Ohmygod, it'll be the best weekend of your life. Seriously, it's amazing! Spring Fling is reason enough to go to Penn." But as I carefully stepped over a puddle of fresh vomit smelling of hot dogs and Bacardi to get into the dirty pink-tiled, clogged-toilets first floor bathroom of Butcher in the Quad my freshman year, I couldn't help but feel that Spring Fling had somehow overlooked me -- that I was the one person on Penn's campus not having "the best weekend of my life." Don't get me wrong, I like looking at vomit all the colors of the rainbow and identifying by smell the alcohol that sparked the yakking as much as any other Penn student. But somehow, I felt flung out. The weekend had its great moments, but to say it was the highlight of my life, or even of my college career, would be a gross overstatement. As gross, one might say, as piles of vomit overflowing from poorly managed toilets. I figured that maybe sophomore year's Fling would be better. Maybe living in the Quad (a.k.a. "University Port-a-Potty") my freshman year had somehow made my Fling harder to enjoy. But sophomore year too, I had a good time, but not "the best weekend of my life." At the end of each weekend, I was hit by an intense amount of depression. Spring Fling had come and gone. It was OK. But that's it. Fling is just one of the many times in my life when I feel that there must be something seriously wrong with me. If everyone else is having the time of their lives, and I'm just having, well, a pretty good time, does that make me the biggest loser on Penn's campus? (That was rhetorical, people. Save your letters to the editor for something else.) Well then, color me green, staple synthetic fur to my body and pay me millions of dollars to be in a B-grade movie -- I'm the Grinch that Stole Fling. For a while, I thought it was just me with yet another neurosis to add to my ever-growing list of "personal Ariel Horn deformities." But as I began talking with friends about Fling coming up this weekend, I was met by a series of freakily intense smiles and "I'm so psyched"-style remarks that seemed as artificial as Freshgrocer's claim that they're actually going to open up sometime within the next millennium. As I listened to friends' forced enthusiasm about Fling, it hit me, like a Mack truck ploughing down a young frazzled raccoon on Route 76: I'm not the only Penn student with a problem. There are a lot of people on Penn's campus who are in the closet about their true Fling feelings. Fling's just not "all that and a bag a chips." At best, it's just the bag of chips. This is not to say that the bag of chips isn't good enough. The problem is that Fling has been made into the be-all, end-all of our college experience -- that it is presumed to be the existential answer to our lifelong questioning of our purpose on Earth (Fling philosophy: to drink to the point of blindness). Making Fling into "the best weekend of your college career" then creates a real problem for all the other weekends at Penn. By making Fling the number one weekend of your life, you're obliterating all chances of having any other weekend at Penn outside of Fling be as much fun. The net result is that nothing will live up to Fling. And the problem with that is that Fling doesn't always live up to itself. The fact is that any weekend at Penn can be the best weekend of your life, and that while it might be Fling, it doesn't have to be. Even in terms of "Fling-style fun," let's face it, you can get as drunk any weekend at Penn as you get at Fling, and you could probably find 10 or 20 people willing to be drunk with you for 72 hours all the same. So as Fling approaches this weekend, don't despair if you find yourself creeping over a puddle of vomit, or holding the hair back of a friend as you kneel on dirty pink-tiled bathroom floors. It may not be the Sweetest Fling ever, but it doesn't have to be. "Sweet" is good enough.Comments powered by Disqus
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