Eric D. Snider

UVSC What I Mean?

Snide Remarks #126

"UVSC What I Mean?"

by Eric D. Snider

Published in The Daily Herald on September 22, 2000

Utah Valley State College needs to stop wondering why people make fun of it and why no one takes it seriously. UVSC needs to locate reality, possibly by employing the services of a sleuth, and then gain a hard, firm grip on it.

No one hates UVSC, of course, except maybe the cops who work there, who evidently hate everyone and have been known to put people in jail overnight merely for existing. People just kind of pat UVSC on the head and smile condescendingly, and occasionally roll their eyes when something particularly weird happens there.

As Exhibit A, I cite the Sept. 6 student council-sponsored True Wolverine event. According to UVSC lore (and it's only been a couple years since UVSC was granted permission by the board of regents to have lore), one becomes a True Wolverine by undergoing DNA-altering laboratory work that results in the individual becoming, quote, a heavy, short-legged, bearlike mammal related to the weasel whose long, dark-brown, frost-proof fur is prized by Eskimos as trim for hoods and cuffs.

No, actually, I got that from Encyclopedia.com. At UVSC, one becomes a True Wolverine by attending the event on Sept. 6 and kissing a random stranger.

This was an actual event, as reported by Megan Carlson for UVSC's College Times in a Sept. 7 article. (Bear in mind that since many of these facts are coming from the campus newspaper, there is every chance that some of them are wrong, or at least misspelled.)

The deal here was that people went to a designated spot on campus in the evening and then found someone to kiss, generally by asking politely until someone obliged. Once that kiss was accomplished, both parties could call themselves True Wolverines, which must be quite an honor indeed, considering the heroic tasks one must perform in order to achieve it.

From the article: "Utah Valley State College hosted their [many newspapers would have said its, but I'm glad the College Times took the high road in the raging debate over noun-pronoun agreement] first True Wolverine last night in the new 'Tunnel of Love' [an area under College Drive, we learn in a separate news story in the same issue]."

We are told the romantic tale of freshmen Amber Dyer and Jason Russon, who had never met until this fateful fall evening. Once the first kiss took place, many more followed, reports the College Times.

"'We made out in a tree, and this old guy sat and watched us,' explained Dyer. 'We talked too -- we didn't just kiss.'"

The article does not mention whether the old guy was involved in the conversation.

"We made out in a tree, and this old guy sat and watched us" is one of the most wonderful quotes I have ever read in a newspaper story. I have registered a Web site called www.wemadeoutinatreeandthisoldguysatandwatchedus.com, as a monument to the marvelous absurdity contained in that statement. I want it emblazoned on T-shirts, billboards and stained-glass windows across America.

But I digress. Dyer and Russon each had a friend at the event, and those friends -- Katie Larsen and Christian Robinson -- wound up making out, too.

"They should have these things every weekend" is what Katie is quoted as saying. Also: "This is why I went to UVSC instead of BYU -- so I can participate in fun traditions like this." (I'm guessing her rejection letter from BYU was also a factor.)

The article says Amber and Jason, who made out in a tree while an old guy sat and watched them, plan to continue their relationship, which is obviously based on mutual trust, respect, and a fondness for making out in trees while old guys sit and watch them. For Katie and the ironically named Christian, however, it was a one-time fling: Katie already has a boyfriend, and Christian has a girlfriend.

But all was not peaches and cream at the True Wolverine event. As reported in the article, "With so many people wanting to make out, it was hard to avoid the one's [again, many newspapers would say "ones," but I am glad the College Times has recognized the underuse of apostrophes in today's society and decided to sprinkle them liberally throughout its -- I mean, their -- stories] you did not want to kiss.

"Freshman Ashley Garbe, for example, kept getting asked by a bunch of freaky guys. Finally, one Jake Anderson came to (her) rescue."

And then there's the happy tale of Katie Coles, a junior, who was supposed to just help oversee the event, but who wound up taking part. Listen as she recounts her romantic story, as quoted in the article:

"He ... said, 'I'm not taking no for an answer.' Then he took my hand, drug me in the tunnel, and kissed me. I never liked kissing so much until tonight."

It is sweet when a young man can take the bold steps necessary to force a young woman to kiss him. It is equally sweet when class-B misdemeanor assault results in the young woman enjoying the experience. What a happy message to send to all the men in the world: If you see something you want, don't take no for an answer! Just go out and GET IT! The woman will probably wind up enjoying herself!

I'm not saying that stupid things don't happen at BYU, because of course they do. (I should know; I've been personally responsible for several of them.) But at least BYU KNOWS it's a peculiar place, and doesn't wonder why people look at it funny. UVSC should realize the same thing about itself. Or themself. Or theirselves. Or whatever.

Stumble It!

Notes:

This column is longer than usual for The Daily Herald, though it's almost exactly the same length as the columns for The Daily Universe used to be. So those of you who have been complaining the columns were better when they were longer, here you go.

The reason for the extra length is simply that there was too much story to tell. I even cut a few things that I would have liked to make fun of, and some things I didn't even write because there was just no way to squeeze them in and still retain some semblance of a train of thought. (Like the fact that the last girl quoted says the guy "drug" her into the tunnel, instead of "dragged." You know me; I could go on about that for days.)

An explanation of the UVSC cop joke: About a week before this column was published, a UVSC student altered his temporary parking pass so that it allowed him an extra day. He was caught at this, and his car was booted for being illegally parked. He paid the fine for the altered pass and the booting, then located a parking officer to remove the boot. The parking guy took off the boot, and then asked for the altered parking pass. The student didn't see why he should have to give it up; after all, it was altered, expired, and no good to anyone. Why not be able to keep it for his scrapbook? The parking officer said he would put the boot back on the car, to which the student responded, "Try it," and then stepped in front of the wheel when the officer tried it.

