One night I was driving home from my job at UPS. It was about midnight and was raining. I was in college and was driving my father’s car, which I rarely drove. As I recall, my car was in the shop being repaired. I was on Stemmons Expressway (I-35) and going much too fast considering the rain. At one point, the car began to hydroplane on the water surface. I remember wondering how I would stop. The car began to do a 360 on the expressway. I wondered if I was going to get hit from behind. Finally after turning around completely, the car came to a stop. I then slowly began to drive ahead again.
I had been totally out of control.
But you’ll find other sights that breed concern. . . . walk your attentive self through the quads. Stand at a bus stop at noon rush-hour; roam the reading rooms of the libraries in the midst of term and the panic of exams. Lastly, eat lunch in a dining hall and note the subjects of conversation and the words employed in student discussion. (I’m speaking mostly of undergraduates, but not exclusively.)
Try to conceal your consternation at what is often the main theme of discourse — something less interesting than sex and God, the topics of my time. If for instance you can eat a whole meal in a moderately occupied Duke dining hall without transcribing a certain sentence at least once, I’ll treat you to the legal pain reliever of your choice. The sentence runs more or less like this, in male or female voice – - “I can’t believe how drunk I was last night.”
Considering that the social weekends of many students now begin – - indeed are licensed by us to begin – - at midday on Thursday and continue through the morning hours of Monday (as they never did in the old days of “country club” Duke), maybe the sentence is inevitable – - at least in the bankrupt America we’re conspiring to nurture so lovingly and toward which we blindly, or passively anyhow, wave our students.
“I can’t believe how drunk I was last night.”
Totally out of control. Continue Reading…