Pardon the lengthy post, but the pending demolition of the Bomb Shelter (ironic, no?) got me thinking about my time on campus. I graduated in 2006, and have since moved on to bigger, but not necessarily better things. Rarely a day goes by that I don't think back to my time at UCLA and wish that I could do it all over again. And I don't mean that in a negative way. Oh sure, I certainly would have changed a few things (like hit the books a little harder). But to relive it all over again...wouldn't that be nice? And while I'm only 3 years removed from my college years, they feel a million miles away. That's why being a part of Bruins Nation is so awesome. I love hearing all the stories about our sports teams from other students, alumni, and fans. It brings me back to those days, if only in spirit.
That being said, let me share a memory that was jogged by the Bomb Shelter demolition...it all starts with a piece of crap eatery called Puzzles. The food sucked, the seating sucked, it was smaller than a bathroom stall, and your order could take hours. But it had one redeeming quality...it closed at 2AM. This was a veritable gold mine for college students, who have the sleeping habits of Alaskan vampires. Puzzles was like that really old baseball glove from Little League...you just couldn't bring yourself to throw it away, no matter how beat up it got. The laces were destroyed, the leather was stiff from years of sweat, and it still had that fading wording on the outside that wasn't quite legible...but you're pretty sure it spelled your last name at one point. Even so, was there another glove that you could trust? It fit you just right, and felt like an extension of your hand. That's what Puzzles was like for me...an extension of my figurative, college hand.
A typical visit to Puzzles was generally prefaced with a long night of drinking...as a matter of fact, I don't think they let you in unless you blew at least a .15 BAC. The other thing that sucked about Puzzles was that you couldn't pay cash. Meal plan only, kids. This presented a serious problem for me. Being the genius that I believed myself to be, I figured I could outsmart the system and save myself some money. I had the cheap ass meal plan (11 meals/week) because I figured the dining halls were an all-you-can-eat buffet, so I would just mash through as much food as I could in each sitting. Not a pretty sight for the uninitiated. This fact generally led me to beg my friends for a swipe on their card at Puzzles because I couldn't afford to waste one of my precious gorgings on a late night burger. Over time, my friends got tired of giving me free meals...so they put me on my own special "payment plan." However, these payments were not of the standard variety. I usually had to do something ridiculous to earn a meal. For example: chug a half gallon of milk, then run a mile. Good times. Eventually I got fed up with such chicanery and offered to give them cash for food, straight up. Everyone's a winner...my friends got some extra cash and I saved myself the humiliation of streaking across Drake stadium. You'd be surprised at how fast you can run without the extra weight of clothing...especially when UCLA PD is hot on your trail (for the record, one of my buddies did this...not me).
Now I am a boring "professional," and excitement comes in the form of wine and cheese parties, political discussions, and Van Damme Fridays. I miss college...so feel free to share your memories and stories, however off topic they may be.