Oleander, growing outside her door, soon it’s gonna be impossible to get a room up in Annandale. By which I inevitably, and unfortunately, mean Carlisle. What a creepy little shithole of a city, or a borough, or whatever the fuck that den of authoritarian rednecks wishes to call it. I’m planning to go back to *MY OLD SCHOOL* this weekend regardless, loosely in the tradition of that guy sitting next to me on the Coast Starlight on his way to SeaTac to visit his buddy from Lompoc Camp and not on his way to shutting up for five blessed seconds. Well, don’tcha fuckin’ know, a funny thing happened on the way to Homecoming: the nice hotels in town sold out, while prices in the nice hotels on the outskirts floated up to the obscene and some of the crappier motor lodges near the War College did some modest surge pricing, but there are still rooms available for $46 a night on Friday and Saturday at a Travelodge a few miles out past the Miracle Mile on Route 11. #TeshTips: If you’re unfamiliar with the Miracle Mile, you may not actually be a Scholar. I learned about it from a weird-ass lunch buddy who did a research paper on it. It’s the strip of truck stops between 81 and the Turnpike where the five-oh likes to arrest truckers in prostitution stings.
Of course, knowing about any of this, let alone giving a shit, would get in the way of donning the Lacoste and being an insufferably supercilious useless eater. And let’s not gloss over the true fact that the homecoming crowd is a bunch of downtown drunks. The Miracle Mile and beyond would mean some combination of cab fare, drunk driving, Uber, and bitching to no end about the inability to get an Uber. Some of these fuckers were reputed to drive home drunk across the west side of Carlisle from the Gingerbread Man. Holy shit, I just realized that I personally knew the affluenza kid. Not him specifically, but his avatars, and that’s way too close for comfort. Heeby jeeby. I suppose I knew Brock Turner as well. What’s-her-name with the CEO daddy and the laxboy meathead crushes who roomed with Charlotte Simmons was dozens of my classmates.
If the Borough of Carlisle were governed by officials of any moral consistency whatsoever, it would go dry. It wouldn’t give the fucking G-Man a business license, for God’s sake. That won’t happen because Carlisle is the land of the damned. It’s trapped in the Slow Ghomeshi chokehold of the positive law fetishists who somehow needed a decade to catch the shady creeps at Deli Creations selling hard drugs. In the meantime, including my entire time at Dickinson College, the authorities were either grossly incompetent or on the take. That much is a binary. Practically the entire student body either assumed or claimed to personally know that Deli C was a drug front, and neither the Borough nor Cumberland County was run by anyone nuanced, discreet, or self-controlled enough to deliberately allow a brick-and-mortar drug distributorship to operate peaceably (if tenuously so) in the interest of public safety and order.
That’s the kind of shit that many of my classmates found charming. They considered it a memorably entertaining inside joke featuring the local color. In point of fact, it was downright insane. The guys who ran that place looked like they’d walked in out of a mugshot tabloid in rural Arkansas. They had a lot more wrong with them than just drugs. It was always a kind of what-the-fuck experience to wonder why a creepy, aggressive, hypervigilant outfit like the Carlisle PD hadn’t shut them the hell down years earlier.
The bars are allowed to fester because of the college, pure and simple. Or, to be accurate, impure and fancy. If the townies forced the borough to go dry, or even if they so much as shut down the G-Man as the obvious nuisance that it is, Alma Mater, Tried and True would throw a fucking shit fit, and the Chamber of Commerce would join in with its own amicus whinings. The privileges to yell at the top of one’s lungs until the middle of the night and apparently to drive across town drunk as fuck afterwards are for sale, at a price of fifty grand or some shit per year.
Let’s not pretend that there’s anything upright or admirable about this dynamic. The constraints on municipal sovereignty in this sorry-ass give-and-take-and-take are not judicial or moral but strictly financial. The Big Dick (Go Hard!) has the townies by the short-n-curlies. Let’s imagine that the borough rescinded all liquor licenses and refused to grant new ones, on the basis that these licenses were contributing mainly to gross behavior by Pareto power players, purporting to be “students,” with more money than sense, and that a municipal government has no duty to cater to such louts. Let’s limit this scenario further by assuming a crackdown targeting the G-Man specifically for having both the cleanliness and the socioeconomics of the restrooms at Wrigley Field. (Any of you white motherfuckers wanna get on the train for free?) Now, let’s go even deeper into the counterfactuals, so deep that Mr. Rogers will have to send the trolley after us to bring us back out, and assume that the layoffs stemming directly from the dump’s closure are a moot point politically because (bear with me here) Carlisle is governed by pragmatic, understated Mennonite socialists who hold themselves accountable to first and foremost to their most vulnerable constituents and consequently have robust public assistance and job placement programs in place to immediately assist the unemployed.
If you’re famliar with Carlisle (NB: not Dickinson, in case you’re a dumbass), you’ll agree that the foregoing is smashed in his knees with a two-by-four crazy. Smashed in his knees with a sledge HAMMA! You could have a speed train–if you lived in Harrisburg instead, or in Lancaster. *GO DIPLOMATS!* Ain’t none of what I just described happening. But let’s go full speedy delivery and assume that it is. How hard would the Big Dick go on the townies?
I don’t know if you’re getting a clue, but I’m getting a solid one. Ooh! The college would extort the borough government into compliance by threatening to leave town entirely. It would overplay whatever hand it was actually dealt, obviously, just as it does whenever it pesters us for money, but it would threaten to fuck off to wetter pastures, and with several hundred employees in a jurisdiction of only twenty thousand, that threat would be hefty.
