Cardiogirl 19 percent body fat 100 percent fun


how to stay humble


My sister mentioned a while ago that her 20-year-old daughter still makes bad choices without considering the consequences. I can't remember what the particular example was, but it was nothing earth shattering. I was opening my mouth to say I didn't understand why her daughter wasn't more responsible when all of a sudden I found myself in the Wayback Machine. The dials were set to Fall of 1986 on the campus of Michigan State University.

I have always been quite responsible and I'm not much of a risk taker. I'm pretty certain my parents weren't too worried when I packed my bags and went away to college. Once at State, I ended up in a three-person dorm room with two other girls on a "Quiet Floor." This section on the third floor of Shaw Hall was supposed to be for students who wanted to study and be serious about school, hence the designation of a "Quiet Floor." It wasn't any different than any other floor, except we had to go downstairs to have a party.

Alright, at the end of the hall there was a large study room with windows extending halfway up the wall on three sides of the room. One night about six or seven of us were in the study room doing homework. We had been experiencing an Indian Summer and it was hot and muggy in the room that night, so we opened a couple of windows. Someone noticed on the windowed-wall across from the door, that the roof of the second story extended out from the wall of the study room. It was sort of like a rooftop patio, seeing as we were on the third floor.

I don't remember who it was, but someone suggested that we pop the screen out and take a stroll on the roof. At the time, it sounded like fun so we did just that. The cool air felt good on my face and we had a moonlight view of the Red Cedar River that runs through campus. I was kind of feeling one with nature, just taking it all in when suddenly Monica, the RA (Resident Assistant who was a junior at the time and was responsible for the girls on that floor) ran into the study room and chastised us through the open window.

I remember thinking she was overreacting and wondered what all the fuss was about. Nonetheless, we all filed in through the open window and listened to the lecture that followed. But that wasn't the end of it. We all had to have an individual meeting with Bob, the Head of All RAs. He had curly, bright red hair and was pretty laid back. I think he felt the way we did about it. At least that's the impression I had back then. I remember he asked me why we did it and I said, "I don't know. It seemed like fun at the time." He asked if I knew that song by The Drifters "Up On The Roof." (I did).

Then he asked if I'd thought about the fact that I could have fallen off the roof and seriously injured myself. Negative. I did not think about that and I was not concerned about that at the time. I didn't walk to the edge of the roof, so I felt safe. Yes, right now the 39-year-old Cardiogirl is shaking the 18-year-old Cardiogirl like a limp rag doll and screaming in her face, "What were you thinking?!"

I was lucky. And stupid. What can I say, I was 18.

I do remember Bob telling me that this event would be documented on my "permanent record." I was concerned about that. I didn't really know exactly what that meant and what the ramifications would be (turns out there were none at all) but I did experience some stress over that. (Surprisingly, Bob never contacted my parents and I have never told them about it. Nothing bad happened, why freak the 'rents out now?)

My roommate, Tonya, (you may recall her as the friend at State who wore the Army jacket in winter) was more worldly than I was and she wasn't concerned about the permanent record remark. In fact it was she who introduced me to the Violent Femmes and the song "Kiss Off." In that song the following lyrics appear:

"I hope you know this will go down
On your permanent record
Oh yeah, well don't get so distressed
Did I happen to mention that I'm impressed."

The only lesson I have here is that every time I'm on my high horse thinking I'm so responsible and an all-around good gal, I get knocked out of the saddle with my foot stuck in the stirrup and my head bouncing around in the dirt.

I guess that's how God keeps me humble.


2007-08-14 at 7:42 a.m.

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