Dear Reader, For those of you who are new on campus and don’t yet know me, let me be the first to congratulate you — you are reading “The Tale of the Dingo at Midnight” Cornell’s Pulitzer Prize winning opinion column. If you do know me, try not to tell anyone that the Pulitzer Prize business is pure creation. These columns will be appearing alternate Wednesdays this semester and will touch on some pretty hot-button issues (examples from last year: Art Garfunkel, ice cream, backyard wrestling leagues, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and IKEA). Feel free to read them at your leisure, but please don’t spit your gum out onto my face.
Now for the real column:
If you’re reading this, then you probably already know: Today was the first day of class. If you didn’t know that, then don’t worry — you have 16 more weeks to look forward to. There are a lot of ways to go about writing a column for the first day of school. I could offer snarky advice to freshman with cutting one-liners about how your keys will still work even when they aren’t around your neck. I could also offer honest advice like “Don’t wear your keys around your neck,” or “Make an effort to get to know people.” There is also the ever popular introduction column, but I figure that my letter above should give you pretty much all the information you’ll ever care to know about me. So that’s out too.
Rather, I am going to talk about some pretty topical stuff for both freshman and upperclassmen alike: Your Parents. Note that the “Y” and “P” are both capitalized because I don’t actually know your parents, dear reader. It is just the idea. Your Parents don’t necessarily have to be your biological mother and father; they can be your grandparents, an aunt and uncle, your friend’s parents, your curling coach, whoever.
If you’re a bright, shining, new face on the Hill then you probably just moved out from under the roof of your parents or other guardians. Now that Your Parents are gone there are a lot more options for your food choices and recreational activities. So, what I’m saying is: Yes, you should cover your RPCC soft serve ice cream in frosted flakes but, maybe hold off on playing “Kill the Handle” until the next party.
This newfound independence can be daunting. If you were lucky enough to have Your Parents do your laundry throughout high school, that first load might be a challenge. Paying for it on North Campus with the ridiculous laundry prices might be an even bigger challenge. Having clothes that are dry? Completely impossible. But I know that if you work hard, by the end of freshman year you will have nicely creased clean pants and a perfectly folded fitted sheet (crumpled up in a ball in the corner of my closet is perfectly folded, right?).
If you are a sophomore or older, you have at least one year away from home under your belt, and you may have had the terrifying revelation that you may slowly be turning into one or both of Your Parents. It makes sense; all of those years of watching Your Parents be independent must have rubbed off on you at least a little bit. I had no idea what I was doing when I got to college. Yeah, I knew how to do laundry and pour cereal into a bowl with milk, but truly taking care of myself was pretty foreign to this 18-year-old from Denver who just got to college. (Note: I am now a 20-year-old from Denver who still grapples with actually taking care of myself.)
Becoming Your Parents (at least to some extent) isn’t the worst thing in the world. Your Parents raised a child that was successful enough to get into Cornell. Evolutionarily speaking, raising successful offspring is kind of paramount, so Your Parents are clearly doing something right. Your Parents are also a little bit weird and potentially embarrassing. I’ve said it before in this column, and it will certainly come up again: There is no intrigue to being normal. To be a compelling individual, you have to have some quirks. Your Parents have quirks. If they are slightly contagious, just embrace it. It’s time to give Your Parents the credit they deserve.
Christo Eliot is a junior in the College of Engineering. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Tale of the Dingo at Midnight appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.
Original Author: Christo Eliot