Senior Commentary: With So Many Opportunities, You Can't Help Missing Out

By Stentor Danielson

26 April 2002

MOON-PIE. Thatís how I would sum up the past four years -- eight semesters of Moon-Pie.

Moon-pie refers to Chris Wolyniak '01. I met him my first day on campus, during Band Camp 1998, and continued to see him around until he graduated last year. But the thing is, I never really got to know Moon-Pie.

During the summer before my sophomore year, central New York was hit by a major drought. Taylor Lake turned into Taylor Hole, ending rumors that there was anything bigger than a beer can lying at the bottom. Payne Creek dried up to just a trickle, leaving a smooth, flat streambed just waiting for someone to do something to it. So a group of us decided we were going to dig up rocks and write a message, to be read by generations of students as they pause to urinate off the Willow Path bridge.

But what could we write? We needed something strange, something that was understandable but incomprehensible. "MOON-PIE" was the obvious choice.

We should have learned our lesson from the campus-wide sculpture installation that found its way into the lake and a lounge in Stillman the previous spring. We returned a few days later to find our message had changed to a welcoming "F*** YOU." Luckily, my roommate -- the incomparable Gary Braham -- was able to scramble the rocks before Hurricane Floyd refilled the regionís watercourses.

Last Easter, friend and fellow Moon-Pie follower Callie Raspuzzi '01 and I decorated a dozen eggs with the name Moon-Pie, and delivered them in a basket to their namesakeís apartment. Moon-Pie was polite and confused, but I think deep down he knew our weird obsessiveness meant we loved him. We loved him, but I didnít really know him.

The only time I ever had a drink of an alcoholic nature was when I was in Australia during the fall of my junior year. It was part of a deal with my friend Liz Hurd, who told me she wanted to see me skull a schooner (drink a large glass) of Boagís before she would take me on a hike up Mount Keira, which overlooked the city of Wollongong, where we had lived for four months. The path she took me on went up a boulder-filled stream bed and through a graveyard of cars ditched for the insurance money, and then back down a path whose graffiti told the tale of Darren and Taryceís torrid love affair ("Darren and Taryce kissed here," "Darren and Taryce made love on this picnic table," etc.).

While we were at the summit, a man stopped us to ask us about Wollongong, as he was from out of town. We helped him the best we could, but I couldnít help but wonder what I could really know if I had lived in Wollongong for four months and only just got around to hiking on Mount Keira.

I told myself that, even though I didnít get to know Australia until I was almost ready to leave (and I really could have stayed longer, as some confusion on the travel agentís part about the difference between a.m. and p.m. put me in Los Angeles 12 hours before I was supposed to arrive for my flight to Pittsburgh), I would do better with Colgate. And to some extent I did.

But I took a walk downtown a few weeks ago (really downtown, not just Lebanon Street) the other day, and realized that I didnít really know Hamilton. Iíd lived here for four years (including a summer, which would have been the perfect time to explore the area), and I didnít feel any particular connection to anything that lies beyond Class of '34 House.

This semester, I started doing a radio show on WRCU (Friday night but technically Saturday morning, 1-3 a.m.). Iíd been thinking about it ever since staying up to listen to one of my good friends broadcasting Bad Religion, They Might Be Giants and Bob Mould in that slot during the fall of my first year. But it never went beyond an idle "hey, it would be cool to have a radio show" until this January.

Now Iím looking at my last few shows, wondering how Iíll cram in all the music I want to try out. Wondering if itís worth forgoing one last listen to "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" to find out if any of Rufus Wainwrightís other songs are any good.

Like Moon-Pie and WRCU, there are too many things and people on this campus that I never got to know as well as I should have. I always thought Iíd always have time. But I donít anymore.

I wish I had taken more Outdoor Ed classes, beyond what I needed to finish my gym credit. I wish I had taken the time to finish the novel I was writing during my first year. I wish I had been more involved with the Prism. I wish I had taken a geology class. I wish I had gone to more student theater productions. I wish I had taken the time to get better at jazz improvisation. I wish I had spent more time in the woods. I wish I had met any number of people before they or I were seniors.

As usual, Iíve resolved to do better next time. The next three years of my life have been signed over to the Geography Ph.D. program at Clark University. Iím telling myself that Iím going to make more of my time there than I did at Colgate. Meet more people, accomplish more, and spend more time relaxing (which may explain why Iím in a Geography program, rather than math).

The thing is, I havenít wasted my four years at Colgate. Iíve done plenty. Iíve grown intellectually, emotionally and spiritually in ways I would never have expected. But I have come nowhere near exhausting the possibilities Colgate can offer. And to be honest, I hope Clark is the same (though Iíll reserve judgment for now -- it is, after all, in Worcester).

There will always be some class I havenít taken, some event I havenít attended, some corner of campus I havenít explored, some Moon-Pie I havenít met. Iíll never run out of opportunities to do more.

Itís traditional to end a Senior Commentary with a bit of advice, so Iíll leave you with an insight Moon-Pie gave me one morning as I hiked from Read to McGregory in subzero weather to get to my 8:30 a.m. Statistics class. "You know what would make chemistry cooler?" he asked. "If it had timpanis in it. Timpanis make everything better." Amen, Moon-Pie.

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