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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 27, 1995)
College car vandal needs to grow up
I thought when you came to
college, you grew up. I thought you
came to college to get away from all
that crap you had to go through in
high school. I could be wrong. Let’s
All of us had those “friends.” The
type of people that you run into later
that you haven’t seen in two or three
years. You shake hands, ask how
he’s doing, and ask about his
girlfriend or his classes or anything
to break the awkward silence. Both
of you know you really don’t care.
I saw one of those people’the
I was walking around on East
Campus. I was there to bowl, or go
to a concert, or something. It
doesn’t matter, maybe it was a
dance. I ran into my current room
mate, one of our friends from high
school, and her boyfriend. The
boyfriend is the “friend.”
I played football with him, and
he graduated a year before me. We
went through the routine. Shook
hands, asked about classes, ex
changed manly greetings.
A few minutes after meeting, he
decided that there was pressing beer
to drink, and one did NOT have my
name on it. They all left. Big deal,
two more years and I’ll run into him
The dance ended, and I strolled
back to my car with those other
friends. I walked toward my car to
discover it was covered in bright
type fencing, and a street barricade
blocked my hood. .
A senseless act of vandalism, I
thought. It wasn’t funny, but maybe
I didn’t see the humor in that kind of
“He knew that car was
mine, and decided it
was time for revenge
after eight years of
tormenting thoughts of
me flipping him off. ”
thing. No big deal. “Who let the
high schoolers out?” I thought.
I asked my roommate later why
my “friend” had acted so weird, and
made such a quick departure.
“He doesn’t like you because you
flipped him off when we were
freshman,” she replied.
“Freshman?” I said, “That’s not
right. I haven’t seen him since we’ve
been in college.”
“In high school,” she said matter
I gave everyone the one-finger
wave in high school. It was a sign
you were liked, that you were my
friend. It didn’t seem right to wave^
normal. We were cool, or we really
wanted to be cool. We flipped each
That’s why I couldn’t figure out
why this guy thought I meant it.
And, if it bothered him that
much, why didn’t he stop me that
day and straighten things out. Or
why didn’t he straighten things out
during a football practice. THUD -
“Don’t ever flip me off again!”
would have come across nicely.
Why did he carry an eight year
If you know me, I’m a trusting
(naive) person and didn’t put two
and two together until a day or so
The vandal who hit my car the
night before wasn’t a stranger. He
knew that car was mine, and decided
it was time for revenge after eight
years of tormenting thoughts of me
flipping him off.
I took the next logical step. I
asked my roommate.
“Your car was messed with
Friday night?” she lied. “I don’t
think he did it.”
I’m not that trusting of a person.
To seal the coffin, his girlfriend
came over to visit some friends in
town who were staying in our
apartment. She started joking about
how smooth her boyfriend was. He
messes with peoples’ cars when he’s
drunk. He thinks it’s funny.
I’m sure he wouldn’t think it was
iunny n someone messed witn nis
new Dodge thick.
There is a moral to this story.
1. People need to grow up.
2. People need to respect each
other’s property and rights. Wow, I
could swear I read that in a famous
3. People need to talk if some
thing bothers them, and not carry
around eight-year grudges. To get
mad at a person is one thing, but to
hold a grudge for eight years is just
not healthy. Maybe my “friend”
should get some help with his
Maybe he should just re-read
Oseka is a Junior news-editorial major
and a Daily Nebraskan staff reporter.
Idea virus takes over unsuspecting mind
It hit me, recently, what I’m up to.
What I’ve been up to, on one
level or another, as long as I’ve
written for the Daily Nebraskan.
I had no idea I was so subversive.
Anyone here familiar with the
idea of memes?
Okay, let me digress for a minute.
A meme is the smallest element
of idea — of meaning. Like a gene
in biology, a phoneme or morpheme
in linguistics, the meme is rarely
observable outside and apart from
the larger construct it simulta
neously inhabits and creates.
Bodies are made of and by genes.
Blue eyes, brown eyes, it’s all in the
Morphemes are a little more
The “a” in “atonal” is an example
of a morpheme, the smallest
meaningful bit of language; it means
something like “against” or “anti”.
A meme, well, a meme is even
more abstract —and harder to pin
mu we can recognize ns opera
tions in large, long-lived ideas, like
Christianity changes its memes
around a lot. We no longer think
burning witches is so cool, for
But it maintains a recognizable
form. Christians everywhere
recognize the cross.
Maybe the cross is a meme. The
simple “X” of sticks over a grave,
the gold crucifix on a slender throat
— beneath them both lies the
Christianity survives in part
because it has strong memes. That
is, its memes tend to organize in
very stable ways. From generation
to generation the meme structures of
Christianity exhibit very little drift.
I don’t mean any disrespect, I’m
just trying to put the idea of memes
into a context we can recognize. I
could have chosen democracy or
Now, what I’ve been up to, all
unbeknownst like, is the manufac
ture of a particular kind of virus. A
A virus in biology isia strand of
DNA which, having no life of its
own, can replicate inside an organic
“Because of the ideas in
my mind I believe that
what I believe is true —
just like any of you. ”
system, using the system’s own
processes to proliferate itself.
A meme virus would be, then,
something that is not an idea in
itself, not even a piece of an idea.
It would be something like a
catalyst that creates, in its unlucky
recipient, the conditions under
which certain kinds of meme
constructs might thrive.
In other words, it’s a disease (or
perhaps un-ease) not of the mind,
but of ideas.
And theYirst and most noticeable
symptom of the disease is doubt.
Just so you’ll know.
It’s not like I’ve sat around and
tried to figure out how to corrupt
people’s ideas. I have, really,
nothing to do with it.
I’m like the guy with a bad cold
at the office. I’m contagious.
Since I’m sort of a public figure,
I may be real contagious — that’s
why I’m mentioning it now.
You see ... I, too, am a victim of
the meme disease.
Several years ago my ideas got
sick. One hell of a lot of them died
off. It was terrible.
I wondered if I’d have any ideas
left by the time I got through it. I
didn’t know what a meme virus was
in those innocent days as, one by
one, doubt ate my ideas.
There was a long period (it
seemed long) in which the silence ir
my head was deafening.
Slowly, new ideas appeared.
They were worse than the
Because the ideas that grew back
to fill the silence in my mind were
strange, liquid, transparent, ready to
slip out of shape and change and
evaporate and come back in new
They made me seasick with all
It took a long, long time to get
my sea legs — and that’s why it
took me so long to realize what I
was up to.
I, like everyone else, am at the
mercy of my ideas.
My mind has become the factory
for producing slick meme viruses. I
crank them out at an alarming rate,
each more insidious than the last.
Maybe, one day, I will constitute
a kind of one man plague — a
psychic Typhoid Mary. And I can’t
stop. Not yet.
I am in the throes of a disease
and my meme viruses are already
out there, working away.
Sooner or later someone suscep
tible — someone whose defenses
are down, someone far from home,
someone at college, say—will
catch the bug.
It may not run a course identical
to mine — the virus mutates with
each replication — but the end
result will be very similar. Another
poor person will become a virus
I did not invent the virus and it
won’t end with me. I am but a poor
vessel. I am being used.
It just so happens that the memes
in my head make my brain produce
happy chemicals when I’m out there
Because of the ideas in my mind
I believe that what I believe is true
—just like any of you.
But what I believe is true is more
like a howling vortex of chaos than
a bowling alley—more akin to the
void than the Vatican.
My ideas are in league with the
, devil of doubt.
Hope you guess my name.
Baldridge Is a senior English major and
Opinion editor for the Dally Nebraskan.
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