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Davis, California

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Column: Slide on that slide, son

The funny thing about mistakes is you should be able to learn from them. You know, to avoid making the same mistakes again. I figure that’s a pretty obvious fortune-cookie lesson in the world today. But then again, there’s Mike Tyson.

Anyway, I have made plenty of mistakes in my college career, like the time I got kicked out of school for a while. Or that night where I drank a bowl full of Popov and woke up … well, I won’t go into that story here.

Those were rather grave mistakes. On Monday, I realized I’ve been making a lot of smaller mistakes as well.

Monday afternoon found me not at work or in class, but sitting in Slide Hill Park drinking a beer and cooking up some hot dogs with a bunch of friends. That was not the mistake, though. The mistake was I haven’t been doing this more often the past five years.

If you don’t know about Slide Hill Park, it is a park out in East Davis with a hill and a huge concrete slide you ride cardboard boxes down. What’s even cooler than that? It’s legal to drink in the park, as long as you’re 21. (But who would ever even consider imbibing an alcoholic beverage before they’re of legal age, right?)

I spent President’s Day honoring George Washington on a concrete slide. I think Washington would have a blast on Slide Hill’s slide, because it’s kind of like crossing the Delaware. The slide is not exactly straight and steering a cardboard box is really hard. Also, the slide’s narrower at the bottom than it is at the top. So if you’re interested in racing your friends, make sure you’re the fastest kid on a Chiquita Banana box. I just think our first war-hero president would enjoy it.

At the end of the day when I rode like John Wayne into the sunset after a couple of Ballpark dogs and three or four Fat Tires, I asked myself, “Why the fuck don’t I do this more often?”

Granted, it’s been pretty cold and rainy lately, but there have been many a great spring day where I’ve neglected a good sunset in order to drink Natty Light in a garage. It was very soothing on the soul to spend an afternoon in a park on a nice day. I recommend you try it once these storms decide to quit.

And that afternoon got me a-thinkin’.

There are a lot of aspects of being a student at UC Davis that should be taken advantage of. There’s the beautiful Mondavi Center, the ARC, and freshmen girls. (Wait, don’t take advantage of that last one. That’s no good.)

The point is you won’t be in Davis forever. Don’t hole up in your apartment trying to learn all kinds of things all the time. I’ve mentioned before that having a good time should be one of your first priorities as a student. Maybe even priority number one. You’ll receive a better education getting out there and experiencing some real-life shit than you will reading a book.

Got a history test? Go see someone speak at the Mondavi Center. I went to see Ishmael Beah when he spoke about his experiences as a child soldier in Sierra Leone. It was an eye-opening experience, both riveting and enlightening. To this day, I haven’t gone back to the Mondavi Center. Not to hear a guest speaker, not to hear any good Jazz, not fer nuthin.’ I’m an idiot.

The ARC is a state-of-the-art gym and I hardly ever go there. It seems like a great place to meet people and get in shape or whatever. I guarantee if you’re not taking advantage of the ARC now, you’ll wish you had somewhere down the line when you try to go to a gym you have to pay for. (I know we pay for it now, but it seems free. Probably because I never check where my student fees are actually going.)

I doubt I’ll start going to the ARC because I prefer to run outside, but maybe you will. Go see something at the Mondavi Center. Then go get trashed at Slide Hill Park. Go make a couple of mistakes and learn from them.

WILL LONG made a mistake on Monday when he didn’t ask the girl on the pink bike for her number. She was on the corner of Sycamore and Covell. Will was in the back of a Honda. If you’re her, holler at him at wclong@ucdavis.edu.


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