Homer Simpson once described beer as "the cause and the solution to all life's problems." Though only a cartoon character, Homer's commentary on alcohol is nonetheless astute. Alcohol is indeed the world's most extraordinary beverage. What other drink acts as a truth serum, an aphrodisiac and a memory suppressant? The power of alcohol has captivated mankind for thousands of years, and Princeton students have proven no less susceptible to its venomous charms.
Yet we Princetonians seem to have discovered a property of alcohol never before identified — though alcohol numbs the mind, it compensates by giving us superhuman strength! Proof that alcohol is a muscle enhancer can be seen around campus on any given Sunday morning. For example, that bench uprooted in front of Prospect House is not the result of a hurricane — it's an alcohol-induced feat of strength. Similarly, that window in Little Hall wasn't broken by a fallen branch — it was broken by a trash can hurled at the speed of light. And all those lamp posts lying on the ground, they're not the aftermath of an earthquake — they're the aftermath of an intense head-butting competition.
Princeton students should be proud that we have among us some of the strongest men and women in the world. Their feats of stupidity — I mean, strength — have resulted in 10 Public Safety reports of vandalism and property damage since the start of the semester. Considering that most of these incidents took place on only two nights of the week (Thursday and Saturday), our alcohol athletes have obviously been perfecting their head-butting and trash can-hurling techniques. They've also become quite adept at discriminating between the cheap windows and the expensive ones, saving their strength on the mere $25 repair jobs and going for more $225 fixer-uppers. Watch out Mark McGwire — your androstenedione is no match for our alcohol.
There is one problem with the average feat of strength, however. While it will always remain a mystery to sober students, as well as drunk-but-rational students, the fact that these musclemen knock down lamp posts with their heads on a regular basis is getting old. Lamp post destruction is so first semester. Why not try something new, like one of these amazing, yet under-performed, feats of strength:
1. Plowing snow — It's been known to cause heart attacks in weaker men. Are you up for the challenge? Put your shoulders to work and clear the sidewalks along Prospect Avenue on your way back from the club. Clear the Woody Woo fountain for extra points.
2. Pulling weeds — Though the benches in Prospect Gardens are tempting targets, why not uproot something less functional, like dandelions and crabgrass. Full of dead vegetation for most of the school year, Prospect Gardens will test your endurance for hours.
3. The silent game — You've tested the strength of your muscles; why not test the strength of your will? See if you and your friends can make it all the way back to your dorm without yelling "Whoa!", "Yeah!" or "F*** that s***!"
It's true these suggestions involve less destruction than your average feat of strength, but what they lack in senseless violence they definitely make up for in originality. If, however, you can't seem to wean yourself from the thrill of property damage, why not try damaging your own property? Or better yet, damage a more challenging piece of property:
1. Brick walls — A trash can may fly effortlessly through glass, but can you get one through brick? Test your strength against the back of Nassau Hall. If a cannonball can dent the exterior wall, shouldn't your head be able to do the same?
2. Arches — Touted as the strongest weight-bearing structure, the arch poses a formidable challenge. Can you and a few of your buddies collapse 1879 Arch into a heap of rubble? If you can't, you might want to try Blair Arch; the construction may have loosened a few stones.
3. Ugly stuff — Lamp posts, though plain and unadorned, do provide our campus with light. Why not attack those things that take away from campus, like the statue behind the chapel (the one with the guy on his knees), the architecture building or Butler College?
I hope all those who regularly perform feats of strength will take my suggestions to heart, using them to grow both physically and mentally.
Perhaps Homer Simpson's commentary on the nature of beer was rather shortsighted. Alcohol, it seems, gives us the strength to do anything.
How could such a magical elixir cause harm? Andrew Shtulman is a psychology major from Poquoson, Va. He can be reached at email@example.com.