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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 10, 1997)
Nearly any disgruntled group
_can wreak urban havoc
TODD BRAUCH is a fresh
man news-editorial major
and a Daily Nebraskan
As construction heightens and con
tinues to block traffic in all direc
tions, we watch in awe - jaws left
open and somewhat closer to our feet.
We watch as many men sweat and
slave themselves to build ... a small
When construction began around
the federal building that humbly sits
downtown, I wondered what it could
be that was so important to involve so
much manpower. It looked as if they
were planning to build a massive
structure around the building.
Personally I was hoping for a small
roller coaster; I would’ve definitely
become more involved with the gov
ernment given the chance to hurl
myself against the ground, then
swoop arouna, or even corkscrew. But
I am a dreamer; they would never
build anything that practical.
It is true that the complex needs an
overhaul. Just by looking at the build
ing you would have no clue that it
was a federal building. It hoards an
entire block and is surrounded by
light poles that look like cotton
swabs. , .. ..._
After the Oklahoma City bombing,
many officials realized it really is not
difficult to shoot the government in
the foot. So they took a look at all
major government buildings, and
decided to spend a couple jillion dol
lars beefing up security. Thus, here in
Lincoln, they believe that a structure
as fierce as a two-foot wall will pro
tect all who inhabit the building.
security cameras were also placed on
the corners of the building. They’re
configured to go off whenever they
see a certain shade of yellow, such as
that used by the Ryder Truck
The question is, will .a small speed
bump-like structure protect our
Federal Building from early retire
ment by a home-grown terrorist. (Not
to say Tim McViegh is guilty. In this
era nothing is ruled out. Poker-play
ing dogs could have blown up die
building.) If a Ryder truck pulled up
to the aforementioned structure, and
just happened to explode, the wall
would function well and keep
ground-scorching down to a mini
One thing people don’t know is
how easy it is to cause anarchy. Just
by mixing certain household
cleansers you can blow up plastic
bodies. With a little flammable pow
der and a wick you can send a phone
booth into a different area code - this
end, you and your forces will have to
unleash a blanket of terror.
Once the high officials have had a
good laugh, and in no way are going
to take you seriously, you organize
your militia. They stand proud
behind you. They know that they
may die for their cause, but
they show no fear. You have
trained them well.
It is time for war: You
and your forces kidnap
multiple classrooms of
desks, bind and tie them,
and march them to the top
of Oldfather Hall. This is
where the desks become bar
gaining chips. You shout, “For
every minute you waste by not
meeting our demands, a desk will
plummet to the Earth.”
They will try to persuade you to
give yoursen up. 1 ney may even ten
your mother. Fear not, there is noth- X
ing they can do to you at this point
unless they fight dirty, as in promis
ing cheesecake if you surrender.
Of course you surrender, even
Superman couldn’t resist cheesecake.
You are arrested and treated like you
are one meat patty short of a burger.
Eventually you will get the charges
dropped with some excuse that you
were testing many different theories
This is just a hypothetical situation
proving how easy it is to disrupt the
lives around us. These events alone
may disrupt somebody’s afternoon.
We are very fortunate that most of
us fallow the rules of society, kind of
like sheep. This is not a bad thing. Do
not turn to your fellow classmates
and slaughter them. The laws -*•
are here to prevent this kind
of activity, if they were
not you would spend
your whole day v
killing people and
not appreciating the finer
things in life, like a roller coaster.
He eats ketchup on salad, but his appellation eludes you
is sometning i nave wanted to do ever
since they raised the price on calls to
35 cents. I am purposely vague about
how easy it is to become an urban ter
rorist because I don’t want to take
responsibility for others’ actions, and
I really do not want to let out any
To demonstrate how easy it is to
become a social nightmare, I’ve cre
ated a hypothetical situation.
First you need a cause. As with
every terrorist group, you must be
pissed off. Just for example’s sake,
you are irritated; the university is just
not conforming to your needs, name
ly your need for more desk space.
Everywhere on campus the desks
have tops that barely hold theoretical
Second, you organize people who
have the same fundamental beliefs
that you do. Six liqoured-up friends,
Third, you mail a letter to the chan
cellor and deans, claiming that if the
madness of the mini-desks does not
JESSICA KENNEDY is a
senior advertising and
broadcasting major and
the Daily Nebraskan opin
To the handsome man I met the
week before school started in the cir
cle drive of the Wick Alumni Center,
I’m sorry. Remember how we intro
duced ourselves? Within minutes,
your name was gone. I felt terrible.
