October 6, 2013

BHOWMICK: How Crazy Is Too Crazy?

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It is an established college notion that the best weekends are the craziest ones. When one thinks of a college student, images of devastated house porches and general debauchery come to mind. The average night in Collegetown seems like a moonstruck, maniacal madhouse. Even Ke$ha echoed my sentiments last weekend when she described Cornell as “the craziest place around.” Our generation is not necessarily bringing crazy back — an investigation into Cornell’s archives is enough to prove that college has been all about those wild, forgotten nights since 1865. But it is here that I bring in my contention: How crazy is too crazy?

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I am a passionate proponent of seizing the day. However, there is a little predicament with interpreting carpe diem as “codeword: ratchet.” More often than not, our nights out can transform into a rollercoaster which basically sends us hurling toward insanity. By the time we want to stop, we have already been far flung into an abyss of unending darkness (read: blackout). The University does, of course, have a number of strategies in place to prevent this — the ubiquitous Cornell University Emergency Medical Services, Cornell University Police Department, Cayuga Medical Center and Basics. But how many of us are actually worried about being picked up or caught for our behavior? Our fates lie entirely in our capability to be sensible, particularly in those moments when our sensibilities are blurred.

I am not denying that the look on your friend’s face when they don’t remember a thing from the night before is priceless. However, that friend of yours will probably feel horrible about themselves for at least two or three days. A rough night leaves us feeling disoriented and oftentimes embarrassed if we’ve had to visit the hospital or don’t remember saying awful things to people. While living life as if each day were your last is definitely worth it, not dying in the attempt is equally essential. There is a fine line between being  a daredevil and  being foolish. It is up to us to stop ourselves from tipping over that line.

None of us want our scintillating lives to end before they even take off. I know some romantic somewhere might claim that it is better to burn out with a spark than fade away slowly but, I say: not quite. We all still have places to see and several lives to touch. Save the 20th shot of tequila for your dying day; I doubt any of us have had our fill yet.

Dance on tables, fall off tables, stay up all night, but take care of yourselves and your friends. If we are actually the YOLO generation, we might as well do it right. Nobody asked anyone to race their way to a blackout. The principle of living in the present is about making every moment count, not failing to remember every moment.

Henry David Thoreau, who said that we must find our eternity in every moment, also said in the same breath, “There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” I say we make this last;  20 years later you will thank me for this advice when your liver is still working. Everything I have written may seem like common sense but that is, more often than not, exactly what we lack. Nevertheless, go out this Thursday night. Have a remarkable time, but try not to spring through it. You’ll end up breathless and blind to every beautiful moment you could have witnessed had you taken it a little slower.