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so, i was sitting here on a thursday night watching public access, as university students careened themselves down a hill in makeshift sleds.

in february of 2003, around a foot and a half of snow was dumped on my corner of the world. life essentially stopped for about three days... schools and colleges were closed. stores, businesses, also closed. no traffic, anywhere, except for emergency. so, what are rural ohioans to do?

there is something dreaded on the local college campus...
something students must face daily.
it is called...
jeff hill.

me, i've never been student here. i did, however, temp at the student center for about a month. i had to walk up this hill [named for jefferson hall, which sits at its base] more times than i care to remember. so -- before i discovered the elevator shortcut through the music building -- i invariably showed up at work panting like i'd just run a 400m race. anyway, all this to say: this is a steep and centrally located hill.

there are literally hours and hours of film -- taken from sometime in the late morning until the streetlamps have clearly kicked on -- of students sledding down this hill. it's really quite amusing, even in reruns. and not to mention educational: did you know that a table [you know, the kind with metal folding legs] makes a fairly slick sled for you and your seven closest friends? i did not know this. also: rubbermaid totes, mattresses, random scraps of flat things, and of course the obligatory dining hall lunch trays are also effective in a pinch.

what struck me as i watched it this time [yes, they've played it several times and i've seen it several times] was the girl coming back from whatever store happened to be open at that time, heading down to her destination via lunch tray... clutching a twenty-four pack of natural light. i thought, "why go back to your apartment and drink when this opportunity lies before you? this looks way more fun than drinking terrible beer!" as was the common wail/excuse/fallacy of my own rural college town, there is the same wail/excuse/fallacy here: "there's nothing to do except get drunk!"

well, well, my friends. eighteen inches of snow plus a steep grade equals good times for all. why not take advantage of it? it wasn't planned by student senate, it's not being touted as an "alternative to partying"; it's just some good old-fashioned playground fun. as i continued to watch, i noticed that no one was arguing, no one was complaining, no one was cutting in line [there was really only one good pathway down the hill]. everyone was having fun. well, except maybe the guy that ran into the tree. but even then it seemed pretty fun. it was one of the only times i actually yearned to be a college student again [and here at my rival college, no less]... the childlike enthusiasm brought forth by the entire scenario was positively heartwarming.

and i thought... this whole growing up and trying to act cool thing is for the birds. if only we could allow ourselves this luxury of being childlike, perhaps we'd end up growing into a pretty good Life anyways.

Posted on Friday, September 17, 2004 at 01:11PM by Registered Commentermdog | Comments4 Comments

Reader Comments (4)

Jeff WHO?

(sorry, I had to do it)
Sep 17, 2004 at 11:34AM | Unregistered CommenterJoy
...jeff hall.

[said in a trammell sort of way]
Sep 17, 2004 at 12:37PM | Registered Commentermdog
maria, I love love LOVE this entry. polished yet thought-provoking.

Sep 17, 2004 at 04:06PM | Unregistered Commenterrachel
Awesome. I had a visual the entire time. It always amazed me when people say "there's nothing to do but drink here". There was so much to do. Sad, how people aren't allowed to use their imaginations for anything other than creating make-shift sleds. ;)
Sep 17, 2004 at 04:29PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve

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