I was reading something on the old blog from May 2011 that made me think:
One of the things that won’t happen in Pandemic America this fall are the late-night dormitory lounge bull sessions where college freshmen spread the complete nonsense they’ve learned. (Unlike other years, the risk of them spreading other things is just too great.)
The following observation came about after I attended a Red Sox game at Fenway Park on the night some nutjob group predicted the Rapture would occur. Right at the specified moment, the PA played R.E.M.’s “It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine.)”
While I was mentioning R.E.M.’s soundtrack to Rapture Weekend, I neglected to mention a uniquely Bostonian connection — one that contributed to my pleasure at hearing the song at Fenway Park.
Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, it was a popular urban legend at Boston University that the first line of the song’s second verse was “Six o’clock, TV hour / Don’t get caught in Warren Towers” — a reference to the monstrously huge BU dorm of the same name, one of the country’s largest non-military dormitories.
I never bought it, myself.
Why a bunch of guys from Georgia would refer to a dormitory in Boston never got explained well enough for my taste.
(Usually, the legend got repeated with an offhanded “They went to school here” or “They visited BU when they played in Boston.” No, they didn’t; and no, they didn’t.)
Listening to it now, it’s clear that Michael Stipe is singing “Don’t get caught in foreign towers.”
Why people had trouble understanding that 20 years ago, I have no idea.
(Worn cassettes, maybe?)
Still, it’s a fondly remembered tidbit that brings back my freshman year of college pretty sharply.
One of the great things about freshman year — especially if you go to a school that draws people from a wide geographic area — is that everyone unloads all the crap they believe is true on each other.
The kids from Long Island share their misty fourth-hand friend-of-a-friend legends with the kids from Hawaii and the kids from Chicagoland; and pretty soon there’s this vast morass of bullshit percolating in the late-night lounge sessions all over campus.
And if you get enough bullshit piled up on itself, the library starts to sink under all the weight.
But that’s another story …