October 20th, 2009

Nuggets of wisdom from this weekend

I spent the previous weekend in Ithaca, celebrating Bonecoming 2009 with friends old and new. Here are some of the things I learned anew, along with other highlights of which I was reminded in my time on the East Hill:
  • The Pinesburger is a gastronomical concoction without peer. Being as this was the third one I've had this year, this certainly wasn't new knowledge.
  • I was reminded of a unique incident that occurred, I believe, sometime in my second year at Cornell. There was a game of kings, or as we call it, Oh Fuck, I Got The King. We were playing with jokers; in our game, drawing one required you to down a shot. At some point during the game, I drew one, but was adamantly against imbibing hard liquor, so an alternative had to be conceived. What did my friends come up with? A shot of potato chips. I mean that literally; they crushed up come chips (Wegmans brand, undoubtedly), placed them into a shot glass, and down my hatch it went. Surprisingly, it wasn't half bad.
  • Staying on the topic of OFIGTK, and filing under "discretion is the better part of valor": During a game Friday night, we were down to the last king, and I had a nasty premonition that I was going to draw it. When the turn came around to me, of course I did. I chugged my beer as required, and was on the verge of refunding. Despite an urge not to back down, I knew a fifteen to twenty minute break was the right course of action. And that was correct; I did not vomit at that point or any other during the weekend, not even after downing a small quantity of reddish "vitamin water" during the second quarter on Saturday. (Of course, the primary "vitamin" in that substance has the chemical representation C2H5OH.)
  • The presence of an eighteen inch dildo (that the undergrads have named "Michael") adds an interesting element to both conversations and drinking games.
  • I brought my trombone to Ithaca, and for the first time in over seven years, I busted out some notes. I wasn't worried about remembering the correspondence between notes and slide positions; having played for eleven years has permanently ingrained that knowledge into me. But I certainly wasn't up on the Big Red Marching Band's playlist, and my sound could undoubtedly use some improvement. One of my flute-playing friends said she tries to break out her instrument at least once a year; that might not be a bad plan, especially to be ready in advance of next year's Grand Bonecoming.
  • Cornell football is such as it always is...not good. The Big Red secondary was extremely susceptible to the big play. And even the coaching staff seemed to have given up before the final horn sounded. With ten minutes left in the fourth quarter and down by 26, the Big Red drove deep into Fordham territory, got to fourth down...and sent out the field-goal unit. The underlying message: "If we could concede this game at this point, we would." The attempt sailing wide right was simply poetic justice.
  • Red-White hockey was an enjoyable time. Even if still haven't seen a competitive game at Lynah Rink since January 2003, it's always nice to see the Coach Schafer's boys in person. And the little kids playing during the breaks were a nice touch. In the past few years, I have not closely kept up on the team until the playoffs, being as my energies were directed at enduring the Memphis boot of oppression. But this significant uptick in free time, combined with the high expectations for this year, mean that this is probably the most excited and ready I've been for Cornell hockey since the Frozen Four season of 2002-03.
  • Favorite memory of the game: For the second song of the halftime show, the alumni joined the BRMB on the field. The song was "Jesus Christ Superstar," a staple of the band's folder. Being as the alumni of Da Bones had neither knowledge of nor concern for the intended formation, we found a spot and lined up. After the slow introduction, we began snaking around the field...as the ENTIRE rest of the band was standing still. And by the end of the song, we were in front of the drum major's ladder. Way to go, Scersk.
  • And lastly, speaking of Scersk...he's now in his twelfth or thirteenth year as a Ph.D. student. This situation leads to the one piece of advice I would give to those now on the East Hill following us in this lineage. Everything your parents told you about hard work and determination being the keys to success is generally true. But if those qualities simply aren't your bag, you can still get what you want out of life...and Scersk is living proof of that.

On the whole, it was a most memorable enjoyable time, and it was a wise decision to proceed to the Finger Lakes. That said, even if the weekend had been total crap, it least it would have been total crap without the rain and wind that plagued Long Island. It wasn't quite the soul-rejuvenating experience of 2007 - but then again, I didn't expect it to be. The cohort of friends was larger then, and that weekend was a necessary escape from the drudgery of shipyard life. Regardless of the circumstances, time spent with the Big Red Band and its alumni (yes, even the trumpets) is always time very well spent. Their hospitality, combined with their spirit - be it attending the lacrosse Final Four on Commencement weekend, or toughing out four quarters of the farce that Cornell claims is football - makes the band an organization without parallel in the Ivy League.