Issue #15 – “March Madness and Spring Break” – March 1999

-A few weeks ago, Penn beat Princeton in basketball to win the Ivy League Championship.  My friends and I traveled to Jersey to watch the game where Princeton graciously sat us so far from the court I couldn’t even tell which team was scoring.  However, upon winning the title we once again stormed the court.  Unfortunately, this time I lost my balance and was trampled by a few hundred people.  I hurt my shoulder pretty badly but my pain was lessened when I saw myself crushed on the lead story on SportsCenter.  One day I can tell my kids that my sophomore year at Penn I stormed two basketball courts and ripped down a pair of goalposts.  I fuckin’ love college!

-Because of my injuries I spent the next day in Student Health and therefore had a lot of time to think.  I realized that getting hurt isn’t glorious anymore like it was in high school.  In high school you either got hurt playing a sport or getting into a fight – and that was pretty cool.  But in college most people don’t play sports or fight that much anymore.  College kids only get hurt by falling when drunk, getting beat up by bouncers at a club, or like me – getting trampled at a basketball game.  Getting hurt used to be cool, but now it’s just kind of embarrassing.

-Student Health has got to be one of the biggest jokes on campus.  Kids would rather try to cure their illnesses on their own then wait in line all day to see a doctor.  When I went for my trampled shoulder they told me to come back in three weeks when I could see an orthopedist.  Thanks a lot, but by that time my arm will have either healed completely or fallen off.  My friend had minor surgery last month.  To test to see if his anesthesia had worn off, they asked him who the president of the school was.  He named his 10th grade chemistry teacher.  They gave him two painkillers and let him leave.

-Quote of the Month: Dan S., from Penn.  We were hanging out and I asked him if he was partying that weekend.  When he told me no, I called him a loser and asked him why.  He said, “I’m playing in the NCAA Tournament.”  I had totally forgotten he was on the basketball team and that has to go down as the best excuse ever for not going out.

-In a person’s life there are only four times when he or she can experience a week of zero responsibility and extreme drunkenness.  This ritual is called Spring Break and it happens once a year in college.  In keeping with this tradition, last week I traveled to Mexico for my second year in a row, this time to Acapulco, a magical place where the taxis have no meters, the natives don’t understand English only when it involves giving you the correct change back, and being told what you did last night because you can’t remember is more fun than the night itself.

-Acapulco is unique in that you can get bombed in all three states of nature.  In liquid: by drinking Coronas in the pool.  On a solid: by getting drunk at a club.  And in the air: by drinking on the plane ride to Mexico.  If only my high school physics teacher could see me now.

-On the plane they told us that we couldn’t use CD players because they mess with the plane’s frequencies or something.  The flight attendant actually told us that we could crash the plane if we turned a Discman on.  You’re telling me that my little CD player can damage the sophisticated circuitry of an airplane?  If my 2Pac CD could make the plane crash then I don’t think I’ll be taking this airline again!

-As usual, we ran into problems and couldn’t land right away.  Since it was a Mexican airline, the captain would make one announcement in Spanish and then one in English.  Except that the Spanish announcement was always about twice as long as the English one.  Either Mexicans are very verbose or they weren’t telling us everything.

-In Acapulco, most people try to stick by a schedule that is very unhealthy: During the day, you sit in the sun with no lotion and get drunk.  Then, take a one-hour nap, get up, shower, don’t eat, pre-game, then go out to a club.  Get wasted, come back at six in the morning, barely sleep, get up, and be at the pool by noon.  Then repeat.  I personally couldn’t deal with this system and responding by vomiting in the hotel lobby the first afternoon and then being the first person to be thrown out of a club not for being belligerent, but for actually passing out.  I guess I couldn’t deal with the whole not eating, not sleeping thing.

-Since I have a girlfriend now and therefore could not hook up, my female friends automatically enlisted me into the Rescue Squad.  As a member of the Rescue Squad, I was responsible for helping my friends when they were being hit on by guys they didn’t like.  It works like this: a guy comes and starts grinding with my girl friend.  She gives me a little eye roll which is the international signal for “come rescue me from this disgusting guy.”  At which point I have to swoop in and pretend to be the girl’s boyfriend, brother, or cousin, and make the guy leave.  The Rescue Squad is a thankless job, but somebody’s gotta do it!

-I noticed one distinct difference between guys and girls.  If a guy and girl go back together to hook up, the girl expects the room to be empty and won’t do anything if there are people around.  Guys on the other hand could care less.  Their roommates could be in the room playing poker and taking pictures and the guy would just be like, “Oh don’t worry, my roommates are asleep.”

-Going on Spring Break with a huge group of friends like I did presents two very annoying situations: splitting the check and taking pictures.  Whenever a couple of us were together, one of the girls would remark that the scene “would make a cute picture.”  This would result in every girl running for their cameras while we awkwardly tried to remain in our spontaneous pose.  Going out to dinner was even worse.  Trying to split the bill between 25 credit cards with a waiter who doesn’t even speak English is always a lot of fun.  And then there is always the eternal question: do you split the bill by what you ate, which is fairer, or do you divide it evenly, which is easier?  There is no right answer.

-I want to know who decides what club everyone will go to each night during Spring Break.  It seemed like every day I would come to the pool and someone would be like, “Everyone is going to so-and-so club tonight.”  Says who?  It’s gotta start somewhere.  Why can’t I be the guy who decides where everyone is going?

-Trying to communicate with the Spanish-speaking waiters was always an experience.  I think it’s funny that people think that if they speak in English but make hand gestures to try to describe what they want, the waiter will figure it out.  It’s like Spanish charades.  Imagine someone was speaking Spanish to you and tried to order a Long Island Iced Tea by using hand motions.  Would you know what the fuck they wanted?

-I love how the travel companies can basically control your vacation – they can change where you are staying and how you are getting there at the last minute.  Our company decided to fly us into Newark, New Jersey even though we live in Philly.  To make matters worse, it was snowing when we were landing at the airport.  So there I am, legitimately scared for my life, on a plane that can be crashed with a CD player, Mexican elevator music playing in the background, and trying to land in a blizzard into the armpit of America.  I just kept thinking, I’m never going on Spring Break again… until next year.  Fuck me.