The mechanism, in all its crassness, would start with the Hall and Oates Effect rich kids, in particular the Greeks (generally WASP’s, plus some lace curtain Irish whitey mongrels), would transfer, threaten to transfer, get their kin and cronies to stop applying, yell at the staff in general in their best may I speak to your manager tone, cut back on the charitable (sic) giving, and otherwise stir up shit with the administration, which both parties agree the bigshot alumni donors employ. This is how the Go Hard Big Dick thing became a scandal in the first place: some butthurt money alumni cornered Bill Durden and threw a fit. The donors must be granted their precious highbrow decorum, the Durd must maintain the flow of that alumni sugar sweet (his successors, too, if they want the donors not to throw another shit fit and scheme to remove them from office as they did Nancy Roseman), and little Parker, Sloan, and Taylor here must not be denied their special sippy cups. May the circle be unbroken.
The administrators know to dance with them that brought them. The teetotaler students are there on scholarships. They care about Dickinson’s educational mission, they’re exactly the underserved community that Durden always bragged about admitting more frequently and assisting more generously than his peer institutions, and they aren’t out strutting around with low-functioning blame-fool antics by Thirsty Thursday. (*Most Downton Dowager Voice* What is a “week-end?”) Their shortcoming is that they don’t lavish their old boys (and girls!) at Noble Dickinsonia with lots and lots of money. Washington Heights and Grand Concourse aren’t known for their wealth management clients. Someone has to be the doorman south of 110th Street, and someone else has to pay for these freeloaders.
And for however many hundreds of thousands of dollars our esteemed president is being paid per annum to tell cool stories about Benjamin Rush and his crew at propaganda sessions cum fundraisers. As I’ve mentioned before, Bill Durden devoted a bumptious speech at commencement to quoting himself at some length. I was there. I heard it. I wonder sometimes how that fucker didn’t end up sleeping over a steam grate.
Barring some marginal, anomalous psychological profiles, no one pays for that shit twice without getting the damn goods in return. If I’m sleeping in my car anywhere but Donner Pass on Saturday morning, in time for hiking and #SPORTS, I’m not being delivered the goods, asshole. If this is pay-for-play, put me in, Coach, and then I’ll think about paying. No, not you, Mr. Speaker. J. Denny Dundiddly memes are less disgusting than this shit. How could they not be? So are discussions of the grope and the perv of our Lord’s Servant Gerald, which are uncomfortably topical. Basically, it takes a rich, smug shithead to contribute to the pledge drives that I answer with a barrage of one-sided declarations that Dickinson does not deserve and will not be receiving any of my money before hanging up.
By the way, that shitty school has the nerve to have student employees place fundraising calls in the eight o’clock hour on Sunday evenings. I have no problem with critical workers holding down shifts on the sabbath–hospitals, Amtrak, clergy (uh…), Denny’s–but that? Indiscriminately cold-calling alumni to brownnose us for money after dark on a day of rest when everyone assumes that several days’ worth of schoolwork have untenably piled up? That’s fucking appalling. That’s inexcusable, for me and for the phone banker.
This shit has to be done to squeeze money from assholes who fondly remember being highbrow problem drunks. One of the coarser fraternities was said to stage hazing rituals in which pledges were forced to guzzle hard liquor until they vomited into trash cans and beaten with an old schoolhouse paddle by their pledgemasters. Uh, yeah, that’s when you call 911. There’s no act of depravity or pile of filth that these fuckjobs won’t earnestly admire, nay, worship, the moment it’s declared highbrow. There was nothing of the sort that Bill Durden wouldn’t tolerate on the part of the fraternities as the frats kept it more or less discreet and kept lavishing Dickinson with their alumni donations. Rather, it was our duty as independents to give Dickinson so much money that donations from Greek alumni were rendered superfluous; then and only then would he drive old Dick See down. Until then, Greek Life had total license to do anything as long as no one got maimed, killed, sued, arrested, or celebrated in the newspapers.
Yeah, sure, I’d love to call the local detachment and tell them about Pickton, but only if you first give me enough money to buy his farm.
We can’t have adequate public housing, welfare, or a jobs guarantee, but we sure can grant legacy shitbirds the privileges of crony employment and luxury housing, provided that they first pay $50k per year for four years of seasonal housing, with no option to turn down squalid accommodations, and then maybe submit to forcible alcohol poisoning and premeditated felony battery in a flophouse dungeon. As they say to points north, Ithaca is Gorges, and oops you just fell right into one during your initiation.
Yup, guys, college totally makes its alumni more liberal, lol. I have no idea what this class has to do with elite and corporate capture of government and the dispossession of the vulnerable. Beats me, man.
When I go back to campus this weekend, I figure I’ll be mostly be looking for a handful of needles in a haystack, one whose every sheath has been carefully dipped into Pot-o-Shit Friend’s housewarming gift. I wish that were just rhetorical; word on the street was that in certain houses the objection to his trash can would have been that he filled it from the wrong end. As for me and my house, etc. That which comes forth from the mouth isn’t necessarily any more vile, although I guess I’d rather think about Pot-o-Shit Friend squatting while also renting than these overschooled but undereducated assholes who confirm my suspicion that language is Original Sin. After all, it was the Ragin’ Canajun who got splashed with another dude’s shit; I’m just the college boy who called code about it.
Go in piss, and GO DIPLOMATS!