May 6, 2010

Expatriate Party: Le Slope Day

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At first, I didn’t know why my heart had started smashing against its cage with such violent fury. I had been half-asleep in class, middle of the afternoon, with no reason for my hands to start shaking and my chest to play host to what felt like pony hooves rattling my ribcage. I looked around the class, and found the same wild and panicked expression on the only other Cornellian in this classroom thousands of miles away from Ithaca: Slope Day was coming, and we were helpless to its call.No matter what pedestal you want to climb on to chastise we drunken fools, I think it goes without saying that Slope Day isn’t just the best day of the year, but the most essential. Without what is basically a daylong vent of finals frustration and springtime celebration, all motivation would disappear with the end of classes and we’d all just be pissed off and riddled with anxiety. True, it’s important to be careful on Slope Day — protective headgear and a cup, if applicable — but it’s more important to let yourself be swept up in the chaos and make some new friends, if only for a few sloppy hours. If you’re one of those warriors lucky enough to make it to the slope, you’ll be treated to a celestial scene unfolding as you pass through the gates: Every engineer or bio major who has ever given you a straight-edged impression is doing cartwheels into one another, chicken-fighting with strangers or letting their friends draw dicks and life lessons on them while they nap. It’s the sort of feeling Dorothy got when she stepped into Oz for the first time. Actually, it was kind of the same scene. Don’t try to tell me the Lollipop Guild wasn’t tripping face, they couldn’t even bend their knees.We overseas refuse to be left out. This Friday the Big Red Paris contingent is hosting Le Slope Day, starting way earlier than you on our very own Parisian slope. Attendees will include Losh’s infamous Serbian rakija, homemade liquor from his authentically Serbian grandma that doubles as the only known liquid that’s successfully melted a diamond. We won’t have Drake, but I booked a very promising homeless guy who swore that he’s Frank Sinatra’s granddad and taught Ol’ Blue Eyes everything he knew. He smelled like old milk and dried Keystone. I’m expecting big things.We’ve decided to open our doors to other non-Cornell abroad students … their mild confusion at our insistence only further highlights the power of Slope Day. A lot of schools have their own version of this Friday, yet not once did any of them think of continuing the tradition over in Paris. I don’t know if that says more about them or us, but at the very least shows that they’re not on our level. I’ve always found Cornell’s Jekyll and Hyde routine hilariously impressive … the libraries are always overflowing with kids who are bugging out over the smallest assignment, and yet when given the chance, will rage until all the gorges acquire a lovely puke-green tinge that just glows in the springtime. Embrace the fact that we’re so incredibly bipolar.Finals week is one of the more painful necessities around. Slope Day is too. However you choose to celebrate, make sure that this Friday is an explosive celebration of everything you’ve done at school up to this point. Maybe name each shot after a professor or class you took. Maybe pass out in a port-a-potty. Maybe take your pants off. It’s Slope Day. These things are okay, regardless of how much you remember.

Original Author: Graham Corrigan