Thursday, May 17, 2012

#37: the Bible Butt

Enjoy a guest post from the always amusing Taylor Lamb:

If you have ever been to Refuge, or even church for that matter, then you have definitely seen it. You know what I’m talking about. You’re walking into the sanctuary when BAM, it’s your face. It’s a butt. It’s a butt that is irregular in size and shape. This is when it hits you: that guy has a Bible on his butt. It’s right there in his back pocket. He is so close to the word of God at all times (because we all know that the word of God diffuses from a larger concentration to a smaller concentration when in contact with a believer). It’s basically part of him – or at least part of his wardrobe. Throughout my years at Ouachita, I have seen many a Bible Butt and have even come to classify them into three distinct groups.

The Petite Bible Butt (PBB)
The most common Bible Butt is popular among those looking for comfort. This usually comes in the form of a KJV New Testament. The benefit is not the translation, but rather the fact that these Bibles come in the smallest of sizes and easily fit into the back pocket. The advantages of the PBB are obvious. With bibles only slightly larger than wallets, they can be taken anywhere, and do not need removal from the pocket when sitting down. For these reasons, the PBB is a go to for girls, seeing as anything larger could never get into the back pocket of those skinny jeans. However, there are also disadvantages. For one, it’s an archaic text. And two, there is no Old Testament (except for some of the editions which include Psalms and Proverbs). So if you put comfort above the necessity of the complete word of God in a modern readable translation, I would say the PBB is the way to go.

The Creased Bible Butt (CBB)
 This Bible Butt is characterized by an average sized (Non-study) Bible folded – almost to the point of creasing – and inserted into the back pocket. The ESV Thinline is a primary candidate for the CBB. This is the method of choice by the hip youth minister type, especially in older generations (in which case it is commonly accompanied by a makeshift duct tape front and back cover). The benefits of this method are many. Primarily, it is a very effective way to wear in a new Bible and give the allusion of consistent and frequent reading (unless of course you are one of those “One should cherish his Bible and keep it in perfect condition” kind of people). Also, it saves money for the Want-To-Be-Bible-Butter. It can be pricey to purchase a full Bible that fits into the back pocket without folding, where-as the ESV Thinline can be purchased for a budget friendly fifteen dollars. Despite the fact that this Bible Butt-er literally twists and molds the word of God for his own purposes, this is a great method to accomplish the Bible Butt.

The Fitted Bible Butt (FBB)
The FBB is for those who want to go all in on the Bible Butt but don’t want to sacrifice the Old Testament. To accomplish the FBB, one must seek out and find a Bible that will fit snug in the back pocket of his or her pants. As a former Fitted Bible Butter myself, I recommend the Zondervan NASB Compact Reference Bible. It is the perfect size for the back pocket of an average pair of jeans and has nice gold trim as well as a leather cover. Some might call the thickness common of an FBB Bible a draw back. I would agree in terms of sitting down, but the benefit is that if someone has one of these things in his pocket, everyone within a forty foot radius will know it. That is a bulge that does not go unseen. Some more drawbacks might be the price and the font size. These Bibles can be upwards of forty dollars and some require a magnifying glass in order to read them. Fitted Bible Butts are frequently scrutinized for their lack of creativity and perseverance. They didn’t make their other bibles work for the bible butt. Instead, they spent money that could have been used to feed an average of 14 young African children for six weeks on buying yet another Bible. So if you really want to 1) rock the Bible Butt, 2) have the whole Bible, and 3) don’t mind letting young children starve, I would recommend the FBB.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

#36: sneaking Starbucks into the library

Don't look at me like that. You know, maybe in a weak moment during finals, that you've stumbled. Hey, this is a safe space for confession-we've all been there. Ten pages left on that exegetical paper, and you've already been at it for 7 1/2 long, claustrophobic hours in a freezing study room.  The pages of commentary begin to blur in front of your eyes, and the usually captivating discussion over Paul's use of conjunctions in Romans 11 stops making sense. You notice your hands begin to shake from caffeine withdrawals, and you remember that pile of fresh, crumbly, decadent chocolate chunk Otis Spunkmeyer muffins placed so haphazardly on the Starbucks counter. You know that taking a break long enough to enjoy your caffeine outside the library would disrupt your flow of thought and lead to failure. Even the most strong willed and studious of library patrons begin to imagine how much a small cup of coffee would aide in the homework process.

