Opinion

ALCOHOLIC EPIPHANY: MATH IS MY TRUE CALLING

~ASC.EDU – Mike Deville Ph.D.~

Fellow campers, today I’ve got good news, and I’ve got bad news. The bad news is that after five years of studying at Camp Alfred, I won’t be graduating this May. The good news is… I won’t be graduating this May! You read that right. A week ago I changed my major to math, and I’m the happiest camper in Alfred right now!

It all happened because I spent St. Patrick’s Day at GJs drinking Guinness. A few AU students helped me ‘discover’ what generations of AU and ASC students have known for years. If you drink 10 Guinness’s and stand at the corner of West University and Mill Street, you’ll have an epiphany, almost a religious experience, and suddenly, YOU WILL KNOW WHAT YOUR MAJOR SHOULD BE!

And in that moment, I learned that my true major should be MATH! Hey, it shocked me, too. Me, Mike Deville, a math major?? I was challenged by Math 1004 each time I took the class. I only passed it because I brought the teacher flowers, candy, and batteries (rechargeable Energizers) for her calculator. (I haven’t seen her in years….I should stop by and give her batteries a charge sometime.)

Anyway, apparently God and Guinness work in mysterious ways because here I am, about two weeks away from finally graduating from Camp Alfred, and instead of celebrating, I’m starting a new major. It wasn’t all smooth sailing.  Actually, it was more like a cruise on the Costa Concordia. First I had to find the chairman of the Math Department. Then there was that ‘awkwardness’ over my difficulty passing Math 1004.

But they don’t call me ‘Dr. Deville’ for nothing: I brought 20 Guinness’s with me when I met the math chair, 10 for me and 10 for him. It was a long meeting, but by the time we’d finished the Guinness’s, we were both speaking the same language, and I was accepted as a Math Major at Camp Alfred.

I can hear some of you doubters saying “Mike Deville? Math major?” Hey, the world was made for the brave, not shlubs like some of you, and you know who you are. Either sit down, drink your 10 Guinness’s, and discover your true major or shut up about my happy discovery. Life is just one big quadratic equation, but first you have to solve it! (Or go to quadraticequationsolver.com, like I did; I’m already learning ‘math major’ tricks.)

So long story short, I’m here at Camp Alfred another couple of years. The financial wing of the college is happy, of course. 1) They didn’t have to recruit me because I was already here, and 2) by the time I graduate, I will have put about $75,000 in Camp Alfred’s coffers. What’s not to like about that? On the other hand, at least one senior administrator, let’s call him the president, was very ready to see me graduate and get out of town. My hope is that one day I can visit his office and bring 20 Guinness’s with me to ‘lubricate’ the conversation, as the Irish would say.

Now on to more serious matters. Like most students, I’m looking for a summer job, and I’ve gotta tell you, being a ‘math major’ has already opened some new doors for me. Hey, when I was a history major, it was hard to tell employers exactly what my skills were. Most employers are looking FORWARD, not backwards, so nobody wanted me when I was a history major.

But hey, that’s all in the past now. My ‘Guinness epiphany’ at the corner of Mill Street and West University opened my eyes to the reality that the world is all numbers! That’s right, NUMBERS! There’s your GPA; it’s just numbers! There’s your GPS: again, it’s just numbers. There’s even your blood alcohol level: just numbers, though as the Alfred Police explained to me, I had some pretty impressive numbers after the 10 Guinness’s on St. Patrick’s night. But when I explained to the officer that I was in the middle of an epiphany, he was very nice about it and even offered to record my experience on his video camera. What a guy!

I’ve got some exciting summer job offers so far. It’s just a matter of picking the best one. I could count tornadoes in Kansas for the Weather Channel. They even offered to pay for my life insurance. The State Police want me to wander through the woods of Western New York and count the active meth labs I spot. They gave me their special ‘911’ phone number to call if I get in any trouble out there. Even Camp Alfred came through with an offer: counting the deer grazing on the lawns by MacKenzie every evening, with extra credit for the biggest rack I spot.

I was touched by all these offers, but I’ve decided to travel with a Southern Baptist Revival and count the crutches people toss aside when they are saved and ‘can walk again’ suddenly. It’s not the summer job everyone dreams of, but it’s better than painting dorms here on campus for the summer. I’ve been there, done that, got the paint stained underwear to prove it. But that’s a story for another time, when the statute of limitations has run out.

Hey, one quick comment on Earth Day this year. It was the best! I must have driven 400 miles around Western New York going to every ‘green’ event I could find. Kudos to whoever thought up these green events!

So it’s good bye for the summer, but I’ll see you this fall, unless you’re taking that long walk across the Camp Alfred graduation stage in a couple of weeks to shake the president’s hand and get an empty diploma folder. In which case, good luck out there in the cold, cruel, post-Alfred world. I hear O’bama will be reelected, and he’ll create millions of jobs, so I know everything will be all right soon. Till fall, adios me amigos

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