I wrote last week that it was my goal to become a more open-minded and worldly writer. It hasn't been long since I published those words, but I think you'll be pleased to learn that I've made quite a bit of progress toward that goal.
Here are some ways I've been more open-minded and worldly lately:
1. There was a commercial on TV recently for a company called Western Sky. I don't know what the hell Western Sky is - I'm thinking some sort of airline - or what they were trying to sell, but the point is that a non-Caucasian woman with tan skin and dark hair was talking about something.
I normally would have assumed she was a Mexican and then went about my business, but I then thought about it and determined that she was a Native American. The fact that I was able to determine that she was a Native American - and not a Mexican - proves that I'm more open-minded and worldly. Something like that takes an inordinate amount of skill, if I do say so myself. I mean, sure, the words "Western Sky is a Native American-owned company" were on the bottom of the screen, but I feel like I deserve all of the credit for determining her race.
Before I move on, one random thing about Native Americans. My friend the Reverend recently played the "What Does Walt Know" game where he asks me random questions in front of people to determine what I do and don't know. For example, I correctly told him what "steampunk" was, but didn't exactly know what a whisk (I just tried to spell it "wisk") looked like. One of the questions was, "What's the difference between Indians and Native Americans?" My response: Indians are from the country of India, and Native Americans are from the country of Native America.
Everyone agreed that I was right. Of course I was. That's pretty easy to remember. Now, if you asked me to locate both India and Native America on a map, I'd be dumbfounded. They're both somewhere in Asia - I know that much.
2. I opened my freezer Tuesday evening and noticed my box of frozen dinosaur chicken nuggets. My sister usually puts them in the oven thing when we have people over, but I never bothered with them because I don't know how to operate my oven thing.
It was time for a change. I was more open-minded and worldly, after all. I took out the box and noticed that there was a microwave option for these things. I happily put them on a plate and stuck them in the microwave. Forty-five seconds later, I was stuffing dinosaur chicken nuggets into my mouth.
3. I went jogging in the rain after covering the NFL Combine. The gym was already closed and I needed exercise, so I went outside even though it was pouring. I had to change my socks when I came back home, but they were all in the hamper. All my socks were, that is, except for my black socks.
I've worn white or gray socks my entire life. I've never worn regular black ankle socks. I put them on and... they felt very comfortable! This just proves that it's beneficial to be more racially diverse. Take note, racists.
Anyway, those are just three instances where I've been more open-minded and worldly lately. I'm sure I could come up with plenty more if I had the time. I have to say that I'm proud of myself. I never thought that visiting my girlfriend, Awesome Girl Who Loves Football in New Orleans would spark such a magnificent transformation within me.
Of course, simply being in New Orleans was fun. I didn't check out Bourbon Street or anything because I didn't feel like driving my jeep/tank, but I did get to see Tulane's campus a few times because Awesome Girl Who Loves Football had classes on the three of the days I was there.
I had some time to kill while Awesome Girl Who Loves Football was in class, but don't think that this was a boring time for me. What I was able to do was walk around and find Jerks of Tulane. I didn't think this would be much of a challenge because as I came to realize from my days at Penn State, college campuses are flooded with jerks worth writing about. I predictably found quite a few...
1. Two Cool Thugs
Tulane is one of the whitest schools in the country. Its nickname is "Jewlane," and as Awesome Girl Who Loves Football once told me, the only non-white people on campus are the athletes.
She was right on the money. I hardly saw any diversity while walking around campus. However, I did spot two white guys who thought they were black. I was walking by a place called "Cancer Corner," a section where people gather to smoke cigarettes. A short white guy was reading a book when another white dude approached him. I overheard their bizarre conversation as I walked by:
White Guy No. 1: What up G?
White Guy No. 2: What up dogg?
White Guy No. 1: Not much homez. Whatchu up to?
White Guy No. 2: Just livin' da life.
White Guy No. 1: Coo, coo.
These guys were clearly too cool for school. This school in particular. I bet they applied to an all-black school, but were miffed when they were rejected because of their skin color.
