Culture vulture

Photo By C. Owsley Rain

Welcome to Chico
Somewhere in the midst of my third or fourth episode of Law and Order reruns last night, I found myself viewing a Wal-Mart back-to-school advertisement narrated by a wholesome-looking young lady who was going off about the joys of finding everything she could possibly want at Wal-Mart when setting up her new, college dorm life. That’s horrifying enough, but then the script writers top it all off by having her proclaim with much gusto that her mother “told me these would be the best years of my life.” Mother and daughter hug and squeal with delight as the camera pans around the Wal-Mart-furnished dorm room, star-wipe and we’re out.

Now, Culture Vulture has nothing against schlocky, cheaply made mass-produced crap, so that wasn’t the real offender here, although we would add that we think the world would be a better place if teenagers in the United States got a chance to experience a taste of sweatshop labor for a few hours each week to supplement their education and help sustain society’s need for such items, instead of relegating all of that labor to the adolescents of underdeveloped countries who more than likely will never enjoy the benefits of higher education.

But let us not be distracted by side issues; the thing that really killed me about that commercial was the assertion, by the poor child’s mother no less, that the college years her daughter is just beginning will be “the best years of [her] life.” By the application of primary-school arithmetic we can derive the statistic that so far the little darling has lived about 18 years, none of which qualifies as the best. Using a little more logic and arithmetic tells us that even if she stays in school for extended post-graduate studies she’ll probably be all done with school by the time she’s at most 27 or so years old. Which leaves her with about another 50 years that will not be the best of her life.

Culture Vulture found this conclusion to be overly pessimistic, cynical even, and somewhat depressing. What a horrid vision to thrust into a vulnerable young mind at the inception of her adult life, we thought. Here she is, barely getting started out in adult life, and the nearest and dearest authority figure she has is telling her that in a few short years the best of it will be over.

And so we feel it is our duty in welcoming you students to express a slightly different view. Embrace and enjoy your college years, we say, for some of them may indeed be the best years of your life so far, but don’t forget that college is merely the launching pad for all that comes after. We certainly don’t espouse the view that each succeeding year will be better than the next, but we do wish to reassure you that the best years are scattered throughout the entirety of one’s life, not clumped together at one small section.

Enjoy the town. It’s one of the best you’ll ever find.

Things to look for and enjoy:

1. Saturday Farmers’ Market

2. All-ages shows at Fulcrum Records and Moxie’s

3. Taco trucks

4. The Bookstore downtown

5. Hot Flashes