Sunday, January 2, 2011

'Humor' pieces I wrote for my college newspaper in the 1990's

Note: I had a great relationship with The Good 5 Cent Cigar, the daily newspaper at the University of Rhode Island, where I went for undergrad. It went like this: I submitted some hair brained thing I wrote, and 90% of the time they printed it verbatim. Maybe they had low standards, maybe I was an undiscovered man-of-letters - I guess we'll never know. Anyway, I recently found a cache of articles I wrote that were probably published. This was back in 1996 (!), so none of them exist online. One thing about these articles may surprise you - what an incredible dick I used to be. Or maybe just an iconoclast (one professor called me this, actually).

Defending the drunks (or trying)

by Jonathan Rubin

Another day, another assault on a previous article. The day was Friday, the subject: An editorial on page 6 which took the high road on condemning all of the lowly, decadent, pitiful weaklings who somehow find pleasure in the consumption of alcohol. Give me a holier-than-thou break, if you please. I would have weighed either of the enclosed sentiments with even mild consideration if either of you had been more than vaguely familiar with drinking in general, instead of standing on the sidelines and preaching in your untarnished glory.

Alcohol mastery is directly parallel to the mastery of any sport or skill - it requires practice, patience and the willing acceptance of failure, usually in the medium of repeated vomiting. Drinking at first is comparable to taking a big swig of Ultra 94, or any other price upper-class regular alternative [gas] for that matter.

The major benefit of moderate consumption of alcohol that no one can argue with is the alleviation of the dreadful “stick-up-the-ass” syndrome that many of us are stricken with. I know for a fact (because I am / used to be one) that many of the super-uptight are unfortunately leaden with numerous self-conscious traits and behavioral restriction which can impede in their having a good time in all sorts of ways.

Now, I do not endorse drinking as being “the secret of happiness,” but it can be a window for some into a world where conversation is free and unrestricted, where apprehension and over-analyzing takes backseat to truthfulness and straightforwardness.

If you are not the kind of person who is comfortable with occasional chaos, with environments that are often overrun with emotion and tensional release, where laid-back peace temporarily replaces rigidity, than pass that Honey Brown, cuz I sure am.

College is a time of transition, a unique (and brief) epoch where the innocence of
childhood in all its blessed parental dependence begins to grow smaller before our maturing eyes, and where the regimented, dreadfully monotonous world of the working adults begins to take form, and scare the willies out of us. It is considered to be the best time of our lives because in most cases it has the potential to be, where financial restraints do not always keep us up nights, where we are free to pursue our fancies and interests with greater ease and autonomy than ever before. We are surrounded by more members of our age group than ever before, and this brings limitless social possibilities.

What am I trying to say? But it is with your article, miss Jennifer Rojas, that I am most dismayed. I had grown quite a fan of your writing style and assertiveness and I was dumbfounded by the shortsightedness of your “drinking is conformity” accusation. Sure nuff’, this is the case with many of us dismal fools who equate drinking with happiness, who make remarks like “I had to get unbelievably blasted to have a good time in that place...” those are rightly confined in your stereotype.

Yes, even partying can become monotonous and often people find that they need to get more and more bombed to have the fun they used to have with just a six pack. But not drinking is affiliated with this baseness; many people flock to frat parties not out of thoughtless compliance, but because the beer there is FREE! When Dunkin Donuts was giving away a complimentary bagel + coffee as a result of Fred “Successful Advertisement” the Donut Man’s retirement, did you call the thousands who flocked there conformists? Of course not - they just like free stuff. (I have a feeling this paragraph was better left in a recycling bin....)

I must attempt to formulate some sort of conclusion for the sake of my argument, whatever it may be. Drinking is a vice, exactly like coffee, meaningless sex, junk food, junk food enhanced by Heinz ketchup, violent male-orientated video games and, of course, incurable Simpsons obsession. It gives temporary pleasure, sure, but sometimes it is this quick spurt of pleasure that keep us going, that keeps the sun looking beautiful instead of like a blazing ball of writhing flames that eventually destroy all record of our very existence.

In my unenlightened opinion, the greatest contributor to ignorance and groundless assumptions is socioeconomic and cultural difference, so when you are about to slap some label on someone different from you, take five and consider your biases and prejudices before using the words “trailer-trash”, “jap”, “homie”, “wigger”, etc. etc. No one is capable of understanding the drive and motivation of every human being, so don’t even try.

1 comment:

shesthesheriff said...

I'll agree this was not even Boston Herald material. But its good to A B it with a piece like 'the pizza i just ate' or 'pinata candy rankings' to see how far you've come in both the literary tone department and in your choice of material.

But you're a bigger man than I for reposting this--I found a cassette of a gig I played in 1997, listened to it, and promptly destroyed it with a hammer. (couldn't find my enchanted mace). I did nick name the hammer 'audiovile' though.