Ode to College Life

EUGENE, Oregon – This college town offers the same mix of mayhem and magic as Cairo or Manhattan at a fraction of the price. Yesterday, Smartacus had a cheeseburger the size of a truck tire. Twelve bucks. Juicy too.

Everything up here seems juicier, more lush. Probably all that rain. There’s a library of leaves just outside my window right now. Utopia? Hardly. Just a college campus, an exurb of Utopia. Still, the best thing we’ve got.

Seriously, I’d put college campuses right up there with Thanksgiving and Dolly Parton as the best of what America has to offer…pumpkin farms, Kurt Vonnegut, Grace Kelly…yep, right up there. If you love those things, you’ve got to love a college campus.

American universities are built without budgets or any financial constraints whatsoever. When we should’ve been building affordable housing and mental health clinics, we were building college rec centers with juice bars and climbing walls.

I’m not judging. After all, nothing’s too good for the kids.

What you’re left with are these cush campuses. The kids live like rich retirees who build their dream homes on the best golf courses.

Matter of fact, Smartacus brought his clubs. Look for him practicing his chipping on the campus quad. Lord, I love this Oregon grass. Thicker than the nicest sweaters I’ve ever seen.

Anyway, gotta go. I have to move Smartacus into his campus apartment, on the lip of this campus, across from the basketball arena Phil Knight built.

You know, a child is “a complete little universe,” to borrow from the great William Carlos Williams (a poet)

My own workshop of words fails me in describing these cheeky kids, who seem to get all the good stuff we have to offer.

And why not.

Coming soon: My son quivers when he eats. Much like his old man. Plus, best hashed browns I’ve ever had. I mean ever.

9 thoughts on “Ode to College Life

  1. My nephew lives in Eugene and I know what you mean. Been tempted to move there many times, but nothing beats Paradise. So glad Spartacus is continuing to get the full college experience, out on his own but in such a welcoming place. Glad you get to share it with us in all its vivid autumn glory!

  2. My dad learned to play golf when he was a UO architecture student. Gotta do something on those drizzly days. Go Ducks!

  3. I honestly think that “senior” housing on a college campus would be the ultimate in retirement living, at 65 I am ready to sign up now.

  4. I believe several midwestern colleges offer retirement living housing on their “Cush” campuses with access to the school’s facilities.
    Perhaps they’re available at Oregon and other rural situated universities. Definitely not at my Alma Mater UCLA where the only available housing near the campus would be a multi million $ condominium on Wilshire Blvd.

  5. The main attraction on campus has always seemed to me to be the electricity of the minds assembled there, not the student housing or the beautiful trees turning to glowing embers, or , or, or. I mean it. I was a gap-jawed undergraduate on a constant adrenalin buzz. I felt so inadequate. Everyone seemed confidently to know everything I did not. The word sponge would not begin to describe the giant sucking sound in my mind. What.a wide-eyed geek I was, and not mature enough to be cool and fake it ‘til I made it. Everyone KNEW I didn’t know. Years later, teaching in graduate school the little I really knew, I felt the same electric awe at the casual brilliance of the student minds around me. What a conundrum: the older I’ve gotten, the more conscious I’ve become of how little I know of the constantly expanding “what there is to know”. For a learning junkie, this has led to a lifetime of chasing a receding horizon. My wish for “Sparticus”: that he learn one thing: How To Think”. It will dwarf all the rest in terms of value in a lifetime of moment-to-moment endless problem solving and decision making. The lifelong friendships you obtain and the beauty of the surroundings are the cream you float upon through the dazzling campus hours. It is all worth working hard; to learn, and to enjoy the sensuous beauty of a pliable open mind. It makes me shiver to think of it.

    1. I’ve heard that the best thing a college can do is exactly what you say: Teach them how to think. Even more important in this era of group think, which is also rampant on campuses. Fingers crossed.

  6. Love the pic of the clubs. And can’t wait to hear about the hash browns. Combined with a good cheesy pizza it’s the best meal ever!

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