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Oh To Be Young and on Spring Break

A crowd of college students at the 2007 Pittsb...

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As crowds of college kids congregate around the pool, my daughter asks me, “Why do boys wear underwear underneath their swimsuits?” That is an excellent question, I reply, as I notice every one of the boys has the waistband of their underwear showing above their swimsuits. We ponder their decision to prioritize coolness over comfort, surely having a bunch of wet cotton between your legs can’t feel great.

They look like babies, these kids, yet surely they must be in university, I don’t see any parents hovering around. It looks like they all grew a foot overnight, and are getting acquainted with their new height, stooping to accommodate themselves. If I squint, the large group morphs into versions of each other, the same person save for different coloured swim trunks. They carry blue plastic cups around the pool, likely filled with more alcohol than mix, liquid courage.

Families are interspersed amongst the kids, as invisible to them here as we would be if we stumbled into one of their frat parties. As we keep a watchful eye on our children, guarding against the recurring nightmare of drowning, we keep one eye on the partying college kids, remembering what it was like to be on spring break. What it was like to be totally self-absorbed, before responsibility descended.

While in university, people were always telling you, “Enjoy it while it lasts,” and we would laugh and agree, but inwardly think that life would always be this good. We could control our destiny and make it wonderful. Youthfulness is a state of mind. Pass the baby oil, please, our skin is as invincible as we are.

Life will inevitably deal these kids hands of worries and cares, they will one day be more concerned about things like interest rates and health care, but they are oblivious at this point. They laugh, cavort, and play-fight like puppies, as they discuss which bar they will try to get into tonight.

I bite my tongue to refrain from telling them what we are all thinking, it is futile. No matter what their GPA’s, they cannot fathom what the weight of the world might feel like on their shoulders, when not a single burden is on their horizon.

Our experienced eyes know that it will happen to them just the same, as sure as we are sitting here.

  1. March 25, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Isn’t that the truth. I taught writing at a local university for years, and ultimately gave up trying to make them realize. Somehow they have to see it for themselves.

    But–underwear under swim trunks-I’ve missed that!

    • March 25, 2011 at 9:47 pm

      For once, boys are reduced to an uncomfortable trend. After all the high heels I’ve worn, it’s about time.

  2. March 25, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Oh the baby oil! I cringe when I think of the awful awful things I did to myself before I knew better!

    • March 25, 2011 at 9:44 pm

      Really? You did this too? I wasn’t sure the younger generation (ahem,) would relate to this, due to the reducing ozone layer and all. I am basically applying zinc to my whole body everyday in sunny California, while the girls apply their tanning oil.

  3. Liz Brownlie
    March 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    So very true! Although I cherish my wonderful university memories, the bubble of unreality did eventually burst. I do shake my head at the continuous stream of college kids strolling through Whistler Village with that “invincible” air to them. My patience is tried as they walk down the middle of the street ever so slowly as I am late racing to pick up my own kids.

    Jealous much…. yes, I am guilty!

    • March 25, 2011 at 9:40 pm

      Hi Liz!
      Yes, you would be subjected to these sightings on a regular basis. In fact, I spent a spring break in Whistler during university, and spent almost as much time at Garfinkel’s as skiing. Those were the days.

  4. March 26, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    I hadn’t seen the underwear under the bathing suits either…

    Yup…all the kids think they’re invincible, don’t they?


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  1. March 28, 2011 at 12:36 pm

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