That Run-Down Feeling

I’m not suggesting that ALL BYU students should be run over with cars; just one of them.

But let me backtrack a little. I graduated from BYU in April, and received my diploma in the mail shortly thereafter. Along with the diploma came a copy of my transcript, which is a highly amusing document full of whimsy and mirth, describing my exploits over the previous five years. You could tell what was going on in my life based on the grades I had. The first semester after my LDS mission, I had straight A’s. The semester I spent watching videotapes of “Mystery Science Theater” and eating at Taco Bell twice a day, I did much more poorly. So it was odd to get the diploma and transcript in the same envelope, because that meant I was holding my degree in one hand, and a list of reasons why I didn’t deserve it in the other.

Anyway, since graduating, I’ve become more keenly aware of how Provo residents view BYU students: They don’t like them. Sure, the businesses appreciate the students’ patronage, and yeah, in the backs of their minds, people must appreciate the fact that were it not for BYU, Provo would be as desolate and unexciting as Panguitch (town motto: “‘Panguitch’?! You Have GOT to be Kidding Me”).

But when you get right down to it, Provoans don’t like BYU students. They tend to be a frivolous, rowdy bunch, while Provoans are a conservative, quiet group who prefer to have their “Titanic” videos edited and their smutty check-out line magazines covered with tasteful cardboard.

And you know what? I’m starting to agree with the Provoans. Not about the videos and magazines, but about sensible things. Like the way BYU students cross the street.

See, a normal person desiring to cross the street will wait until there are no cars coming, and then proceed. If a car suddenly approaches, the person will take an extra spring into his or her step so as not to force the driver to put on his brakes.

BYU students operate differently, though. They follow this procedure:

1. Look both ways.
2. Is a car coming?
3. It doesn’t matter.
4. Start walking anyway.

Even with cars coming, they just START WALKING! And they do it at a leisurely pace, like they’re strolling down a country lane to the fishin’ hole on a Sunday afternoon with Huckleberry freakin’ Finn!

So you have to stop for them. Then they have the audacity to do that little “thank you” wave, as if to say, “Thanks for stopping!” Never mind that they darted out in front of you and gave you no choice BUT to stop; they’re thanking you anyway. This is because BYU students are taught to be unfailingly polite, or to at least fake it.

Which takes me back to my original point, which is that one of these BYU students needs to be hit by a car. It doesn’t matter who, as long as it’s someone who walks carelessly into the street, arrogantly confident that all traffic will stop for them. In other words, any BYU student will do.

All it would take would be for one such traffic-darter to get hit, and I guarantee, all the rest will stop darting. Word will get out. “We can’t cross the street in the middle of rush-hour traffic with impunity anymore!” they’ll say, followed by a mad dash to look up “impunity.” And then, all of life’s problems will be solved and I’ll be able to get some sleep. Thank you and good night.

Even when I was a BYU student, I disagreed strongly with my co-students' methods of street-crossing. They need to be put in their place, and while I'm not suggesting I be the one to run someone over, SOMEONE needs to step forward and do it.

This column, believe it or not, elicited more feedback than any Daily Herald column I'd written to this point. I got quite a few e-mails from people agreeing with me, many of them saying I was being charitable when I gave BYU students credit for at least looking both ways before crossing -- they don't even do THAT, I'm told (and, upon reflection, I realize that's true).

I also got a couple e-mails with the basic "you shouldn't joke about stuff like that" motifs, including this delightful one here from

Hey Bozo

Have you read the handbook latley? [No. Do people read the driver's handbook ever again after getting their license?]

The law says that the pedestrian has the rright of way in a cross walk.

No wonder Utah drivers get so many tickets in a state where the law is inforced.

If you ever go to Oregon you had better obey the law.

You better not be the one who hits soomeone or you be in jail for manslaughter.

A Driver who learned to driver in Oregon

"Hey Bozo" is by far the most entertaining salutation I have ever been given in an e-mail (or in person, for that matter).

I was distressed to learn that hitting someone (or "soomeone") with my car was illegal. I guess I'll have to print a retraction on the column. (Actually, what I did instead was make fun of this letter in the next column.)