There are only so many things one can talk about at this school.
I’ve been writing the Graphic humor column since the second semester of my freshman year. That was three years ago. Seven semesters puts it at about 80 columns that I’ve written. Each column is about 550 words. Do I have 40,000 words of wisdom to speak on about this university?
No. I do not. That’s a short novel, you guys.
I’ve complained about the baby statue, DPS, Greek life, our Athletics Department. I’ve complained about the mysterious absence of an SBX-3000 smoothie machine in the HAWC, about bed bugs, the HAWC not being called Undulation Station – if it existed on this campus, and there was a case to be made against its existence, I’ve written a column about it.
I have never titled my columns, because at 550 words, I’ve always felt my editors’ expecting five or six more from me would be totalitarian and oppressive. Because of that, you’ve probably read one or two of my columns with titles that had very little to do with the actual content; if this column is too self-referential and meta-fictional for you, then I apologize.
Some of you guys have voiced your opinions along the way, and tried to get me to shut up. When I wrote about the school’s decision to not acknowledge the LGBT club on campus, some of you wondered if I myself was a closeted homosexual, which was very subtle and nuanced of those that did. When I called Oliver Stone a smug jerk for his Q&A; session at Pepperdine in which he referred to former president George W. Bush as a “retard,” a lot of you sent me angry emails about that too.
Ah, we’ve had our fun.
But as my columns draw to a close at the Pepperdine Graphic, I’m offering up to you this simple caveat — a peer behind the burgundy curtain of this weekly missive of mine: perhaps, just perhaps, I was never that angry about any of the things I wrote about, perhaps I didn’t even care that much either way. But you have a weekly deadline for three straight years and see what absurd situations you self-concoct along the way.
Because the truth is it’s hard coming up with something meaningful to say. Heck, that’s why I’m writing this article right now. I thought about penning a fake DPS op-ed, but it felt petty and cruel. I thought about talking about my time at a Martina McBride concert this weekend, but it felt petty and cruel (to myself).
I wish my articles could be like a weekly devotional for you, not to be totally sacrilegious. I wish you could open up the Graphic, laugh a little at my column and then leave a better person. But the truth is I don’t have eighty nuggets of wisdom to provide.
I’m 22 years old and I am scared a lot of the time. Large crowds scare me. Loud noise scares me. The weekly sitcom line-up on CBS scares me, you guys. Go outside, meet new people, give up your social networks, I don’t know! Live more intentional lives, ask out that cute girl, cut DPS some slack, pick a ridiculous cause to champion at this school … I’m sure your voice will be heard.
All I’m saying is, even though you didn’t ask to hear my voice for the last three years, I appreciate it whenever you’ve listened, I hope we’ve both gained something from the experience, and I’m sorry if I’m running out of things to say.
Follow Ben Holcomb on Twitter: @BenjaminHolcomb
As published in the Feb. 13 issue of the Pepperdine Graphic.