The Postgraduate Guide to Homecoming
MITCH STRINGER-USA Today Sports
You’ve heard it a million different times in a million different ways: post-grad life sucks. It is a veritable feast of self-loathing nostalgia. Every day is worse than the one before it, which basically means every day is the worst day of our lives. Right now, I’m sitting here writing this to you on the worst day of my life.
EXCEPT for homecoming weekend, the two days out of the academic calendar when it’s acceptable to haul our asses back to college and pathetically pretend we can still drink Keystone Light for eight hours straight. We could barely do that senior year, so for some reason we believe we can valiantly accomplish that now.
Maryland’s homecoming football game was October 18, and it was a fucking blast for a plethora of reasons. We, the Big 10 pledges that we are, beat out Iowa 38-31, which is awesomely peculiar considering we rarely ever won in the ACC. Everyone whom I graduated with and their mothers were there, which made for a reunion full of jubilant stories about a bygone era.
Oh yeah, and EVERYONE was bombed. I’m talking about vomit-in-the-hair, broken-heel, Billy Bob Thornton drunk. Our entire tailgating lot was delirious and no one knew which way was up. If a regular season football game hadn’t taken place, October 18, 2014 could be eradicated from human history and no one in College Park would notice.
Our weak drinking stamina after graduating encompasses many other harsh truths associated with coming back for one weekend. I can only attribute homecoming’s distinct state of inebriation to two important aspects of adulthood that force us to booze until we forget about them.
First and foremost, the college definition of “fun” is WAY better than the adult definition of “fun.” Big boy, 9-to-5 fun means slaughtering a new HBO show every week in alphabetical order. It means going out Friday or Saturday instead of Thursday through Sunday. It means antiquing, going to farmer’s markets, and participating in community theater.
Postgrad fun is never really fun because it’s constantly overshadowed by the looming reality of work. You may have a three-day weekend thanks to an insignificant holiday, but there’s always work at the end of it, and that alone can be enough to make your freedom miserable.
Homecoming weekend is the sole exception to that misery. We return to our old carefree environment unhinged by the pressures of maturity, so we naturally run wild with this opportunity by drinking harder than we have in months. It’s essential that we get drunk enough to the point where we can hold conversations with the “friends” we could only hold conversations with when drunk in college.
Secondly, we don’t know anyone there anymore. We used to be able to go to the shithole watering hole by ourselves and still have a good time because we’d end up knowing everyone there. Now, we don’t recognize more than two faces, so we have to roll 15 deep in order to look like we still belong.
How do we counter this awkward anxiety reminiscent of the first time we pooped our pants in public? We slam back rum and cokes until we can’t feel anything but our mouth babbling to strangers about how our jobs are wildly mediocre or how the Walking Dead is an Ebola metaphor.
Like college itself, homecoming ends entirely too soon and we must return to our parents’ house or one-bedroom apartment that smells like cheese. We already buy next year’s calendar so we can prepare to cross out the days leading up to the next homecoming weekend.
This is depressing as fuck. I’ll stop now.