September 9, 2014

ELIOT | Doors, “Doors” and The Doors

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By CHRISTO ELIOT

I will begin this column by offering an apology for the preachy, corny, sentimental garbage I wrote and published two weeks ago. I know — my last column was an only slightly more polished rendition of some Buzzfeed article entitled “12 Reasons Your Cat Should Make You Feel Special” or something. It was sickening. Don’t start thinking I’ve gone soft on you though; this week I plan on getting back to my roots and writing a column about the mundane. There will be no metaphors or grand life lessons to carry on with you. This is a column about doors.

A friend of mine had his car stolen some time ago. When I heard this, I thought such a heinous and sinister crime could only take place in the worst kinds of neighborhoods, and it was taken off of Blair Street in Collegetown — which is not too dissimilar from Gotham City. A key element of this crime, however, was the fact that my friend left the door to his car unlocked. He also left the keys in his unlocked car. I’m not one for “trust-shaming” — or accusing people of asking to be taken advantage of by trusting too much — but it does kind of seem like this crime could have been avoided by taking some simple steps.

Doors are cool because they are both windows and walls depending on what you want them to be. If you are living in a place that might be prone to crimes like theft — like Collegetown — it is typically smart to take a page out of the Louvre’s playbook and lock your doors. Everybody has his or her own Mona Lisa. It might be an old camera your grandfather gave you, an autographed piece of sports memorabilia or a mounted Jackalope head. Théophile Homolle, museum director of the Louvre during the famed 1911 heist of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, was certainly devastated by the news of the painting’s disappearance. He probably regrets not taking more steps to avoid a situation in which his museum’s crown jewel was stolen. A simple step you can take to circumvent almost all situations like this is to simply lock your door when you are not there.

That said, there are times though when a door should be a window. A wise man told me when I was preparing to leave for college, “Leave your door open.” The first few weeks of freshman year is kind of a hilarious concept. A bunch of children from all over the country and world (Westchester, Long Island, New Jersey) are thrown into a rural town in central New York and told to go grow up and learn. People are desperate for friends. Leaving your door open is an easy way to randomly invite people into your room and develop a friendship with someone that will last you a lifetime (or at least for a semester, before you join a Greek house and leave all of your floor friends behind … suckers). Of course, a lot of this friendship development takes place in the first couple days of college, and if your door has been closed this whole time, you might be a little late to the party. That said, do not fret — not all doors on campus are closed to you, leaving you out in the cold friendless and alone — just the ones on your floor.

ClubFest took place last Sunday, and it showcased the diversity of different groups on campus. ClubFest was chock full of doors for people of all different interests. All it takes is a little bit of effort and a number of them will be opened for you. Again, these are literal doors; I am not talking about the countless metaphorical “doors” that joining a group on campus will open for you not only socially, but also culturally, professionally and even financially. I am talking about the real-world doors people will literally open for you when you make a nice stack of cash off a startup you sold after joining an entrepreneurship club.

To close this column, I will use the words of Jim Morrison, iconic lead singer for musical group The Doors. First, he said, “Some of the worst mistakes in my life have been haircuts.” What a cool thing to say. The great thing about hair is that it grows back for free. The Mona Lisa does not grow back at all, and I promise you will regret leaving your door unlocked and having your full-length mink fur coat stolen more than getting a mildly unflattering haircut. Next, he said, “There are things known and unknown and in between are the doors.” As I mentioned two weeks ago, college is a place where you are constantly be recruited to join cool and exciting groups. It is a place that strives to help you develop into a citizen with strong character and interests. The only things between who you are now and who you will be in five or 10 years are doors. Again, literal doors — the ones into club meetings, job interviews, restaurants on first dates (I remain unconvinced that second dates actually exist). And finally, Jim Morrison of The Doors said, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” Technically, print is media, so it might be in your best interests to ignore everything I ever write here.

Christo Eliot is a senior in the College of Engineering. He can be reached at celiot@cornellsun.com. The Tale of the Dingo at Midnight appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.