The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, November 21, 1995, Page 5, Image 5

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    Man gives thanks new meaning
It was an aimless walk. I was
going nowhere in particular. I
inhaled deeply. It was a beautiful
day, I remember thinking vaguely
somewhere in the back of my mind.
I was too lost in thought to observe
much of the beauty around me. My
immediate objective was to step on
another of those crispy dried leaves
on the pavement and hear it crunch.
With hands in my pockets, hopping
from one dead leaf to another, I
proceeded with my preoccupation.
What was I doing? For all I
knew, I was hastening the biodegra
dation process of the leaf. For all I
knew, somebody was having a good
laugh at me. For all I knew, I was
going to bang into the nearest
lamppost. Oh, I didn’t know. Nor
did I care.
I was partially pondering —
partially because it was one of
several other parallel processes —
over the meaning and purpose of
Ah! The meaning of life. Gradu
ate school and a thousand deadlines
tend to have that kind of effect on
one, I hear.
It is almost Thanksgiving! That
means the semester is all but over.
That means a deserted campus and
no food service in the cafeterias *
during the break. That means a
break which is really no break at all
— for me. That means family
reunions and turkey — for a lot of
No, I was not exactly wallowing
in self-pity because I don’t get to go
home, I was simply whimpering.
The holiday season has a way of
making you miss home. I might go
weeks together without thinking
about my family at other times, but
during this time of the year, I tend to
get a bit misty-eyed.
Thanksgiving as a holiday does
not have much meaning to me. In
fact, until a year ago, I had no idea it
even existed. But the idea of family
gatherings and appreciating and
being thankful for your blessings,
strikes a note.
There were not many things that I
wanted to be thankful for. I might be
thankful after a vacation in Hawaii,
But what with mountains of
Vennila Ramalingam
“There ivere not many
things that I ivanted to
be thankful for. I might
be thankful after a
vacation in Hawaii,
maybe. ”
schoolwork and not having your
family with you—there really
should be a complaints day. Thanks
giving especially for the wimps.
What do you say?
Thinking in this manner, I sat on
the rim of the Broyhill Fountain, for
that’s where my aimless wanderings
eventually bring me. Even if you
really tried, you can’t get lost on the
UNL campus, it seems.
I sat with my legs drawn close to
my body against the crisp autumn
air. The fountain had been shut off.
But as I gazed with my eyes
unfocused at the ugly bare insides of
the fountain, slowly it came into
* * *
I heard the roar of the fountain
and felt the cool morning breeze of
summer. It was an early summer
morning. Waking unusually early, I
set out for a walk to the Sheldon
Gardens, and on my way back came
to sit at the fountain.
There was a figure at the oppo
site side. He came around to sit kind
of close to me. I nodded a good
morning at him.
He was plain dirty. His face was
swollen. And he had stuff oozing
out of his eyes. He wished me a
good morning with gusto and
proceeded on to put his grimy feet
in the water. Having done that, he
looked up at me, gave me a dazzling
smile and encouraged me to do the
I politely refused and eagerly
waited for the union to open so I
could have some coffee. It
idyllic morning and I really didn’t
care for company.
But my companion at the
fountain seemed eager for some. He
proceeded to tell me all about
himself and his 8-hour night shifts at
the O street construction site loading
iron bars or something else. He told
me about his five dollar bike and
how he had given the better one to
his girlfriend. He dismissed his
aching body as it would take care of
itself, and exclaimed how good the
cool water felt on his achingrfeet.
Having been engrossed in his life
story or the bits of it that he saw fit
to tell me, I darted into the union
really quickly to get some coffee,
and then rejoined him.
He was inquisitive about what I
was doing and where I was from. He
didn’t know where India was, but I
had this vague feeling that he
thought me to be Native American
and was very impressed at the fact
that I studied “computers.”
He told me then how lucky I was
to have a nice family, albeit far
away, and to be able to go to school.
He wished he could do the same.
He wanted to get an education and a
decent job.
* * *
It was time for me to go. It was
getting chilly; the cold permeated
my light jacket. I pulled up my feet
from the fountain and this time they
were not wet, nor was there the
noise of falling water. No David and
no coffee cup.
