Late last year, I went to a Dave Matthews Band show. I won’t mention the hated Charlottesville locale.
I drove straight there from finals, did some serious pregaming and headed to the venue with my friends. On the way to our seats I stopped in a restroom to wash my hands. On my way back to our section, I had a sudden realization: I was no longer wearing my class ring.
I don’t wear it regularly for just that reason — I’m so absentminded that on several occasions I’ve locked my door at night only to discover my keys hanging in the lock outside the next morning. I definitely shouldn’t have worn my expensive, irreplaceable class ring to a large, public, alcohol-infused event. But I had that day for some reason.
I went back to the sink I had used and it wasn’t there. I asked people milling by the door if they had seen it. Of course, no one had. I thought, well, having a class ring was nice while it lasted.
But then, a funny thing happened. A security guard told me a man had asked if the arena had a lost and found, because he had picked up a ring. The guard pointed me after him. I could scarcely make him out through the kaleidoscopic mass of reveling Dave fans.
By the time I finally reached customer service, the man was gone but an employee behind the counter had my ring.
“You just missed the guy who turned it in,” she said.
I cashed in all my karma on that one. I’m not inclined to having much faith in humanity, but that guy showed me that sometimes people aren’t all bad.
I share that story because I think you’re supposed to share a poignant and meaningful personal anecdote whenever you’re responsible for some sort of capstone presentation like a commencement address or a final He Said column of the year.
I’m not totally sure how it relates to anything. Maybe it doesn’t, and that’s kind of the point. Any finale like this is bound to be a conceit.
Plus I’ve never particularly tried to keep this column “real.” In fact, I only recently discovered that, according to the Collegiate Times website, I was supposed to have been pointedly bringing my gender to bear on issues of our day all semester. I think I’ve only really done that once.
Considering that I’m a hippy English graduate student and gender identity is like, so always already a social construct dude, it seems odd that anyone would ask me to represent a “male” viewpoint, whatever that means. I like baseball and motorcycles and cooking and gardening. I don’t know that I was the man for this job.
But it’s been a hell of a ride. We’ve covered a lot of ground this semester: from the Superbowl to underwear theft, from Valentines Day to being a Hokie. I’ve violated some sensibilities and drank a lot of cheap whiskeys along the way. I hope it’s been good for you, too.
The average adult reads around 200 words per minute, so it should take about three minutes to read this. As a writer, a fellow human being who actually sits at the other end of this column, I appreciate those three minutes each week you’ve given me more than you might imagine. It doesn’t seem like much, but time is the one thing we never get back. I have tried earnestly to give you some kind of return on your investment.
At that concert, Dave sang, “maybe carry on just a little bit longer, and I try to give you what you need.” Like that stranger from the show whom I hope to one day buy a beer in this life or maybe further down the road, I hope I’ve given at least one person out there something they needed, however small it may have been. If there is one among you who was having a bad day, who read something I wrote on the bus ride to campus and smiled, that is enough.
As always, thanks for reading.