The Lowest Form of Conversation

TV mob boss Tony Soprano once said, “‘Remember when’ is the lowest form of conversation.” It’s that idle chatter among old friends at class reunions and grandparents at the holidays.

As a nontraditional student returning to Ohio State 18 years after I came aboard as an undergraduate freshman, it’s hard not to feel a bit of ‘remember when’….I can’t help but recall that Fisher was a vision to be set upon a sea of parking lots west of the north campus dorms.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I made it through the first years of school without a computer, cell phone, texting and even (gasp!) an Internet connection! I remember sitting in a course my junior year hearing about the marvels of the World Wide Web and how we would need to learn to use this wonderful world-shrinking creation. I was scared! How would I ever conquer this new-fangled thing?

Well, time changes and I’m sure I’m not alone when I think…Remember when High Street was a tangled mess of independent stores and grit? Remember when the Union was an interesting smelling place that hosted a would-be presidential candidate named Bill Clinton? (I stood right in the street to hear him speak from the balcony.) Remember when Long’s bookstore was more than a sign on a chain store? Remember when the library stacks weren’t so well lit and signs everywhere reminded students not to quaff, chew, imbibe, nosh, or ingest anything in about two dozen different words? Remember when budget cuts eliminated free busing around campus and students still lived in the stadium? Remember basketball games at St. John’s Arena and good seats at the football games? Remember when it was $1 for a hotdog with sauerkraut from the campus vendors? Don’t remember any of that? Hmmm…

Some things don’t change, though. Students still get nervous the first week of school (even the seasoned ones). President Gee was here my first go-round, left, and now he’s back too! The Oval is still a good place to people watch and the Newport keeps trucking along.

I’m mostly glad for the changes, but sometimes, whippersnappers, nostalgia can be overwhelming.