When I walked away from the
fountain, I knew exactly what I was
thankful for. I was also thankful for
that chance meeting with a kind
I wish David’s wishes come true,
one day.
Ramallagam Is a Daily Nebraska! col
umnist aid a graduate studeit la compiler
Battle serves leaders’ interests
The Great Budget Debacle of
1995 has come to an end, for the
time being.
The battle is over; the war is
probably just beginning.
The posturing, bickering and
mugging for the network news
sound bites will die down for a
while, and the politicians (sounds
like a dirty word, does it not?) will
play nice for a few days in hopes
that the voting public will be
hoodwinked into thinking that they
really care.
The government’s downfall —
the downfall of the free world, some
would have you believe — has been
averted in an 1 lth-hour compromise
engineered by our benevolent
leaders in Washington.
Democracy is safe once again,
and we owe it all to Bill, Newt and
And if you believe that...
I’ve always fancied myself as a
“glass half full” kind of guy, even
when talking about government. In
the past couple years, however,
I’ve come to realize that the half
full, half-empty question is
The glass, it would seem, is as
dry as one of Carrie Nation’s
Women’s Christian Temperance
Union meetings, and there’s no
water in sight. And still we, the
“constituents,” sit in the barren
wasteland of American politics,
watching the vultures circle and
hoping... not for a half-full or half
empty glass, but for a drop —just
one, just to tide us over.
Meanwhile, Clinton, Gingrich
and Dole, three of the most powerful
men in America, bicker like school
children in an attempt to convince
the public that its best interests are
dt stftkc
And after all this, we can
ascertain only the following:
A balanced budget is a good
idea; balancing the budget the
. t ■ *• s '■ Z w •. V ;vV V"' :
Doug Peters
“So instead of scaling
back the national
defense, the govern ment
has been looking to
downsize citizens’
defense. Defense against
poverty, defense against
sickness, defense against
illiteracy. ”
wrong way is a bad idea; and,
indeed, Newt Gingrich’s dad could
have beaten up Bill Clinton’s dad in
an even fight.
In addition, it is safe to assume
that the military and the defense
industry have taken stealth technol
ogy, so rampantly successful in the
bill ion-dollar-and-change bombers
we have rolling off the production
lines, and adapted it to the defense
Nobody seems very willing to put
defense up on the chopping block —
of course, one never blows when
we’ll need ICBMs.
So instead of scaling back the
national defense, the government
has been looking to downsize
citizens’ defense. Defense against
poverty, defense against sickness,
defense against illiteracy.
The Republicans defied President
Clinton and proposed drastic
Medicare and Medicaid cuts, as well
as eliminating tax breaks for the
-working poor, as part of their
budget-reduction plan.
“Give us your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses,” I can hear
history prof-tumed-politico
Gingrich say, “so we can further
disenfranchise them for the better
ment of those who can afford to
make nice, juicy campaign contribu
In turn, Clinton, not too bad with
history either, would respond, “I’d
regret to have but one term to serve
for my country,” at which point we
would scramble to preserve Medic
aid, Medicare, tax breaks for the
poor and education spending,
knowing that his reelection hinges
on standing up for the “little guys.”
In case you’re wondering, that’s
American public is being treated
like the geeky kid in school whom
the captain of the football team
befriends in order to get hooked up
with the geek’s attractive sister.
A means to an end.
The success or failure of new
budget compromise will not be
measured by its effect on the
citizens; it will be measured by its
effect on the popularity polls. And
the polls won’t change much.
There’ll just be fewer voices, as
more and more people slide into
apathy or slip through the cracks
and out of the loop.
I realize this all sounds a little
cynical. For that, I apologize. Like I
said, I’m usually, a glass half full
The only thing is, there’s nothing
in the glass. And being used as a
puppet in a petty, partisan tug-of
war can get to be pretty thirsty work.
Peters Is a graduate student of Journal
ism and a Dally Nebraskan columnist
lett&i,.. from the
Talk at dinner table
could shock a turkey
Adria Chllcote
Once again, here comes the
last Thursday of November. I
meet it with mixed feelings.