Only problem? 

Besides bottled water, food and drink do not fly within the confines of Riley-Hickingbotham. So, like prisoners smuggling contraband, we find ourselves faced with the difficult-but not impossible-task of sneaking Starbucks into the library. There are 4 main approaches.

1. Pulling the Freshman card
Some students walk straight in from Starbucks, venti mocha-chino with whip cream in hand. Secretly, they hope the librarians and student workers will turn a blind eye out of respect for their boldness. But if this fails, they merely feign ignorance to the rule by batting their eyelashes, turning up that southern accent, and innocently saying, "Oh, this book staining/carpet ruining/bug attracting deliciousness isn't allowed? I'm just a freshman/transfer/new to studying senior, I was very unaware..." in naive hopes the librarian will let their drink stay 'just this once'. 
Success Rate: 15%
Warning: This excuse can only be used 2x per librarian or student worker before they begin to get suspicious. 

2. Conceal and Carry
This method involves first removing every item from the backpack inside the library. Once in Starbucks, the beverage is carefully placed with a complicated system of coats and napkins at the bottom of said backpack. Then the carrier simply strolls into the library, past the student worker, disguised as a rule following, beverage less student.
Success Rate: 70% 
Warning: Not recommended for beginners, the facially expressive, anyone with an expensive backpack, or those that do not like the occasional feeling of steaming hot beverages spilling down their back or thigh. 

3. Bribing the guard
This can be tricky. If done incorrectly, the student worker positioned at the Starbucks entrance will be staring you down every time you even approach this side of campus. But occasionally, a Snickers bar or Naked juice passed indiscreetly across the table is all you need to gain access for your tea. 
Success Rate: 30%

3b. Befriending the guard
Closely related and more successful than the above, befriending the guard is a good and practical approach. It never hurts to meet and get to know a fellow Ouachitonian, especially one who watches those who exit Starbucks with a watchful eye. It is better to grow these friendships outside of the work study environment, however, as the student workers in the library tend to be clever, humorous, and intuitive when it comes to seeing through cheap attempts at camaraderie. Did I mention they also tend to be some of the best dressed and more attractive students on campus?
Success Rate: 25%-60%, depending on who is scheduled to work and the frequency of rotation.
Warning: It can be easy to abuse already existing friendships that offer this benefit. If over used, it puts your friend in the awkward position of helping out a pal and loosing their work study. Proceed with caution.

4. Treating the process like a video game
Before the days of first person shooters and RPGs, video games in my youth consisted of a Gameboy Color and various versions of the Pokemon series. In many of these games, success meant finding, through trial and error, a way of avoiding enemies or traps to make it to a prized object or enemy. I like to approach this in the same way. First, I visualize a map of the location. Then, I take a few moments to learn the predictable patterns of student worker movements as they patrol the shelves. Once I feel comfortable, I begin the quick and subtle journey of moving across the library and to my study location in increments. The secret to this maneuver is the subtle holding of ones cup at a casual, concealed location by your upper thigh. Be prepared to quickly move the coffee from one side to the other as needed.
Bonus PointsRewarded for making it all the way to your study location without spilling over half your drink.
Success Rate: 90%

Monday, August 15, 2011

#35: discovering Ouachitonians in unexpected locations

One Saturday this summer, my friend and I were attending a talk about Islam at church. I was listening attentively when, unexpectedly, something caught my attention. Like a puppy suddenly spotting a brand new sneaker lying forgotten on the floor, my eyes were drawn to a couple sitting only a few rows ahead. Whether it was some special glimmer in their eyes, the ease with which they wrote down Islamic terms containing too many vowels, or the shiny new diamond ring on her left hand, I knew with certainty these two were Ouachitonians.

