Jumping through the Hoopla

BYU had its annual homecoming festivities a few weeks ago. As a freshman, I was required to attend at least one of the 432 homecoming dances with a date, whom I think the university should have supplied me with, considering they were the ones forcing me to go.

Well, OK, they don’t actually force all freshman to go to homecoming dances, but they might as well. About the only people who go are freshmen, and I think the reason for this is that homecoming dances are just like high school proms. You have to buy flowers for your date, you have to go somewhere expensive for dinner, and you have to dance like a maniac with a thyroid problem, working up an incredible sweat that soaks clear through your sports coat and pours onto the dance floor, causing accidents among innocent bystanders. In fact, the only differences between BYU homecoming and a high school prom are that at BYU homecoming, the guys don’t rent tuxedos, and no one gets drunk afterwards.

Anyway, because of this a lot of freshmen like to go to homecoming — so many of them, in fact, that if you’re a freshman guy and you announce that you don’t want to go, not because you’re a weirdo or anything, but simply because you don’t have any money and can’t afford to pay for the tickets and dinner and flowers and everything, well then, you might as well announce that you’re a Nazi psycho leper with rabies, because everyone is going to treat you like one.

The only thing worse than not going to homecoming because you can’t afford it is going to homecoming anyway, despite the fact that you can’t afford it. This was my personal situation, but I did have a splendid time and the whole evening was well worth the thousands of dollars it cost me, and I’d do it all again in a minute, provided I had just won the lottery and was crazy.

Because let’s face it, homecoming (and prom and all the other similar events) are just glorified dates. You go to dinner, you go to a dance, maybe you go hang around somewhere afterwards, and you go home. There’s really not much point to all the hoopla and ceremony surrounding it, except that women tend to enjoy hoopla and ceremony, and it’s women who run the show when it comes to dating. Women are the chief perpetuators of hoopla and ceremony. Were it not for them, there would be very little hoopla, not to mention ceremony, surrounding anything, and weddings would be held in the groom’s living room while a football game plays on the TV.

But as things stand now, there is a lot of hoopla and ceremony surrounding homecoming, and I succumbed to it, and while I’d love to tell you all about it, I seem to have run out of space. So you’ll have to wait till next week to read about my homecoming experiences; that is, provided you don’t fall over dead from the anticipation.

At the time, I saw no problem in recycling my Daily Herald columns and using them in the Lake Elsinore News. I figured it was two different audiences, so who cares? And while legally and ethically there may have been no problem -- lots of columnists are syndicated, after all -- I see now that I am disappointed in my lack of creativity. Doing the same column twice was a cop-out, when I could have easily written two different columns, one for each paper. It's probably good that the Lake Elsinore News went out of business when it did, before I got too complacent and lazy.