Sunlight reflected off his round lenses as he sat in the scarcely lit, humid room. It had to be at least 105 degrees, but he wasn't even sweating. A smile crossed his boyish face as he repeated his question.
"Come on, Handy, you gotta come back. What would the place be without ya?" I sat up on my cot, scratching my scraggly serial-killer-looking beard.
"Forget it, Scott. I'm done with the whole columnist bit, man. I'm burned out. That's why I came here to be a fisherman. Besides, you still got Contreras, Pennell and Ginsburg. Hell, I'm still laughing from that 'Alvin Brooks/lovable koala' thing he did over the summer."
He swatted one of the giant mosquitoes native to the tropical island of Arugula, and asked, "Then there's nothing I can say or do to change your mind, huh?"
"Dude," I replied, "I'm in touch with my spiritual being. I have no need for material possessions or their trappings."
"Well, then," he said, "a toast to your newfound state of ... uh, spiritual being," he said as he handed me a cup of tea and raised his own.
I drank the tea, and it was the last I saw of Daily Cougar Editor in Chief Scott Williams. It was also the last I saw of my retreat on the island of tropical island of Arugula.
When I awoke, I found myself in a very cold room in Thailand. A small, elderly woman accompanied by a large Samoan gentleman handed me an itemized bill in a language I didn't understand for an amount of American money I knew I didn't have. Attached to it was a note.
"Handy, here's the deal. I've made a little arrangement with the lady here. Sign this and your bill here (and wouldn't you like to know where here is?) is paid off. In exchange, you agree to write for the Cougar in the fall. Don't sign and ... you see that big guy standing behind the little old lady? He breaks every part of your body with a bone in it. The choice is yours. No pressure. Take your time." It was signed, "Scott Williams."
After a great deal of thoughtful soul-searching, I realized one more semester of this wouldn't be so bad. Besides, the thought of leaving Thailand in either a body cast, a Ziploc bag or a hot dog didn't seem like my idea of fun.
So, after paying off a very large debt and getting a shave, I'm back. For those of you new to the university, destined never to receive an alumni donation from me, let me introduce myself. I'm one of the resident cynics who call this paper home. Each week I attack the abusive, narrow-minded and stupid, because someone has to. I am an open advocate of neutering the stupid to prevent them from polluting the gene pool.
Envision it - future generations where your descendants won't have to put up with the inanely stupid! You know who I'm talking about - grown men, like former Vice President Dan Quayle, who say stupid things like "I can't understand why homeless people live in the street," or people who ask how much paint they can hold in a five-gallon bucket.
I have to do this, because we as a nation are so lazy we've elected rocket scientists such as these to positions of authority, and they run multimillion-dollar corporations. It's sorta my hobby to pick on these individuals (and their supporters) because, to be frank, I couldn't let Russell, Kevin and Jason have all the fun.
If you're new, let me give you a little advice. Avoid anyone who tries to give you a credit card charging 20 percent interest in exchange for a pack of M&Ms. Buy your own damn M&Ms - it's a lot cheaper.
Avoid the College Republicans. If you want to know why, ask the about the government-issued Secret Service beat-down they received when they went to protest President Clinton when he was in town.
Don't enroll in any course whose name you can't pronounce. These are generally either core courses or courses within your major that were intended to be Mickey Mouse courses until the professors decided to make them damn near impossible for no apparent reason.
Don't remain silent about anything! If something pisses you off (including this newspaper), say something. To many, silence implies consent, so let your voice be heard.
Don't attempt to befriend those whom you perceive as shallow, materialistic, petty and inconsiderate. I did once. How do you think I got the facial expression in the photo that accompanies this thing? Finally, enjoy this semester. If you can't, then at least revel in the fact that you're not in Thailand in a body cast.
Handy is a senior RTV major
who's allergic to pain.