It’s not that you didn’t make an
impression, trust me you did. I
remember that you were dropping
off tickets for someone, that you
don’t go to school here yet still read
the DN, and that you had a great
But I just can’t remember your
Unfortunately, you’re not alone.
It is a daily struggle for me to
remember people’s names. As a
Lincoln native, I encounter people
from high school or old jobs or com
munity activities all the time. But I
can’t remember any of their names.
It happened again yesterday, I’m
embarrassed to admit. I ran into a
friend from my days in the dorms, I
remembered all sorts of details about
him, except his name.
My family gets exasperated with
me ... I routinely fail to remember
the names of distant relatives - or
how I’m connected to them. I even
recall an incident a few years back
when 1 couldn't remember one of my
cousin’s names for several days.
It’s truly a problematic character
I know most of you have experi
enced this phenomenon too ... you
greet someone on the street, smile,
maybe strike up a little conversation.
You even make a point to bring up
details you know about that person.
But the entire time you’re convers
ing, you’re frantically searching your
mental database for a name.
Something to call them, to reassure
them you know who they are, so you
don’t feel like a bloody moron.
After bemoaning die sad state of
my memory, a friend recommended
repeating a person’s name three
times upon meeting them. And good
advice it was ... for all the new peo
ple I met this fall. But I’m screwed
on the name-thing for those people
I’ve known a while.
Names are so important in our
society. They define who we are, our
histories and our futures. On some
little cutesy knickknack, my name
was defined as meaning wisdom. My
middle name is a family name that
has been passed down for hundreds
of years on my father’s side, and my
last name, well, it’s my family name.
I, of all people, should be sensi
tive to being called the wrong name.
There are so many women my age
named Jen, Jenny or Jennifer that
many people mistakenly assume I’m
a Jennifer too. More than once has a
superior repeatedly call me Jennifer;
a very demeaning experience.
Despite my experiences and in '
spite of my awareness this debilitat
ing trait, I still forget names regular
I almost always remember where
I know you from, the fact your cat
died in sixth grade, that your parents
are from Iceland, and that your sister
goes to Lincoln Northeast. But I can
not, for the life of me, remember
More than once in the last four
months have I turned to my room
mate and whispered, “how do I know
them,” or have made her play six
degrees of separation.
>“OK, remember Jenny, from our
freshman year? Her friend Scott,
who was in AGS? Yeah, you remem
ber? He was friends with Chem boy
- you know, the one who always sat
with Milk boy at dinner. OK Milk
boy’s ex-girlfriend - the one from
your bio class. I saw her on campus
today. WHAT WAS HER NAME?”
Sure, we’ve all been there - that
familiar face that smiles and occa
sionally says hi.
But my life has reached epidemic
proportions. Just look: I forgot
someone’s name yesterday, it hap
pened again last Friday; it happens
all the damn time.
So I have some solutions.
The first option is to have every
one wear name tags. At least then I
might have a fighting chance. First
names - and sometimes only last -
are enough to quick-fire my memo
ry. I don’t care how it’s done - law,
regulations, mandatory clothes label
ing, genetic imprinting - it just needs
to happen. And soon.
My second choice would be to
require everyone to introduce them
selves in conversations, especially
when you haven’t seen the person for
some time, or if you’ve only had one
Finally, there’s the whole memo
ry workshop thing. I suppose that’s
probably the most feasible option.
I’ve heard the claims: Remember
300 names on the first try. Sure they
haven’t met me yet.
It’s a problem I’ve to fix mighty
I want to work in university
advancement after graduation, a
field that will put me in contact with
people daily; probably people who
are important to the university.
People whose names I should know.
People’s names that I will know!
To all the people I meet on the
street, where we start talking and
have a jolly conversation, and I hap
pen not to mention your name: I’m
probably too embarrassed to admit
that I can’t remember and am too
damn stubborn to ask.
So, for you and all the world to
hear, I apologize in advance. It’s not
that I don’t know you or don’t
remember who you are, I’m just for
getting a little tiny thing.
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