Dec 042006
Authors: Geoff Johnson

I’m graduating from this place in a little more than two weeks, and it’s anti-climactic as all hell.

Do you remember graduating from high school? You could feel it coming – no?

Your teachers let you mess around more, didn’t expect quite as much from you right at the end. I had so much time to, ahem, mess around at the end of high school that I don’t really remember it. Ahem.

Now, though, as college works its way out of my system, I have a steady stream of work until the middle of next week. Then I walk two days later, and it’s over.

With the end of my college career comes no need for an “ahem”.

But it’s not so bad. A large part of my college career has been coughs intended to muffle what I’m talking about.

Take this last January, for instance. This was when I lived in Old Town Fort Collins. I’d spent the evening at the local watering holes enjoying my friends and their delightful company – and some, ahem, beverages.

Upon my return home, my roommates and I continued, ahem, consuming beverages – including Ouzo, a licorice-flavored Greek beverage often thought of as celebratory.

Knowing that smashing plates is also something of a Greek celebratory tradition, I said to my roommates, ahem, “We should go outside and smash some plates.”

They said, “Uh. OK.”

And we did. We’d each supplied a half-dozen plates for the house, and we each took a couple of our own outside and smashed them on the ground – yelling “Opah!” with each one.

It was amazing. Smashing plates was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done.

Smashing plates was so fun, in fact, that we did it again. And again. On the third time, however, something went awry.

I was standing in the parking lot with my roommate, Justin – each of us with two plates in hand and arms raised and ready to, ahem, gleefully destroy – when a police car pulled up.

Later on, Justin would tell me that when I noticed the police car, I tried – in vain – to hide the plates behind my right thigh.

As the officer jumped out of his car and rapidly advanced on me, I heard him call for help. I am not even kidding you – “I’m gonna need backup,” he said into his radio. “We’ve got plate crashers.”

I took a certain amount of, ahem, satisfaction in the fact that upon seeing me, the officer felt he needed a friend.

To me, he said, “You guys crashin’ plates?!”

“Crashing” plates? Who is this guy, I thought. Did he think we were holding one plate in each hand and running them into one another?

Not wanting to anger him by lying, I said, “Uh. yeah.”

He said, “Why on earth were you crashin’ plates?!”

“Well actually, it’s a Greek tradition to smash plates in times of celebration,” I said, gesturing toward Justin. “It happens to be my roommate’s birthday.”

The officer said to Justin, “Didn’t I take you out of a bar for fighting last month?”

Justin said, “No.” And he wasn’t lying. He hadn’t been fighting at bars.

The officer was sure, though, and made Justin get his ID out.

It had been probably twenty minutes, and the backup hadn’t arrived, when the police officer left, making us promise we’d sweep the big chunks of plate out of the street.

What did I learn? I learned it’s best to not, ahem, destroy dishware at three in the morning with elderly neighbors who, apparently, ahem, sleep with their windows open in January.

Goodbye, CSU.

Geoff Johnson is graduating with a degree in English. He is not even 1 percent Greek, but he’s all about getting multicultural. Replies and feedback can be sent to

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