Nudging my fellow seminar attendee, I rejoiced over seeing someone from my homeland during the long summer months away from my beloved OBU. There is an indescribable joy we all know and cherish that comes only with the knowledge another person in the room can correctly spell both 'Arkadelphia' and 'Ouachita'. While weighing the pros and cons of awkwardly saying hi to two people I have never met but vaguely recognize, three men wearing Greek letters foreign to all other universities slipped in one aisle over. My joy grew exponentially.

Ouachitonians, as it turns out, are everywhere.

Now, some of you aren’t impressed. You are not excited about this occurance, because you know

1. I live in the DFW metroplex, an area richly saturated in OBU attendees
2. The above mentioned church was the Village, a place frequented by 'in the know' college students who love Acts 29-esque churches, great podcasts, and missions.

Having calculated the statistics and knowing the high probability of this occurrence, you refuse to share in my joy. To you skeptics, I offer this second example.

The summer after my freshman year, I was working as a youth intern on the senior class trip to New York City.  Being a farily kind and giving youth intern, I spent an entire afternoon waiting in the Wicked cancellation line attempting to buy tickets for my students. I had been waiting for about an hour when I noticed a familiar shade of purple moving past the theatre. I stared, fixated, as a girl wearing the generic ‘Ouachita’ t-shirt we all receive during our official OBU visit pranced past me. Being new to the now all-too-common phenomenon of running into Ouachitonians at random times, I asked the woman behind me to hold my spot so I could run, screaming, after this mystery girl. Sadly, she disappeared into the city before I could even ask for her name/major/hometown. While I never discovered the identity of this fellow tiger, I did befriend the kind New Yorker who held my spot in line. As it turns out, her niece had recently graduated from-you guessed it-good ole OBU.

Where’s the strangest place you've unexpectedly stumbled across Ouachitonians?

-The 'other' Jessica S.

Friday, May 20, 2011

#34: graduating

Last Saturday at approximately 9:30AM, the band-aid bridging that delicate gap between “Ouachita’s World” and the “Real World” was ripped off. Perhaps a gentler transition would have been nice. Maybe a grace period of 3 months of footloose and fancy free time. Or perhaps some sort of 12-step program. (Step 1: learn to find food on your own. Step 2: accept lack of consistent dance parties in your life. Step 3: find a friend that is not your age—and consequently, probably boring.) But, since this is the cruel, heartless real world, we seniors do not get a 4-day church-campesque orientation session to the rest of our lives. We don’t get a name tag. We don’t get a t-shirt. And we certainly don’t get ice cream with the president. (Ok, maybe we did get ice cream with the president last week, but that is beside the point.)

Let’s face it. However painful, the quick-rip method was always the recommended method for band-aid removal over that slow-pull-of-agony method. Those baby hairs surrounding my elbow scabs were superfluous anyway. No need to keep ‘em hanging around. Thus, it is only fitting to embrace this next season of life with the same level of gusto as that band-aid rip. For, it’s likely just as emotionally healthy to watch those five stages of grief fly by my plane window as it is to actually experience them.

So here we are, now cruising safely into the acceptance stage. Acceptance of the real world. Of the oh-so exciting 9 to 5. Of invigorating chats about car insurance. Of the adventurous world of 401ks (confession: I have no idea what this is). In but a blink of the eye, we seniors will be embracing the stealthy and divinely comfortable Dodge Caravan as our means of transportation and will be saving babies from dirty diapers with a level of calm and collectedness that would put Superman—or at least Supernanny—to shame. That’s right. Say hello, to the rest of your lives, my senior friends! Adventure is sitting on our parents’ doorsteps. (Our temporary residences, of course).

Seeing as how I am now saying my goodbyes to Ouachita, I feel that it is only appropriate to say goodbye to Stuff Ouachitonians Like as well. There is no room for any band-aid remnants on this very adult elbow. My alumni pin would certainly get jealous. However, instead of shutting SOL down and leaving SOL and all of its readership truly SOL in the ways of Ouachitonians satire, I would like to bequeath the blog to a friend, fellow Ouachitonian, and--far more importantly—a fellow English major. She’s a sophomore. She’s a Ouachita legacy. She’s an Eta Sweetheart, and she is a master of wit. She is Jessica Scoggins, the stuff Ouachitonians truly like.

