The start of classes in the fall is always a heady experience here at U of All People. The football team is back on the field, waddling off the three tons it gained in June and July as the assistant coaches literally whip them into shape (though the NCAA is investigating that charge).
In a festival called the Cleaning of the Glass, the chemistry department rounds up all its sticky test tubes, graduated cylinders, and Erlenmeyer flasks and puts them through the giant autoclave while singing titration chanties. The student cafeteria lovingly prepares its welcome-back feast with leftovers from its farewell banquet back in May.
In the interests of drumming up news for the dying art of journalism, the student editors of our own Weekly Complainer have instituted a Q&A feature called “Is Anyone Out There, Reading Us?” The inaugural column asks what preparations, blood rituals, or alternate routines people on campus engage in to start the year off right.
The secretary for the dean of students, Moira D. Seime, is busy updating files. “We used to have those beige cabinets with the green hanging files, but now it’s computerized, and they can all fit into one itty-bitty flash drive. Only the dean went and lost the thing -- he’s checked all his pockets -- and now we have to start back at square one. We’re contacting everyone who’s ever been on academic probation here for the last 10 years.”
Rory Schach, a junior psychology major, always starts the academic year by torching his old textbooks in a bonfire outside his dorm. “They’ve got almost no resale value, so, hey, why not? The more, the merrier. If you’ve got any from last semester you don’t know what to do with, just IM me.”
The leisure science department chair, “Fizz” Ed McClanahan, makes a point of viewing all incoming majors on the IT’s Students-at-a-Glance feature, spending up to several hours scrutinizing the statistics and photos.
“It’s really quite amazing what you can tell from the data,” he remarks, hastily stuffing a printout into his desk. “In fact, I feel I know some of the girls already.”
The guys at Delta Theta Beta are planning their annual rush, which will include a three-legged race with real amputees, two beer breakfasts for charity, and a hog roast with a live pledge suspended over the coals. “It always makes the meat taste better this way,” jokes DTB head Al Dente, from his room at the Lasker Detention Center.
Senior and outgoing prom queen Emma Beaut is revising her résumé for the 16th time. “I do this, like, every week. Maybe if I upload it on a fuchsia background in Gazpacho font, it’ll catch an employer’s eye. This August, I included my measurements and a photo, but that sort of backfired on me.”
The president, secretary, and sole attendee of the Student Fart Society, Lance Flatu, is gearing up for this year’s onslaught of members by covertly distributing fliers in the public restrooms around campus. “This is a fun activity with, unfortunately, a lot of stigma attached to it. I’m trying -- oops, excuse me -- to change all that, one step at time.”
Police Chief O’Malley O’Malley is readying his cruiser by adding a purple pom-pom on his aerial and a do-wop siren. “If that don’t get a rise out of ’em,” he announces, slapping his late-Elvis-style sideburns, “nothing will.”
The Modern Language department chair, M. de Trop, is arriving from his apartement in Paris at noon on Monday for his two o’clock class in French culture. “Mais oui -- I mean, yes, I do feel an obligation to prepare pour les enfants, as I think of them, but half an hour is plenty of time. Aussi, the best preparation for this kind of course is soaking up the -- comment dit-on? -- ambience of the native culture. Malheureusement, the last time Customs confiscated my laptop.”
Freshman Richie Well is readying himself for his first taste of college curriculums, foretelling which courses he should take by eviscerating a live chicken and examining the entrails. “Soothsaying’s cool. I did this every year in high school. Should work here, too."
David Galef is happily employed as an English professor at Montclair State University, not, thankfully, at U of All People.