See, that's the problem with schools that have a student body comprised of just one race. If the all-black school these cool dudes applied to was more open-minded and worldly like me, it would have realized that these guys weren't really white, despite the color of their skin. It's just a shame that we have to live in such a closed-minded world.
2. Zeta Recruiting
The center of Tulane's campus is McAlister Drive. There were tons of booths for sorority recruitment set up my first day on campus. The sorority people, mainly from one called Zeta, constantly approached girls who walked by and gave them information.
Unfortunately, no matter how many times I strolled by their stands, they didn't say a single word to me. This perplexed me, and I later complained to Awesome Girl Who Loves Football.
Me: I can't believe these Zeta people. Some nerve they have!
Awesome Girl Who Loves Football: What do you mean?
Me: Not one sorority girl today asked me to join their sorority! Not one!
Awesome Girl Who Loves Football: Umm... maybe that's because you're a guy?
She was right. I am a guy. But I don't think that's any reason for a sorority not to recruit me. There are sometimes female kickers on football teams. There was a woman hockey goalie once. There were a couple of guys who went to Girls' High School in Philadelphia. So, why can't I be invited to a sorority? It would be sexist of Zeta not to approach me, so there must have been some other reason.
I thought about it, and I came to realize that I'm just not cool enough. This made me super depressed.
I spent time trying to figure out how I could possibly appeal to Zeta, and that's when I figured it out - all I need to do is talk like the cool people I overheard earlier. If I go back to Tulane and walk around campus muttering to myself, "What up dogg? How's it hangin', G?" I guarantee that sororities will be lining up to give me bids.
3. The $2 Cookie
Sororities weren't the only stands set up on McAlister Drive. There also happened to be a bake sale. This obviously interested me because I'm extremely fat.
I spotted a bake sale while Awesome Girl Who Loves Football was in class. I eagerly approached the stand with drool pouring out of my mouth.
Asian Bake Sale Girl: Yay, a customer!
Me: Oh man, I'm so hungry. I ate an hour ago so I'm starving.
Asian Bake Sale Girl: Well, these chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies are 50 cents each. The brownies and the red velvet cake are $1 each and...
Something caught my eye. On the left side of the table there were these monstrous cookies. They were chocolate chip, but they looked like they were on steroids. I guess the Asian girl saw me eying those because she skipped the rest of the items on the stand.
Asian Bake Sale Girl: Those are $2 each and...
Me: What!? Did you just say $2 for a single cookie?
Asian Bake Sale Girl: Yeah, they're $2. They're...
Me: I've never been so outraged in my entire life! How can a cookie be $2?
Asian Bake Sale Girl: They're chocolate chip cookies with Oreos baked inside of them.
Me: Umm... what?
Asian Bake Sale Girl: We baked an Oreo into a chocolate chip cookie. They're $2 each.
Me: I think... I think this is the happiest day of my life.
I bought one of those Oreo chocolate chip cookies. I wasted no time and took a bite. My body began convulsing. I think Asian Bake Sale Girl asked me what was wrong, but I don't remember much after that. The next thing I recall, I was standing right outside of the building where I dropped off Awesome Girl Who Loves Football. She walked outside minutes later.
Awesome Girl Who Loves Football: Are you OK?
Me: Cookie... Oreo... baked inside...
I had difficulty explaining what just happened, but I eventually told her what I ate. The next day, Awesome Girl Who Loves Football gave me Oreo-filled brownies that she baked for me for Valentine's Day. I nearly died of happiness as I devoured them.
4. Tulane Meter Maids
Tulane's a great campus, but not if you want to drive anywhere. A**hole students cross the street without looking, while skateboarders hover around the street, completely oblivious to oncoming traffic. One such douche bag wouldn't get out of the way until I honked my horn at him. I seriously wanted to run him over.
Parking's even worse. There are designated spots to park and you have to feed a meter, which would be fine, except that there's a 45-minute limit on the meters. This makes absolutely no sense, given that a typical Tulane class is 50 minutes long. Think this is a bit of a coincidence? It's an obvious ploy for Tulane to generate extra revenue via parking tickets.