All the best to you, Jess. I could not stand to bequeath to anyone with less awesome of a name. May your satire be sharp. May your Tiger Tunes endeavors be successful. And may your sheep, your bleat, your fleece be true.


Over and out.

Jessica Schleiff

Saturday, April 30, 2011

#33: power outages

Nothing shakes up the unspoken social conventions of Ouachita Baptist University like a good ol' power outage. Sure, by day, we are upstanding scholars. We brush the shoulders of our acquaintances with mildly interested “how’s it goings” and many a smile in the caf. We interact with professors with tact and a considerable level of hygiene. We try not to tip over the proverbial boat.
But when the lights go out, things get real. Like Bible Times real. Like Old Testament Real. Like “Oh, snap! Lot’s daughters did what?” real.
I have never been in an apocalypse. I didn’t even finish the Left Behind series. Thus, I found myself completely unprepared recently when the town of Arkadelphia found itself on the verge of total anarchy.
Two Tuesdays ago I plopped down to study for my impending Life Science test at the exact same moment that darkness seized the halls and sidewalks of our beloved campus. Like any self-respecting RA would do at such a time as this, I immediately abandoned my hall, rushing to the science building (a.k.a. The New Jerusalem of Life Science) and reassured the freshman girls cowering in the halls and stairwells of FCW3 that there would only be cause for panic if a cow came busting through the windows.
However, my Great Escape to Productivity turned out to be quite the quest. FYI, if you ever find yourself caught in the middle of an apocalypse, do not expect to get anywhere fast. The first obstacle in my and Courtney’s trek (Courtney had by this time jumped on the Jones Journey Train) to the science building was the Francis Crawford lobby. I should have known that all the residents of Flippen Perrin would converge on our halls at the first sign of weather danger. I suspect they were answering the call to use their bodies as physical Twister shields for all the vulnerable FC-dwellers who might at any moment be sucked away into oblivion. In the future, I will sleep soundly in the knowledge of this chivalrous commitment to self-sacrifice, but at the time, they were merely a blockade on the path to test preparation. Obstacle 1.
Obstacle 2 was a gargantuan tree that the wind had blown into the middle of the road. Not to fear, though. The men of Flippen Perrin were on their toes once again, rushing to the scene of the road impediment, sporting subhuman strength, headlamps, and muscle tees. It is comforting for future apocalypses to know that I live so close to an entire community of Jack Shepherds. (I suspect, though, that it wouldn't take the men of FP six seasons to get off that dadgum island.)
After safely avoiding Obstacle 2, Courtney and I slipped and slid on the lightless Ouachita sidewalks all the way to our intended goal. Yet, not surprisingly, though the Jones generators did illuminate our meiosis and exegetical notes, they did not illuminate our minds. How can one study cell reproduction when a whole host of flashlights are closing in on the Ouachita Tiger? It was like Lord of the Flies had broken out within the parameters of area code 71998. From our window, Courtney and I watched with both awe and horror as tens of (thousands of?) tiny lights crept closer and closer to our caged mascot. Meanwhile, the Tiger waited unprotected in his prison, his security cameras rendered useless by the electrical outage, leaving him as helpless as a veal or one of those suicidal shark-cage divers. Thankfully, Securitas was on the job in no time, halting the faceless ruffians from desecrating our hero with their irreverent butts on his back. (Let all Ouachitonians hereby rest assured that OBU Safety does NOT need electricity to maintain campus safety.)
Meanwhile, back at the farm, the residents of O.C. Bailey decided that a power outage was the perfect time to run, screaming, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth between their dorm and Lile.  I now know that Ouachita Football does not take pansy excuses like “total darkness” as reason for shirking physical training time.
Yet in spite of the madness, Courtney, I, the other Jones studiers, and the rest of Ouachita managed to walk away from our micro-apocalypse unscathed. The lights came back on. People went about their normal business. And I made an A on my Life Science test. What happened in the dark pretty much stayed in the dark.
I wish, though, that I had been the all-seeing Eye of Sauron in that brief moment when the Apocalype and the Ouachita Bubble collided. In those seconds right after power returned to Arkadelphia, that “Dream sequence-Jerry B. Jenkins-end of the world-I am Legend” state shook hands with the “2nd-Baptist-attending-NorthFace-Vest-Wearing-Piggybacking-BBC kids” state. If only I could have witnessed that freshman touching the Tiger tail for the first time, or that CDA newbie in mid-rap-lyric-holler, or that streaker as he sheepishly rushed to clothe himself with the nearest shrubbery. Perhaps, then--and only then--would I have seen the true faces of Ouachitonians in all their gleaming, transparent glory.

