"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Thursday, December 09, 2004
ad-mi-ra-tion Function: noun
1 : an object of esteem
2 : what young adults do, invariably, wrong
It was 1977 and fraternity pledge season had just started at Furman University.
At that time things went through a certain process (and probably still to a degree.) On Friday night there would be a "smoker" hosted by each of the three big fraternities on campus, the Pi Kapps, the TKE's, and the KA's. The Pi Kapps were the laid back guys, the TKE's were the really preppy old money guys, and the KA's were the jocks. So the choice was pretty easy.
I ended up going to the Pi Kapp smoker, and deciding to pledge them. The day after that, Saturday, we all got to sit at the "fraternity tables" in the dining hall while we got to know some of the members of the fraternity.
That Saturday, they served deep fried pork chops, peas, mashed potatoes, and rolls. No, I don't have an amazing memory for menus, it's just, well, you'll see.
I think probably the Pi Kapps started the whole thing.
It started small, just a few peas launched from a spoon towards the TKE table, sneakily. The TKE's were too above it all to notice at first, but the Pi Kapp troublemaker kept launching spoon after spoon, every minute or so. Then there would be muffled giggles all around.
That is, until he overshot and hit the KA table where the jocks were. They weren't about to take that. Of course, we looked all innocent, so they tossed some mashed potatoes at the TKE table.
Who threw some back, and threw some at us at the same time.
"FOOD FIIIIIGHT!" somebody yelled, and all of a sudden the entire dining hall transformed. Food was flying everywhere, and somebody figured out that the pork chops would fly like a Frisbee if you tossed them right.
BLAM! One careened into the TKE table, sliding down the middle and knocking dishes of food off of both sides as it plowed down the center. Pretty quickly, all three fraternities had upended their tables and were using them as shields, tossing anything they could find that was food related. Jello, dinner rolls, handfuls of vegetables, anything.
One dinner roll went sailing into the draperies over the second floor windows. It poofed into the curtain and sank behind the support on the bottom, making a crease where it had landed.
We watched that crease for four years. It was still there the last time I was in that room.
My most vivid memory of that meal, aside from the careening pork chops, was one of the lunchroom ladies hiding behind a drink machine, yelling "Ya'll stop!" Then someone would lob a dinner roll her direction and she would duck behind the machine, coming out a moment later with another "Y'all stop!" which would only draw another dinner roll.
I was young. Impressionable. And rather stupid. I thought this was the coolest thing ever. I mean, how Animal House was this? I just knew I would have to do the Gator before the day was over. It never crossed my mind the terrible mess we walked off and left for those poor ladies.
Personally, I'm glad I grew out of all that.
We hardly ever have a food fight here in this house.
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."