This year on Labor Day, instead of attending class as I did the first three years of my Cornell career, I buried a bottle of Bacardi on Libe Slope.
You might be thinking, “Well, that is stupid.” And yes, perhaps it is. But allow me to explain:
“Big Red Ambition: 161 Things Every Cornellian Should Do” is a list of reader suggestions that is published in The Sun’s first issue each year. The tasks range from inevitable (#25: bomb a prelim) to the edible (#12: order Ice Cream at the Dairy Bar. An absolute must … and do it soon because apparently Cornell Dairy is ceasing to produce ice cream this year?!) to the relatively stupid (#110: Fail your swim test, just for kicks) but they all stand for experiences that are distinctly Cornell.
As I enter my senior year of college, I decided to make it a goal to complete as many of the 161 things as I can before I graduate (…and cry, and get nostalgic). Which brings me back to the burial of the Bacardi bottle -Bacardi Gold, to be precise.
In deciding where to begin my quest of conquering the 161 Things to do at Cornell I figured that I could approach the list in one of two ways: in some kind of organized fashion or in a relatively haphazard manner. Since I am neither organized nor particularly fashionable - completing the tasks in a semi-random order suited my style.
I recruited all of my roommates to help determine the random number that would be checked first. One of my more organized friends pointed out that I needed to consider my “limiting factors” -the weather, time of year, and my eligibility (i.e. I don’t qualify for #90: Males: Get thrown out of Balch Hall”). We eliminated those numbers that would have to wait (#18: Have a snowball fight in May) and those I have inadvertently completed (#15: Register for classes during Freshman Orientation, then switch out of every single one by the time Add/Drop ends) but it remained unclear which number should be the first conquer.
My friend C then suggested a fair and traditional approach: pick out of a hat. This method was random enough for me, so I ripped up 161 slips of paper (yes, actually), painfully assigned each slip a number and tossed the slips of paper in a baseball hat. Then the moment of truth – stuck my hand in the hat and out I pulled #21.
And so, this past weekend, I set my sights on lucky number 21. Or, at least, part one (“Bury a bottle of Bacardi on the slope”) of this two-part task (“Dig it up on slope day”).
Though a fairly simple undertaking, digging a hole in Libe Slope did require preparation and planning. First of all, I own approximately zero gardening tools, shovels or any other devices used to extract dirt from the earth. Sure, hands were a potential option, but I have walked, sat, sled - and fallen off my “sled” (read: Okenshields lunch tray) - on Libe Slope enough times to know the ground is harder than one might expect. And, if I want this bottle to remain buried until May, this hole needed to be legit.
After a trip to Lowe’s I secured the necessary and proper digging tool. If you’re interested for your own Bacardi burial (or gardening endeavors), it’s called a trovel.
Then, the purchase of the Bacardi. Much to my chagrin and dismay, I am not yet twenty-one, so my underage status required I recruit a friend to purchase the Bacardi on my behalf. As long as I financially sponsored the event, it was no trouble getting my friend H to make the trip to Collegetown Liquor.
The actual execution of the burial was fairly straightforward. Naturally, my roommate N was down to partake in the digging and burying ordeal. We agreed dusk was a good time for the burial in the hopes it would avoid calling undue attention to our activity, and still enable us to see what we were doing. We also developed a “placement strategy”. We figured in order to have a prayer of digging up this Bacardi on Slope Day, the bottle needed to be buried near some sort of a landmark so come May I will be able to remember where I put it. A few minutes of digging later, the deed was done.
See ya in May, Bacardi Gold.
…Unless, for some bizarre reason you take it upon yourself to ruin my fun (and waste hours of your life) and dig this bottle up – at least have the decency to tell me so come Slope Day I don’t wander the slope with my trovel in hand, confused and distressed about my disappeared bottle of Bacardi Gold (although, let’s be honest – this is likely to happen anyway, and I assure you it will be entertaining when it does).