating back seemingly forever. One even had Dick Butkus’ name on it which is about as close to legendary as you could get. There was where I hatched a plan for immortality.
I knew that if I could get my name on a trophy in the case then I would be remembered on campus forever. Or at least have my name hidden somewhere. So, with a bunch of my friends I proposed a 3 on 3 basketball tournament with the winning team being added to one of the trophies. Given that I didn’t have the skill to actually add to the team as a player my main role was to a) pay the entry fee and b) show up wearing all my annoying Duke basketball gear in an attempt to enrage the opponents against someone who they technically aren’t playing against. Yes, I owned a Christian Laettner replica Duke jersey. Even I thought I should get punched in the face over it.
In the end we won the tournament and repeated the next year and yes, we had our names engraved on the trophy. When I was on campus I decided to make my way back to the dorm to see if my plan had worked. Got in, walked into the lounge, was stunned to see a couple of students there (again, gorgeous Saturday in April so let’s all stay in and study) and looked for the trophy. It was gone. They were all gone. They had decided to empty the cases and put a bunch of pictures in them.
What the hell?
That is the problem with getting older. Even your well designed plans to be remembered twenty years later can be taken away while you weren’t looking. All you have left are photos of you forty pounds lighter and with much less gray hair floating around the internet. At some point you come to the realization that the world will move on, with or without you.