Hit Me With Your Best Shot ... Of Styrofoam.

    With a soft focus lens, I often fondly look back on my days of blind freshman joy - the sense of excitement; the freedom; the time my floormates pummeled each other with Styrofoam blocks. You know, the simple pleasures of your average first year experiences … but that was then, and this is now.

Yesterday, I was walking down Commonwealth Avenue with a fierce scowl on my face, and as I stopped to kick a nearby kitten, I wondered what had gone wrong. Where was that ever-grinning wide-eyed freshman who so blissfully filled his first year of college with happiness and mirth?

I thought about what happens to us between the last day of our sophomore year and the first day of our junior - what would make Upperclassman Me chain the lovable Underclassman Me to a radiator in some musty basement? It was after I stopped to seize and smash a child's lollipop that I made the connection - Time had changed me … Time spent at Boston University, that is.

Ah, Time - what a cruel cosmic joke you are. You make the marginally funny talentless and wizened (Joan Rivers); the dapper and charming senile and doddering (Sean Connery); the organized and sensible resort to cartoonish villainy (our very own Chancellor). And now, vile Time, you have slipped your banana peel 'neath my heel, as well.

I have noticed a strange tendency among my circle of upperclassmen friends - a tendency to see them frown and rage whenever our soon-to-be alma mater is mentioned. Then, derisive comments follow, flung about like so many bargain dresses at a Filene's Basement Sale. Intrigued by my observations, I put on my "Anthropologist Hat," - a dusty pith helmet I got on eBay - and went to work. Anthropological Work.

Unlike real anthropologists, who spend years doing research and fieldwork, I decided to simply wander around the GSU, springing out from behind pillars and throwing surveys at people to gauge their responses. Sure, I spilled several dozen hot coffees. Yes, I gave someone a heart attack. And even I'll admit that I got punched in the face more times than I would have liked, but in the end, I did get some great responses and a great thesis, which is as follows: In order to survive more than two years at Boston University, its students must either a). become embittered and cynical or b). descend into an inescapable stupor.

On my survey questions, I noticed the two upperclassmen archetypes gave relatively uniform answers - the Ass, with acrimonious sarcasm directed at everyone and everything; and the Simpleton, well, mostly just blinking. What follows are some sample survey questions and the archetypal answers - just so you know I'm not making this stuff up.

"1). Cable television has been an issue on campus for quite some time. Do you feel President Westling is justified in his anti-television position, or do you feel that he should change his stance?"

A common Ass response was: "I, for one, am gladdened that President Westling is a Luddite … because I am unable to look at anything that happens to be in motion, you see, for I am a giant man-child who cannot make decisions or go to the bathroom by myself."

The Simpleton, on the other hand, said, "if you put a towel over my head, I will think that it is bed time." Interesting.

"2). The Boston University Student Union - students volunteering to make a difference in our lives or squabbling infighters bogged down in procedural absurdity?"

The Ass often made references to various world governments, but a standout response was, "No, really, I'm glad to have a representative body elected by - what, like the 17 students who actually voted? Psssh. Yeah. They really speak for me."

The Simpleton had this to say, "One of the not-so-necessarily good habits Americans have is to place high value on something quite simply because it contains alliteration." Unexpected, one would think, but this answer actually came up a number of times.

"3). Various groups at the University have been trying to build a Rape Crisis Center on campus. Thoughts? Feelings?"

For this question, I found a particularly interesting person who said, "There is no substance around me anymore … we are frivolous and shallow …" Then he put on some glasses and opened a copy of Atlas Shrugged, which turned out to have a melted stick of margarine inside it. This person was both an Ass and a Simpleton, and I noted this in my Anthropo-Notebook™. We anthropologists have to be thorough.

This objective data-gathering proves my point … So heed my thesis-style warning, underclassmen: Enjoy the bliss of youth before the reality of BU shatters whatever shred of gumption you have left! Embrace that last warm ember of the human spirit before some nonsensical administrative policy metaphorically pees on it! Save yourself … It's too late for me …

Unless Health Services decides to distribute some complementary Styrofoam blocks, that is.