Has it ever occurred to you that you might be wrong?
That’s the punchline to one of my all-time favorite comic strips: the Aug. 9, 1976 edition of the Peanuts by Charles Schultz. The premise is that Snoopy is writing a book on theology, with that question as the title. I’ve always thought it was a good turn of phrase: funny, snappy and poignant.
Well, I think you’re wrong about a lot of things. You probably think I’m wrong about a lot of things too, so we’re even.
This week, I think you’re wrong about the college party and bar scene. A few weeks ago, the Princeton Review released top 20 party schools for 2016 and, to some people’s dismay, Ohio University didn’t even appear on the list.
Well! If we can’t even claim to be a top party school, what are we even doing here?
As an out of state student, I was completely unaware of OU’s party school reputation before coming here. After three years, I’ve come to respect, even appreciate, those aspects of student life. But normally, I’d rather appreciate them from afar.
From a purely philosophical standpoint, I get it. College party culture is a celebration of our fleeting youth, our headstrong sense of invincibility and the exhilarating reality of being alive. Those themes are all admirable enough, to a certain extent. Poets have written about them for centuries. I just don’t think packing shoulder to shoulder in a loud, hot bar and pelvic thrusting is a very fulfilling way to celebrate those ideas. That’s not fun, that’s just … exhausting.
“This place is hopping,” you might say.
“This place is hell,” I’d say.
At least with other crowd-inducing activities — concerts and sporting events — there’s a reason for people to be there. It’s not just a crowd for crowd’s sake. Everyone is sharing a singular, sensory experience, and there’s a certain infectious energy that results from that.
And don’t try to convince me that partying is fun because I’ll get to meet new people. I’ve spent a lot of time fostering solid relationships with the people I currently associate with — and even those relationships can be taxing. Now you expect me to go through that all over again with new people? That’s why I associate with the people I associate with: so I can avoid all the other crappy people out there.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been known to share a few pints with friends after a long week (unless my parents are reading this, in which case I’ve never touched the stuff). But if I’m going to go out, I want it to be with the people I’ve already established a rapport with, at a calm place like Jackie O’s. “A clean, well lighted place,” as Hemingway put it. If I’m going to go to a crowded bar, I’d rather it be some place with some personality, like The Union or Tony’s or, in my younger and more vulnerable years, The Skull.
And don’t even get me started on Fest season. I understand the appeal of a little bit of day drinking on a Saturday afternoon in spring, but let’s not overhype things. If you’ve seen one Fest you’ve seen them all.
At the very least, let’s not get too worked up over whether we’re considered a “top party school.” Those rankings don’t really mean anything, and I can promise you that no one else noticed our name wasn’t on the list. Just like no one noticed how turned up you were at that party you went to last weekend.
Sorry. I guess I’m just a party pooper.