ATLANTA — Every year about this time — and by that I don’t mean spring, I mean the NCAA basketball tournament — I get the same crazy idea: I want to go back to college.
Usually this idea passes as soon as I realize I would have to take the SAT test again. The first time I took that test, I wanted to throw up. But the kid next to me threw up first. Then the kid on the other side, who had just come from working at the gas station and was still wearing his smelly overalls, fell asleep on his desk and began to snore. He woke up five minutes before the test ended, rubbed his eyes, penciled in some random dots, and left. I think he’s a Congressman now.
Still, when I watch today’s students at these basketball games, their faces painted Day-Glo colors, their eyes glazed from too much TV, their breath stinking from too much cheap beer, I must admit, college sure is tempting. Especially in this confusing adult world. How nice it would be to give up meaningless pursuits such as money, job security, mortgages and affordable health insurance and go back to something really important, like playing Beatles albums backwards.
Maybe you have this idea, too. In which case, I must throw my arm around your shoulder, give you a gentle squeeze, and say “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? WHO’S GOING TO PAY FOR THE HEALTH INSURANCE?”
There are many, many reasons why we — and when I say we, I mean people who went to math class with a pencil, not an Epsom TS-10089 Computer — are too old to go back to college. For one thing, we used to quote Abbie Hoffman and Malcolm X. Today’s students quote “Wayne’s World.”
A whole campus full of kids going “NOT!”
And that’s just one problem. Hair, not ‘Hair,’ is the issue
Here are some surefire ways to tell if you are no longer college material:
The professor has more hair than you.
The dean has more hair than you.
You used to think graduate school was the ultimate accomplishment; now you know it’s the ultimate waste of time.
You would actually get to class early these days, and start screaming,
“Hey! Where’s the damn teacher? I’m paying for this, you know!”
The dorm counselor has more hair than you.
You think “rapping” is talking late at night.
You still play Frisbee, while today’s kids play Super Mario Brothers.
Your concept of “student protest” is to bomb a building. Today’s concept is to avoid products made in South Africa. If you can think of any.
You no longer laugh when your roommate vomits into the glove compartment.
You remember when Phil Collins had hair.
Phil Collins has more hair than you.
You used to think dating a senior was the ultimate in maturity. Now you’d be ashamed of yourself.
You once picked up “chicks” by saying “I got this groovy new Joni Mitchell record. Wanna dig it?” (If you tried that today, by the way, the woman would be taken to the hospital, she’d be laughing so hard.)
You miss black light posters.
You can’t understand why college kids like Dick Vitale.
Dick Vitale has more hair than you. These kids today . . .
Any one of these reasons would be enough to stay off campus. Not to mention the fact that the average college student today can program the DOS.RAM III Multiphase-IV Zero-Gravity Computer in about two minutes flat. And you need five hours to locate the “on” switch.
Also, if you went back to college, you would probably be assigned a roommate. The last college roommate I had went sprinting away in the middle of the night, after I threatened him, saying that, while I respected his individual liberties and beliefs, there was no way he was going to conduct another seance in our room. How we got fixed up I’ll never know. You fill out those questionaires they send you, and you ask for a “quiet non-smoker who likes the windows open,” and they send you Andrew Dice Clay.
So, as you can see, this fantasy ultimately dies, and you come to the same conclusion I do every spring: College is a once-in-lifetime experience, never to be repeated, like measles.
Which leaves us adults with very few options to our increasingly mundane lives. We could write our Congressman. But you remember him from the SAT test.
My suggestion is that we create a new sort of college, where mature people can sit around, exchange brilliant ideas, learn all sorts of new things, and burp a lot.
I call it The Sports Bar.