Monday, April 11, 2011

#32: tiger traks, a personal anecdote

For four years I have happily avoided the celebrated competition of Tiger Traks. Convenient excuses like “I have to commemorate my friend’s birthday in the location of her actual birth,” or “Oh darn it, I’ll be out of the country,” or “I’m sorry, but I believe I’ll be feeding Sudanese refugees that weekend” have kept my lack of athletic ability inconspicuous.

Until now.

It being the final semester of my senior year, I was struck recently by a staggering question: can I call myself a true Tiger without ever participating in Tiger Traks? I reasoned that, “no, I could not.”

So, I set out to make my Ouachita experience complete, searching for the perfect Tiger Traks Eight-some. I pondered questions such as “where can I find the poster children of sport?” and “who on this campus epitomizes physical intensity?”

Naturally, I looked to the English Department, a hotbed of athleticism.

Having assembled our team, we embarked this past Friday on what was to be the adventure of a lifetime. We—Liz “The Dark Horse” Richardson, Baronger the Brave, Sarah “Not Plain but Tall” Stark, Ellen Three Sticks Pointing East Eubanks, Jason the Pony-tailed Warrior, The Emperor of Ice cream, Mary Poppins on Speed, and myself set off on our quest, sporting much heart and several deer-in-the-headlights expressions. We hoped to put our name down in Tiger Traks history.

The name, however, posed an unexpected problem. Mary Poppins had a brilliant idea on the subject of team t-shirts. One of her students was selling shirts to raise money for Nigerian widows. Poppins thought that by purchasing said t-shirts for the team, we would save ourselves time as well as tender our finances to the poor and destitute in the process. In order to merge both our literary roots and represent our friends back in Africa (aka, the Motherland), we chose the name “Things Fall Apart” for our team, giving a shout out to our old friend Chinua Achebe and calling upon the sympathies of many a Western Letters student. We could not foresee at the time, however, the confusion said shirts would inspire.

Apparently, having the words “AIDS” in bold red letters on one’s back during Traks lends itself to a variety of responses, few not marked by condemnation and distain. What it also lends itself to is many a conversation such as this: [while running around campus on the tiger trek]

--“What! Oh hey! No, it’s not our team name” [several gasps for air]

--“Yeah, I realize AIDS is a serious issue” [more gasping]

--“No, we’re not trying to be funny.” [more gasping]

--“It’s a novel, you know, Things Fall Apart. Nigeria? Achebe? Beular?” [exasperation]

--“Yes, I know my shirt has the words malnutrition and sex-trafficking on the front, but isn’t it nifty how it fits into the shape of Africa?”

After settling any lingering tension from the above issue, we attempted to hold our own in a variety of competition events. We found that some areas were not our strength—specifically, all games relating to mud (at one point Liz, Dr. Amy Sonheim, and I were all dragged upside down, the only lifeline between us and death by mud-drowning being the bottom of a tug-of-war rope). However, in other areas we shined. 91 marbles with our toes! Can I get a witness?

However, in all Traks events, we felt prepared. We armed ourselves with proverbs such as “the pen is mightier than the sword” and “sticks and stones won’t break my bones…” We channeled our inner Borrimeers and Beowolfs. We rested in thoughts like, “Relay? Boat race? Volleyball? check! I’ve totally read about that somewhere! We got this!”

