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Foolish fourth-year fifth finds Fictional

JIMMY Fictional wants to be cool. Ever since he came to the University last fall, Jimmy has wanted to be

one of those ultra-cool kids everyone envies and imitates. That's why Jimmy already has begun to train for his fourth-year fifth.

The fourth-year fifth is another glorious University tradition, just like racism used to be. It takes place before the last home game of every football season, and dictates that truly cool fourth-year students finish off a fifth of hard liquor before kickoff, thus certifying their coolness.

So, Jimmy, what's your training regimen like?

"Well, I've got two years to work up to being cool, so I'm pacing myself. I'm starting by drinking three shots after each class, having a mixed drink with every meal, and by drinking half a fifth every Friday and Saturday."

That's a rigorous program, Jimmy. But still, a fifth is a lot of liquor. Do you think you'll be in shape by fourth year?

"I'm confident that I'll be cool enough to drink recklessly by then. Right now I'm working on raising my vomit threshold, and by third year, I hope to have increased my window of intoxicated memory. I mean, I don't want to go through my fourth-year fifth, get dangerously drunk, and then not remember anything."

Of course not, Jimmy. That would be stupid. So tell us, Jimmy, what's your motivation?

"Well, it's a tough, grueling program, but I figure it'll pay off. What keeps me going is the fact that, come fourth year, I'll be part of a time-honored tradition."

You know, Jimmy, the fourth-year fifth has only been around for about 10 years. "Family Ties" was cool for longer than that. Besides, how does stupidity make for a cool tradition?

"But everyone does it."

Actually, Jimmy, the Institute for Substance Abuse Studies says that last year, only 16 percent of fourth-year students attempted the fifth, and only 10 percent finished it.

"That's because they didn't train."

But Jimmy, it's likely that less than 10 percent of the fourth-year class will even try to do the fifth. Most people will be doing something better with their time, like being conscious, or perhaps running in the Fourth-Year 5K, a running event sponsored by the Peer Health Educators.

"Yeah, right, like I'm gonna get up early so I can run up and down. That's not cool at all."

Well, Jimmy, if you're interested in what's in it for you, you could sign on with Project FEST. It's a student group headed by fourth-year Engineering student Luke Mitchell, and it stands for Fourth Years Ending Stupid Traditions. If you sign a card pledging to abstain from the fifth, you get free sodas at the football game and get entered in a raffle for prizes like a free cruise. Tons of area merchants are behind the effort, and Anheuser-Busch has pledged its support.

"Hey, that's for dorks. I want to be cool, like the frat boys."

Jimmy, fraternity men are signing the pledge cards too. According to Mitchell, the Inter-Sorority and Inter-Fraternity Councils "have been extremely helpful." The IFC even is sponsoring a competition to reward the house that gets the most pledge cards.

"No, I'd rather be cool. I don't need a bunch of teetotalers nosing in on my fun."

It's not like that. As Mitchell said, "It's fourth years helping their classmates." They'd like to see you make it to graduation, Jimmy.

"Man, I'm gonna be a fourth-year student in two years. After all my hard work, I'll deserve some fun."

You're right, Jimmy. After years of work, you'll deserve the chance to cut loose and enjoy your last year. Come to think of it Jimmy, what better way to enjoy yourself than to lose your dignity in public? You'll deserve the chance to be a burden to your friends. They'll probably think it's cool that you can erase a day from your fourth year. You'll probably laugh later at how they'll have to babysit you all day. You'll probably develop close bonds with the person who makes sure you don't vomit on yourself in your sleep - provided someone remembers to do that for you. It'll be fun having someone hold you up so you don't tumble down the Scott Stadium steps. You'll be part of a grand tradition.

It's too good an opportunity to pass up, Jimmy, even if 90 percent of your classmates choose to do just that. It's not every day you get to be reckless with your health, a disgrace to your friends and family, and an example of what happens when dumb people and liquor collide. You better keep training, Jimmy, so you can finish that fifth in record time. It'll be real cool.

(Tom Bednar is a Cavalier Daily opinion editor.)

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