- CRITTER TALK
- SCI/TECH/OTHER STUFF
I was on the I-Have-Nowhere-Else-Better-To-Be Plan at college, so I stretched out my four-year stay to last a solid six and a half years. I dabbled in everything. I took calligraphy, sculpture, French 101 and managed to Forrest Gump my way through a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences.
However, to this day, oh, so many years later, there was one absolutely penultimate funny thing that happened during my tenure away at college. Sure, I had a lot of fun, discovered who I was, learned how to balance my time, balance my eating and balance my checkbook.
In either 1992 or 1993, I was sitting in a Sociology class, minding my own business, listening to the teacher talk to us about the famous Donner Party. Everyone knows that the Donner Party was a large group of people, about eighty or ninety, who set off in search of new lands in the American West in the 1840’s. During some major issues along the way, they all panicked and had to eat their horses and cattle when things didn’t go quite properly, yada, yada, yada, we all know the story; then people started to eat people. That’s not cool.
I was quietly listening to the teacher and when she said that one of the survivors of The Donner Party ended up opening a restaurant, and all hell broke loose. It hit my funny bone in a way nothing else ever had, before the advent of the internet and all those funny cat videos, of course.
The only way I can describe it is this: Here I am, a nineteen-year-old girl from Big City Cleveland, Ohio, going to college in Appalachia with people who all share approximately six surnames, and they’re all looking at me, laughing so hard and so deeply that my face is the color of an overripe tomato. I had tears streaming down my face and I was gasping for breath. I wasn’t making a noise, but I was making quite a scene. The teacher had no idea what was so funny. No one else did, either.
I wasn’t able to say a word, just laughed for about five minutes, wiping my tears with the sleeve of my shirt, completely disrupting class. I was mortified, I was ecstatic and I was exhilarated to have finally made my one funniest memory of my six and a half years at my beloved University, though I didn’t know it at the time.
So, every time I hear people talking about The Donner Party, I always laugh my hearty, deep-inside-my-ribs laugh, making no sound, as I’m gasping for air and wiping tears on my sleeve. Is The Donner Party itself funny? No, it’s tragic. But, when anyone with my warped sense of humor hears that the one dude opened a restaurant, I just really want to go there and order the ribs.