Welcome to Tucson, incoming U of A freshmen! (Hooligans, scholars and suckers — every last one of them.)
As an alumnus, I’m here to offer you some tips, such as pointing out the object you are holding in your henna-stained hands is called a “newspaper.” Before cranberry-coiffed millennials discovered blogs and BuzzFeed, the adults subsidizing your piercings would turn to newspapers for news. Having just moved into your dorm, you know newspapers make excellent material for packing bongs and handheld game consoles.
A proud graduate from the Class of ’77 (I use the word “class” very loosely), I went through what you’re experiencing as newbies on campus, except back then penicillin and a day’s rest were the answers.
Did I hear you call your dorm “awesome”? If you think your dorm is awesome, you must have been raised in a closet by forest gnomes with NAU degrees. The curious odor in your dinky dorm room is your roommate, a malevolent anthropoid selected as your best match by a team of lab chimps with no decency and a pair of hot dice. Although your roommate smokes, derides school and won’t let you study, rest assured the odds are exceptionally good, according to our attendance office’s resident statistician, that your roommate will be expelled, arrested or elected to national office before the semester is over.
Let me share some amazing history about Arizona’s top university. (While I have your attention, let me discourage you from ever using the phrase “Arizona’s top university,” because — let’s face it — that’s like saying “prettiest girl in Butcher Holler.”
Arizona’s first university was founded in 1885 by a gambler and a rambler and a sweet-talking ladies’ man. That was also the year all of your professors were born, and as a result you may find it’s difficult to get office time with them. Once a corpse has tenure, the game’s over.
At the beginning of each school year, freshmen repaint the “A” on “A” Mountain. The huge letter was placed on Sentinel Peak because it was taking up way too much space in Bert and Ernie’s closet where Bert and Ernie lived for two decades. The school’s credo is “Bear down!” — which is what Red Buttons shouted when he shot a bear that ventured too close to his bike at the Student Union.
I’d list the sororities and fraternities, but by the time this goes to print, odds are good Dean Wormer is going to be closing down another Animal House for stealing the giant Fourth Avenue tiki head and putting it on the lumberjack at Stone and Glenn.
The University of Arizona has produced astronauts and stars, yet no alum can match the splendor of Geraldo Rivera. A life-sized bronze cast of Rivera’s mustache, wider than a condor’s wingspan and measuring 22 feet across, is on display in the Student Union next to the model of the battleship USS Arizona. Both rest beneath a framed copy of David Fitzsimmons’ report card, noting a “D” in Drawing 101, from 1975.
The UA is our economic engine, a 21st-century innovations incubator and a great place to skateboard “commando.” It’s at the forefront of exploring asteroids in hopes of finding cheap parking. The College of Medicine is at the front lines in the search for a cure for “hairy putrid boils,” which, when inflamed, are often mistaken for ASU Sun Devils.
Tucsonans hate Sun Devils, minidorms, parking on game day and Barbies texting while driving their fathers’ BMWs. We love basketball and we like football. Basketball is Salma Hayek and football is Peppermint Patty. We just want to be friends with football.
Can you do a few things for us when you’re not busy studying, cramming, tweeting or twerking?
A streetcar is coming to town. It will take you downtown to bars, theaters, clubs, galleries, breweries, cool restaurants and more awesome student housing. We’re praying to the Fourth Avenue tiki head that you’re all going to raid the tip jar from your service-industry gig to ride down there to spend your parent’s credit cards. Do it. Ride it twice a day. Three times a day. Study on it. Live on it. Make out on it. Ever ride the monorail at Disney World? This is nothing like that. But you will end up in Frontierland, where we’ll rob you blind and then call you a taxi.
We’d appreciate it if all 39,000 of you would wear a name tag, stop fighting over the same parking space and smile more when you wait on us and ask you to repeat the specials because we left our hearing aids at home.
And one more favor addressed to whoever stole Geraldo’s mustache and stuck it on the tiki head. Put it back in the Student Union where it belongs.
Bienvenidos a Tucson! Mi casa es su casa! Turn that music down or I’m calling TPD.