Last week, as I was power-walking to my first class of the day, a few things bounced around my exhausted mind: 1) Iâ€™m definitely going to be late, and shoot, itâ€™s one of those classrooms with the really squeaky desks, 2) Two cups of coffee â€“â€“ not enough and 3) Why is everyone around me moving so fast?
Iâ€™d hit the quarter-semester wall.
As I dragged myself to the class I was already 10 minutes late for, I suddenly heard some jivinâ€™ instrumental dance jams playing close behind me. At first I didnâ€™t question it, assuming it was just one of the more pleasant side effects of sleep-deprived delirium. But then as it got closer, I turned to look over my shoulder, and there I saw him.
He sort of looked like a smaller, slightly less hairy version of Jesus, and on his shoulder rested a wireless iPod speaker dock. The music flowed loudly and freely, and he wore a satisfied grin that I couldnâ€™t help but immediately mirror.
â€œHey,â€ he said as he passed, the people in front of us also looking behind to see where the music was coming from.
â€œOh hi…?â€ I said back, hoping â€“â€“ with the lack of profundity in my response â€“â€“ that he wasnâ€™t actually Jesus.
Suddenly, I didnâ€™t feel so tired. And squeaky-desk class didnâ€™t look so bad after all and maybe, just maybe, I could make it through the day without drinking all of Columbiaâ€™s coffee. Whether he intended to or not, CSU stereo guy brightened my, and Iâ€™m sure many othersâ€™, morning that day.
While it was the first time I had seen him, Iâ€™ve talked to a lot people who say they see stereo guy all the time. No one I know has ever talked to him, but they all say theyâ€™ve only seen him with the stereo atop his shoulder, music playing and a goofy grin on his face.
I didnâ€™t know his name, I didnâ€™t know what heâ€™s studying but I did know this: heâ€™s a perfect example of how people can get their â€œvoiceâ€ heard on campus without spreading blind judgment and condemnation.
On the same day I saw stereo guy, I later walked through the Plaza and became surrounded by the jarring, â€œyouâ€™re going to hell unless youâ€™ve accepted Jesus!â€
The preachersâ€™ goal (Iâ€™m assuming) of being on campus is to convert CSU students over to their own Christian views, since they think our campus is rife with sinners and delinquents â€“â€“ but all theyâ€™re really doing is eliciting anger and a complete distaste for the beliefs theyâ€™re trying to spread.
I havenâ€™t seen a single student walk away from the Plaza preachers with a smile on their face and a desire to actually join their congregation. Instead, people leave wanting to do just that: leave.
While the preachers are a lot more vocal than stereo guy, they are infinitely behind him in effectiveness of communication.
The pseudo-Jesus supporters spread their message with intimidation, hate and judgment, but the Jesus look-a-like spreads his with music, enjoyment and a seemingly unbridled desire to cheer people up.
Of course, I donâ€™t think we should all start walking around with speakers blaring from our shoulders â€“â€“ something Iâ€™d never do, since Iâ€™m pretty ashamed of my love for Phil Collins and Celine Dion â€“â€“ but I think heâ€™s a perfect example of a positive way to spread individuality on campus.
But, even smiling stereo manâ€™s antics arenâ€™t beloved by all. When I asked around about him earlier, a couple people saw him as a stoner who didnâ€™t know what headphones were.
â€œOh yeah, Iâ€™ve seen that guy. Heâ€™s always looks high as a kite,â€ a girl next to me in squeaky-desk class said.
And one of my friends thinks heâ€™s almost as bad as the preacher guys. â€œHeâ€™s so annoying. Doesnâ€™t he know what ear buds are? What makes him think everyone else wants to listen to his dumb music?â€
But I donâ€™t care. I donâ€™t care what grievances anyone may have about the musical lad. Because any day, Iâ€™d choose to hear electronic pop, or maybe some smooth jazz, while walking through campus instead of the hate spewed by some man who claims to advocate a religion that is really based in forgiveness.
And he may be â€œhigh as a kite,â€ but that just makes him closer to Jesus, right? At least thatâ€™s what he probably tells the preachers.
Editorial Editor Colleen McSweeney is a junior journalism major. Her column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org