When Awesome Girl Who Loves Football was in class, I had the annoying task of constantly feeding the meter every 40 minutes or so to avoid a ticket. This was especially difficult given that I seldom had any change. I constantly had to go into stores and annoy cashiers by asking for four quarters in exchange for a $1 bill. When I didn't have any ones, I was forced to purchase something just to get change.
For example, I went into a place called Le Gourmet and brought a banana to the register. The black lady behind the counter looked at me quizzically.
Cashier: That all you havin'?
Cashier: I take care of you lata after these otha folk pay for their sandeches.
Me: Umm... OK.
What a b***h. I can't believe she made me wait in line just because I wanted to buy a measly banana. The worst part is that because I had to wait, I was late on the meter and got a ticket.
It was ridiculous. Tulane parking people are brutal. I was late by a couple of minutes on three occasions and I was given a parking ticket each time. In total, I racked up five parking tickets. Here's proof:
One instance was especially aggravating. It was close to 70 degrees and sunny on one particular day, so I wanted to stay outside while working on stuff for this Web site. I was approaching my 45-minute limit on the meter though, so I sat right outside of Le Gourmet, which is right where my Jeep was. I literally could see my Jeep from where I was sitting. I got to typing something and I lost track of time, though I still sporadically checked if any meter maids were walking around. I didn't see any, but when I finally realized what time it was, I was two minutes past the meter expiration. I thought I was OK, but nope - I had another ticket.
At this point, I figured that the Tulane meter maids had some extraordinary abilities. They apparently were both capable of being invisible to avoid detection and psychic to know exactly when a meter expired. I yelled, "F***ing a**holes!" in frustration.
As it turns out, I was feeding the wrong meter. You see, the meters on McAlister drive are very old and bent crookedly. It's also very difficult to distinguish which meter belongs to which parking spot. I felt so stupid when I came to this realization.
When Awesome Girl Who Loves Football and I were leaving campus that afternoon, I spotted one of the meter maids. He looked like he crawled out of a gutter - he was a short, squirrely Indian man with glasses and a thick mustache. I had to say something to him.
Me: Hey, I kept getting tickets for this car, but only because I was putting tickets in the wrong meter. Look, they're bent crookedly, so I couldn't determine which one was mine.
Meter Maid: Ehh... ehh... ehh...
Me: Is there anything you can do about this?
Meter Maid: Ehh... ehh... maybe go to ehh... parking office... ehh...
This guy looked super scared of me, almost as if he thought I was going to punch him for giving me parking tickets. But at that point, I didn't care. Why? Because I'm not going to pay these damn parking tickets. I wasn't driving my car in my city, so why should I give a crap? The Tulane meter maids can go f*** themselves.
5. The Black Car
I was waiting for Awesome Girl Who Loves Football to finish up her classes on my last day in New Orleans so we could go to the airport. I completely ran out of change, so I decided to sit in my Jeep until she came back. If the squirrely Indian man approached my car and wanted to ticket me, I was going to cause a huge scene.
That didn't happen. Not seeing a meter maid would have surprised me, but for some strange reason, about 10 black people congregated right in front of my Jeep. As Awesome Girl Who Loves Football later joked, it was like all of the black people on Tulane's campus decided to meet at that very spot.
I'm not sure what they were talking about, but I got a surprised look from a black chick, who shirked, "I didn't realize somebody in that car!"
She and her friends eventually started laughing and pointing to the car to the left of me
Black Person No. 1: That's a black car!!!
Black Person No. 2: Haha that definitely a black car!!!
Black Person No. 3: Haha black car!!!
A black car? Why was that so amusing? Were there no black cars in New Orleans? I looked out of curiosity - and the car wasn't black. It was silver.
I was so confused. Why were the black people calling a silver car a "black car?" It didn't make any sense to me whatsoever. I mean, you'd think that blacks, of all people, would be able to determine the difference between a black car and a silver car. If we're talking about a white guy from some hick county in the middle of Pennsylvania, sure, he might not be able to distinguish between the two, but why couldn't those black people do it?
And you know what? Typing that last paragraph just made me realize that I'm still very ignorant about things in this world. If I don't know why black people don't know what a black car looks like, then I'm nowhere near as open-minded and worldly as I originally thought.