That's when the parking guy called a UVSC campus police officer, who also tried to get the student to relinquish the parking pass. Asked on what grounds he should have to give it up, the cop said: "Because I said so." The student found this answer unsatisfactory (I do not blame him; it is not a legitimate response from a cop), and so ripped up the parking pass and THEN gave it to the cop. The cop put him in Utah County Jail overnight on charges of evidence-tampering, disorderly conduct and failure to comply. (Those charges were all dropped, and the student -- whose mother is a lawyer -- threatened a civil suit against UVSC.)

Obviously, the student was being a little stubborn and ornery. But I'd say the cop, who should have been the most level-headed one there, was more obnoxious, and definitely overstepped his bounds in arresting the guy, for crying out loud. (The student had a pregnant wife at home who didn't take well to her husband being in county lock-up overnight.)

This column was about the most fact-checkiest thing I'd written in quite a while. First I had to know about that whole UVSC cop thing. Then I had to find out exactly what the board of regents was (I still don't know exactly, but I know I referred to it in the right context). Then I had to find out what sort of crime it would be to drag a girl into a tunnel and kiss her. My friend Mike "Mike the Sound Guy" Masse, a BYU law-school graduate, looked it up and found that it would probably be a class-B misdemeanor assault (according to Utah Criminal Code 76-5-102).

Actually, in the first place, I had to have a copy of the UVSC newspaper article, which my friend Dave (a UVSC student) brought to my attention. I'm glad he did, as it gave rise not just to this column, but to an entire new Web site: www.wemadeoutinatreeandthisoldguysatandwatchedus.com, at which you can read the UVSC newspaper article in full, as well as some other delightful things.

By the way: "sleuth" and "lore" are two of my favorite words.

OK, then. The official reaction from UVSC's College Times was that they thought it was funny (though I'm sure that feeling was not unanimous). The report to me was that the adviser photocopied it and handed it out at the next staff meeting. The writer of the article, Megan Carlson, e-mailed me and thanked me for the criticism, as she feels it will help her be a better writer. (I couldn't tell if she was being sarcastic or not, so I didn't know how to respond.)

I got two phone calls in response to the column, one of which I was able to transcribe because it was just a voice mail message. It was from an old woman, who was probably referring to the column's headline, "UVSC needs to get over theirselves."

You don't need to call me back, but you do need to know that you should check your own writing before you make fun of others'. As you probably don't know, there's no such word as "theirselves."

There is no end to the delight that message caused me, first because she obviously missed the joke, and second because it's not the writers who compose headlines, but the copy editors.

The other call was from a younger woman who sounded very angry and said, "Before you make fun of UVSC, you should make fun of BYU, because that's where all the real hypocrites are." I told her that I had spent two years making fun of BYU, and had about 60 columns to prove it. That seemed to pacify her, though she still seemed really angry about something.

This item has 7 comments

  1. Nonyur Business says:

    This guy actually draws a salary for this high school level writing? Shows how the "Daily Havoc," the paper that is actually smaller than The College Times, has nothing better to report to its subscribers than a bunch of unsubstantiated stories about college kids acting like college kids. Its no wonder that the Herald will always be considered the paper that isnt quite as good as most high school newspaper.

  2. Eric D. Snider says:

    What an awesome comment! So many things wrong with it. For one thing, he seems to be complaining about the Daily Herald running these "unsubstantiated stories" ... but this column is taking most of its information from The College Times. So if anyone is at fault, it's The College Times, not the Daily Herald.

    Also, just for the record, if "Daily Havoc" is meant to refer to the Daily Herald, it is NOT smaller than The College Times, if for no other reason than that the Herald comes out daily while The College Times comes out twice a week. But even when it does come out, it doesn't have as many pages or sections as the Herald.

    And not that I would defend the Herald or anything, but let's also notice that this article was published 6 1/2 years ago, so I don't know if it would be entirely fair to judge the Herald's current situation based on its publication of this column. Maybe the Herald is a much, much better publication now. (It isn't, but it could be.)

  3. Lowdogg says:

    I was a Snide Remarks fan for a long time, but this column is what made me a fan for life. This is one of the funniest topics ever.

  4. Jason Wright says:

    Some people just don't have a sense of humor. As a UVSC student I found this column very funny. What's wrong with being made fun of? The UVSC song is also very funny and most UVSC students can handle that type of humor. As for the Daily Herald getting better? They haven't. It is the most inaccurate newspaper that I have ever read. The sports page is the worse often showing wrong team names, logos, scores, schedules and standings. Never trust the Herald unless you have a 2nd source. That is why Snide Remarks was so perfect for them, you don't have to take it seriously...although I'm fairly concerned that most people do.

  5. Brian says:

    That first comment made my day, particularly the last sentence. Oh, and the website that you created as a result of the College Times article is absolutely fantastic. I now have yet another place to go and be entertained during the slow hours at work. Thank you, Eric.

  6. Jenn says:

    Being a UVSC student as well, and being at the college during the event (has it really been that long? I could have been a doctor by now!) I remember all the hub-bub about it. I love how you make fun of the high school by the highway, although now we're going to become high & mighty like BYU, because we're going to be a (drumroll please...) UNIVERSITY!! Yeah, I'm just as impressed. Now, if we could fix that freakin' math department so that half the student body didn't have to go to BYU to pass it!!

  7. Chantel says:

    Ha Ha Ha, Katie and Christian are now married with two kids. They had dated since high school. Makes me begin to wonder how much Eric has made up on his other articles.

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