And in the end, we fared well. We walked away with our heads held high. We brought honor to many English majors who were safe at home, resting in the comfort of a book, cup of tea, or a solitary walk through a forest.

Perhaps, Africa Is not Done Suffering, but after the end of the weekend’s events, we, the members of Things Fall Apart, certainly are.

That’ll do, Things. That’ll do, indeed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

#31: using info like eharmony

This is a postmodern world we live in, people. This is not your grandmother’s Ouachita. You won’t find us scurrying to our females-only tennis class wearing raincoats to cover up our shorty-short skirts. You won’t find us rendezvousing at the sidewalk during the designated hours for co-ed bonding. And you will certainly not find us answering telegraph invitations to go out for a coke on a Saturday night.

Community at OBU looks different than it did fifty years ago. I know this may come as a shock to you, fellow Ouachitonian. You probably, like me, were under the misconception that the past 100 years were utterly static. But let’s face reality, friends. The world is changing, and so must we.

And we have.

The area of Ouachitonian lives where this change seems most obvious is in the field of cross-gender relations, i.e. dating, engagement, and marriage.

Just in case you were unclear about that fine print section on your degree plan, be aware that these three experiences are prerequisites for you taking that ol' leisurely stroll in mid-May across the graduation stage and maneuvering that handshake-diploma-hand-off with Dr. Rex Horne. And just so we’re all on the same page here, these steps should preferably be taken in the order listed above. (Sometimes Ouachitonians get fuzzy on this issue. Not to worry. Many are here to counsel you and walk you through the process. Please consult your advisor or RA).

I know that these three tasks may seem daunting. But, not to fear, I am here to inform you that Ouachita has conveniently equipped you with all the necessary skills you need to date, engage, and be married. Where those we now dub Golden Tigers may have required intentional methods like a face-to-face conversation to figure out who that cute girl in Fine Art Theater was and whether she was available to be telegraphed for that coke, we 21st century Ouachitonians have more convenient and technologically savvy methods.

I would like to now introduce you to Ouachita’s very own version of EHarmony:
It’s like facebook had a baby with, except that baby is exponentially more talented and beautiful than either of its parents.

“How,” might you ask, “is INFO the best method for Ringing by Springing it?” Let me count the ways…

1.) Geographic Relevance.

Whilst facebook creeping an acquaintance, have you ever found your eyes wandering over to his/her friends column and landing on a particularly aesthetically pleasing individual? When clicking on said individual’s profile have you been heartbroken to discover that said individual lives in Milwalkee? Well wipe those tears away, my friend. When INFO creeping, you will never again find yourself geographically isolated from that potential someone…unless, of course, you dub the walk to the Village too strenuous.

2.)Personal Details

Will inform you of that potential someone’s major and classification? I think not! (Ok, maybe it will. I’m not really sure. I have always chosen the supremacy of INFO for all my dating, engagement, and marriage endeavors). No matter. Either way, how will you know if that easy-on-the-eyes female’s interests are truly compatible with yours? How can you anticipate her dietetics major rendering her totally uninterested as you chart the rise and fall of the Roman Empire on your first date? How are you ever to save yourself both the humiliation and wasted carbon dioxide if not to INFO stalk her first?

3.) Photograph

Perhaps 100% of Eharmony users are indeed body-builders and marathon runners. However, if you, like me, are a skeptic and find yourself doubting the legitimacy of that person’s profile pic, doubt no more. Not only are the photographs on INFO not photo-shopped or cut and pasted, they are taken in the not-so-stylistic-high-point of one’s life. AKA: freshman year. And just in case you still distrust that INFO picture, rest assured that Ms. Sandy can verify its authenticity.

I wish you the best, my Ouachitonian friend, in all of your dating and mating. If you find yourself spring semester, still unhitched, don’t blame me or Ouachita. We did the best we could to help you find that special someone.

**The inspiration for today's post came from the one, the only, the Adam 'A-Hud' Hudson. (Be sure to ask him for a personal testimony about how INFO has changed the course of his life.)