Poison Ivy and Cross-Dressers at BYU

As you may know, I’m a freshman at Brigham Young University (you know, the large college in the middle of town; you’ve probably driven past it on your way to work). Although I’ve only been here a couple months, I have come to the conclusion that BYU is a very dangerous place, similar to Beirut or South Central Los Angeles.

First of all, we have the fact that there is apparently a patch of poison ivy growing somewhere on campus. Someone told me that it grows there naturally, but BYU hasn’t gotten rid of it because the botany classes like to go out and study it. I assume this means that if I should, at some point, go nuts and start knocking off co-eds with a high-powered sub-machine gun, no one will try to stop me because the psychology classes may want to come have a look at me.

Another danger is that there are some really bizarre people here. This is evidenced by an item in the “Police Beat” section of the Daily Universe, which is the official school newspaper here at BYU that comes out five times a week, which I guess is almost daily, but not quite. The item, which is from September 9, was written by staff writer Jeanna Jenson. The item reads as follows:

“A male BYU student, dressed as a woman, was caught in a ladies’ restroom in the Knight Mangum Building on Sept. 3. Three women spotted him and notified the University Police.

“The women noticed him because of his odd attire. He was dressed in a short Levi skirt, a white button-up blouse, flat-heeled shoes, and black nylons.

“The responding officer said it was obvious he [the suspect, I assume] was a male because of his mustache hidden beneath his scarf.

“‘I get a charge out of walking around in public dressed like a girl,’ the suspect said.”

This item raises a number of interesting questions. For instance:

– Why, if this happened on September 3, wasn’t it in the paper until September 9? The story didn’t say anything about there being any kind of six-day stand-off as the cross-dresser took hostages in the ladies’ room, or anything like that.

– After all, they manage to print lots of timely pictures of our football team — a team that lost a game to San Diego State University, which is such a “party” school that Hangover Prevention is now being taught there as a Humanities elective — but I guess that’s more important than LUNATICS ROAMING THE STREETS HARASSING WOMEN!!!!

– Why, if I really want people to read this column, don’t I just make it more interesting, rather than resorting to capitalized, attention-grabbing words such as the ones I used in the last paragraph?

– Who is Knight Mangum, and why does he have a building named after him?

– Doesn’t it sound like the name of a hard-nosed detective in a late-night crime drama on CBS?

There are, of course, more examples of danger at BYU, such as people being shocked by elevator buttons and ambushed by egg-wielding students from upper-story windows, but we’ll have to discuss those some other time. For now, I will leave you with a tip:

Guys, if you’re going to be a cross-dresser, at least have the fashion sense not to wear flat-heeled shoes with black nylons. They make you look cheap.

(Eric D. Snider is a freshman at BYU. He is originally from Lake Elsinore, California, where there are also a lot of weird people.)

The was the first of many times that I would make fun of The Daily Universe -- a paper that I would later work for and attempt to defend. In all honesty, I think most people "in the know" will tell you that the Universe really wasn't all that great in 1992, but got better later. Not through anything I did, I assure you.

I believe I was also one of the first people to publicly mention a love for Police Beat. The column appears every Friday in the Universe, and it's merely a re-cap of the siginificant or unusual crimes reported by University Police from that week. But I noticed right away that the column was often very funny, and (it appeared), unintentionally so. Nowadays, everyone knows Police Beat is funny, and it's one of the most popular Universe features. People who write the column now tend to write it KNOWING that people find it funny, whereas I think previous writers thought they were being serious.

I take another pot-shot at the BYU football team in this column. I think I was so accustomed to making fun of my high school team that I transferred that easy target to college. The BYU team really was lousy that year, but I wasn't very fair in my criticism. I suck.