Quality time during Family Weekend

Torture. Pain. Irritability. Boredom. Disgust. Frustration. These words can describe many things. The sex life of a lonely sadomasochist. The Starr report. Watching either the “UPN” or “WB” television networks. Reading this column.

All are activities that invoke some form of intense discomfort. But they are nothing – nothing – in comparison to what fate’s cruel hand is about to deal The George Washington University. Buckle up, kids.

Five days until … Family Weekend ’98.

Yes, I suppose some of us enjoy the mass invasion of parents that will take place this weekend. And please don’t misunderstand me. I love good ol’ ma and pa. I love them even more because of their decision not to further clog this campus in a few days. That’s two less parents I have to hear ask, “Who the hell would ever name their kid “Cloyd Heck?” as they walk past the Marvin Center.

It appears to me that the main problem with Family Weekend is the events planned to entertain our parents and siblings. I was checking out the list of things to do and, folks, it don’t look so good. The first thing I came across was an announcement of an Open House at Student Health. Oh boy! Let’s all traipse over to the happiest place on earth.

Maybe they’ll have a simulation of a student’s actual visit to Student Health. Parents can sit for a few hours and wait for their names to be called, at which time they will be escorted down the hall to meet one of GW’s finest health professionals.

Dad – playing the part of the student – then can explain to the doctor that he has a compound fracture and the pain from the bone sticking out of his thigh is excruciating.

After many questions, the doctor will conclude that: a) your father is NOT pregnant and b) antibiotics will take care of the problem.

Another satisfied patient.

I also noticed a tour of Gelman Library is available to families. Curious parents will rejoice – finally a chance to see where that $50 voluntary library gift is going.

The tour guide will no doubt take great pride in pointing out the great leaps and bounds Gelman Library has made as a result of the parents’ generosity. “Like what kind of leaps and bounds?” your mom will ask. Their tour guide will then assure them that, although not visible to the naked eye, the strides Gelman Library has taken as a result of their $50 contribution are immense.

Your father then will ask, “Specifically, what is my money going toward?” The guide will then burst into tears, admitting that upon receiving the library gift, it is immediately forwarded to the University Committee on Building Pretty Gates.

Your parents will sigh with relief. “Good lord, for a minute I thought the money was being wasted. Books in the library are nice, but it’s the gates that make this a first-tier university.”

The bottom line is that families don’t come for the scintillating tour of CIRC, they come to see you. They come to poke around your room and ask questions.

Always questions.

And they never let up.

C’mon, you’d think they’d just sign the tuition checks and leave it at that. But nooo, they want to know what they’re paying for. They want to know everything:

Mom: “What are the school colors?”

You: “Buff and blue.”

Mom: “What color is buff?”

You: “Yellow.”

Mom: “Why don’t they just say blue and yellow?”

You (to a passing stranger): “Please kill me.”

Family Weekend indeed has its perks – free meals, a chance to shoot the breeze with dad, talk about life with mom, maybe get a little pocket change from grandma, show your little brother the wonders of a “Gentleman’s Club.” Yeah, it ain’t so bad.

You want my recommendation? Skip all the crap of Family Weekend. Spend some REAL time with your folks. Go out and see this great town. And be sure and tell them you love them. And you miss them. And you wouldn’t have made it this far without them.

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