Today, looking at the other “last” editorials by my predecessors, I admired how they’re able to tactfully look towards the future while paying homage to time here, how they balanced sentimentality with humor and really hit it on the head.
No way I can do that. It’ll sound trite. If I tell a story that’s my perfect summary of Grinnell, it wouldn’t translate. You weren’t there! It’d be just another boring anecdote. I’m not able to capture the sound of my friends laughing, or the tangible happiness in a room, or any of the other things that make up my memories. You can relate to feeling sentimental, but because of subjectivity you’re never going to really get what I’m saying. That’s just how it is.
So instead of telling you what did happen, I’m instead going to tell you a story of what could have been. I’m going to tell you about the best party that never happened.
It’s name would be “Cabo San Gardner” and it would have been magic. We’d throw it in March or April, right after the snow melts but it’s still a muddy, frigid hellhole outside. You’d descend into Gardner, as usual, and music with a heavy beat would be pumping, as usual. Wait though…the lights are on. Full blast. Like a church social. In the back, my DJ friends are going nuts on stage to thrumming drum -n-bass. Over the beat you hear words, “don’t know the reason…stayed here all season…”
You’d look to your friendsyup, it is in fact Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville.” Before you new arrivals could converse more, the cabana boys descend. Clad in nothing but speedos, glistening in the mild yellow of the Gardner lights, they hold out a roll of paper towels and a bottle of peanut oil.
“Towels, sir? Madame, some tanning oil?” You can’t refuse. The music gets louder. In the center of the floor there’s an inflatable pool. It’s halffull of construction sand from Walmart, sludgy with grey-brown water from the bathroom sink. The beach is open.
It’s a bit overwhelming, but you find the bar. The kitchen door is open on top, green paper palm fronds lining the door as the bartender smiles at you. You ask for a drink.
“Certainly! Here’s the menu.” The menu has like, 6 choices, all with bad sex puns as names. Sex on Cleve Beach. The Moclito. MaiThaime-of-The-Month. Margar-eat-me-a. You just want jungle juice.
Your friend asks for a Sex on Cleve Beach. The bartender smiles and dips a cup into a tub of red syrup. It’s just Hawaiian punch and Hawkeye. But before handing it off, the bartender daintily lifts a single Swedish Fish out of a 5 pound bag, and ever so delicately places it on the rim of the glass.
“We also have Corona with lime?” Yes please. The bartender reaches down and grabs a can of something- Coors Light cause c’mon, we’re not made of money even in my fantasy-and cracks it for you. You reach forward, but not before the bartender places another slightly melted candy fish on the rim.
“Enjoy the beach, guys!” The music swells. I’m on stage, probably in a recliner chair with a mirror (for better tanning). So are my friends. It’s my fantasy, guys, so the people who matters to me from the past 4 years is there too. We’re chilling. Everyone’s pretty happy: this whole fiasco is a glorious, confusing shit-show.
And that, I think, is the Grinnell College experience.