Technically, I’ve already had my
Thanksgiving. The part of my
family that lives at my house had
our traditional feast last Sunday.
Instead of letting the holiday
sneak up on us (as it usually
does), this time we snuck up on it.
We celebrated early because
when the authentic holiday
comes, my family will scatter in
various directions.
Thanksgiving never was a very
important holiday to me. It’s
never been all that close to my
There’s a ton of cooking to do,
there’s a ton of dishes to do when
it’s all over, and there’s relatives
to deal with.
When compared to Christmas,
Thanksgiving sucks. On Christ
mas you get all the crap like
dishes, cooking and relatives. But
yoQ get presents to make all the
other stuff worth it.
Where’s the motivation for
For me, there’s not much. OK,
I love cranberry sauce and
pumpkin pie. But is all that crap
worm a tew ones ot sauce and a
piece of pie? I think not.
It might come close to being
worth it if I were a carnivore. But
I’m not. So what’s the point of
Turkeyday with no ritual sacrific
ing of the great bird?
Couple that with the fact that I
have some major moral reserva
tions about the whole tradition.
You know the story. When the
pilgrims came to this continent
they almost all died off (which I
believe), and the American
Indians came to the rescue and
taught them about com and stuff
(which I also believe), and that
the pilgrims were really nice after
they were saved from starvation
(which I defiantly do not believe).
I happen to believe that a lie is
a bad thing. I and my naive self
was under the impression that the
majority of people also shared
this belief.
So why does the entire country
continue to celebrate this colossal
I guess it makes everyone feel
good about the whole thing. I
think it’s a hypocritical good
feeling. And I hope that people
will eventually stop believing in
But I would also like to see
world peace and an end to hunger
and homelessness everywhere.
Yet I don’t see any of these
wishes being realized in the near
Even though I don’t believe in
the holiday any more, it’s
A particularly
entertaining portion of
our dinner
conversation was
when Daniel brought
up the subject of
vaginas. He was
convinced that the
correct pronunciation
of the word was
“bagina. ”
entertaining to sit down with my
entire family for a few hours (we
are slow eaters) at least once a
year. ^
The portion of my family
gathered around the turkey table
on Sunday consisted of my
mother, my sister Melissa (15
years old), and my two brothers
Ben (6) and Daniel (4). The most
entertaining and infuriating were
my two brothers.
A particularly entertaining
portion of our dinner conversa
tion was when Daniel brought up
the subject of vaginas. He was
convinced that the correct
pronunciation of the word was
Of course I corrected him, but
Ben was intent on confusing the
poor boy and told him I was
wrong, it really was bagina. Then
my sister and mother got in on it.
So there we were at the
Thanksgiving dinner table having
a heated discussion about vaginas
and baginas.
I he rest ot the conversation
meandered on to topics such as *
how about Daniel paraded around
in pantyhose the other night and
said he wanted to be a girl
because girls are pretty.
Then we got on the subject of
the morality of being a transves
tite and how gender is socially
Toward the end of a dessert of
pumpkin pie, the entire family
somehow wound up squealing at
the top of our lungs like a bunch
of insane pigs.
(And I’m not making any of
this up! I swear to the Goddess
that this all actually happened.)
What I want to know is what
other families are like when they
get together and no one’s looking.
How many other people are
going to be squealing like pigs at
their turkey feast?
I think it sounds like a fantas
tic tradition to get started in every
I guess I will wish you all a
happy Thanksgiving, even though
I don’t believe in it.
And feel free to start the
tradition of squealing like insane
pigs around your dinner table this
year. It’s a great way to relieve
stress that can be accumulated
when surrounded by relatives.
Chile ote is a freshman w omen’s stud
ies major and a Dally Nebraskan colum
The Daily Nebraskan will present a guest columnist each Monday.
Writers from the university and community are welcome.
Must have strong writing skills and something to say.
Contact Mark Baldridge c/o the Daily Nebraskan, 34 Nebraska
Union, 1400 R St., Lincoln, NE 68588.
Or by phone at (402)-472-1782.