College started the minute Mom and Dad drove away and the door to my dorm room in suite 646 of Low Rise 6 slammed shut. At that moment I cried like an infant who wanted more nipple, then felt bloated and ran to the bathroom where I read my first Daily Sun column.
I started reading the column because it was on the floor, looked clean and resembled the toilet paper that I should have checked for before I sat down. Someone else had already torn off the last few paragraphs and so, with a few minutes to spare, I decided to read the half-a-column.
That column changed my life.
It was written poorly, went nowhere, wasn't funny and was self-congratulatory to the point that I wanted to find the columnist, poke my finger through his belly-button and let his innards spill out of his navel. Luckily though, this all occurred during orientation week, and when I couldn't get into the "Speed-Reading for Dummies" workshop, I attended the "Anger Management for Dummies" workshop.
I quickly began repeating my mantra, and then pictured a beam of energy that connected my soul to the center of the earth. I concluded my calming exercise by letting a kid affectionately known as "Loogy" give me an amateur tattoo of a symbol that means "inner peace."
As I sat there with Loogy sticking a heated paper clip with Bic ink on it into my arm over and over, I decided to write a letter to the editor. Unfortunately, at the time, I wasn't as eloquent or verbose as I am today and my letter read something to the effect of:
To the Editor,
You suck the big editorial penis.
-Bradley Werner '02
While the letter never got published, it ended up being one of best pieces of writing the editor had ever seen. He was so impressed by my ability to get to the point without any typos that he offered me a columnist position.
To show my gratitude, that night I went and spray-painted his car with the same symbol that Loogy had so artfully branded me with. A few weeks later though I found out that the symbol on my arm, which resembled the confederate flag, was in fact, the confederate flag, which lead to the destruction of the editor's car by a roving band of the last remaining members of the Union army.
After my jail sentence was waived because of my lawyer's claim that I was under heavy duress and the initial stages of ink poisoning, I returned to campus determined to take that editor up on his offer. I joined The Sun as a sophomore and found that The Sun is truly a place where lovers cry and poets dream.
After two and a half years as a columnist, I can look back at all my words with pride. My first year-and-a-half I wrote the humor column for Red Letter Daze, Viewer Discretion Advised, and then this year I donated 800 words per week, and countless hours per column, trying to get it just right. It has been my distinguished pleasure to write for such a bright audience, and so, the following are some lessons that I needed to convey before I depart for the real world.
1. Do what you want to do here. Write for The Sun, join a performance group, be in the Greek system and have group sex.
2. Learn to drink hard alcohol without wincing in pain.
3. Get arrested at least once. (oops)
4. Don't make fun of people who dispense parking tickets
just be happy that you have a car
and that they don't have a college degree.
5. Have sex in all the libraries (in the same afternoon.)
6. Do it with different partners. (see #1)
7. Never miss out on the opportunity to play board games with elderly people.
8. Buy your own mascot costume and start a brawl with the real Big Red Bear at Homecoming. Watch as the authorities scramble to figure out which bear is the one they love and which one is the evil imposter.
9. Don't let the man keep you down.
10. Try and figure out a bigger contrast of people in closer proximity to each other than those in the Hotel School and those on the Engineering Quad.
11. Take road trips to places you wouldn't go on a family vacation (Canada, Syracuse, Owego).
12. Play paintball ... in Uris.
13. Check out my website at www.vowelmovement.com
14. Spend at least one day besides Slope Day drinking on Libe Slope in a t-shirt that says "Done and Rubbing it!"
15. Buy all of your friends red logos and build "The Big Red."
16. Learn to use words like "Ennui," "paean," "smarmy," or other fescennine language when talking to non-Ivy Leaguers.
17. Sing dirges in the dark.
18. Write Moby and ask him to make a techno remix of the Archies "Candy Girl."
19. Make sure that when you leave here you're better for having gone to Cornell.
20. Wear sunscreen.
THE DREADED THANK-YOU SECTION
I would like to thank:
My parents, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins for being my inspiration despite the fact that you all continually move and change phone numbers, praying that I won't find you.
My girlfriend, Sara, for convincing me to write for The Sun, being my first editor and being my continuing editor and partner.
All of my editors, Sara Katz, Laura Thomas, Christen Aragoni, Jen Roberts and the Daze Twins (Nate Brown & Ben Kuptas). You fought me, and taught me, and only called me names behind my back. Thanks for making me a better writer.
The brothers of Pi Kappa Phi; may the house rest in peace.
The Whistling Shrimp for introducing me to uppers, and for having a show this Saturday at 8 p.m. in Lincoln Hall.
SDT and AEPhi for keeping a copy of my column in the kitchen every Thursday, Pendi for letting me into your bar when I first turned 21 back during first semester sophomore year, web pornographers, the prime minister of Malaysia, those people who I made dance and maybe made happy for a while
... and of course, my children. Daddy loves you!