Finding a partner in chip-rack crime

Ryan Wenzel

As I look back on my first two years of college, I’m beginning to realize just how many friends I’ve gone through. I’ve never been a social elitist (I was a prototypical loser in high school), but I’ve lost contact with at least six or eight people whom I once thought of as “friends for life.”

Making friends and developing a healthy social life is a priority for most college students, especially freshmen. But it’s impossible to be friends with all of the 8,000 undergraduates we have the potential to meet. How do we know when we’ve found someone worth holding on to?

I think I finally have figured out the rule – hang out with people who make you laugh hard in unlikely situations. This advice probably sounds cliche, like something you’d see on an inspirational poster hanging in a counseling office. But all of my college friends who have survived the two-month mark have been able to make me laugh uncontrollably at some point.

Allow me to explain. My friend Lindsay, who happens to be a former PLAY editor, joined me in the food court of Norris University Center one night last Spring Quarter. There was little to talk about, so I turned the conversation to, of all things, a rack of chips on the sandwich counter. I humorously suggested stealing the rack to remedy the growing problem of snack organization in my dorm room. (“Guys, the chip situation is really getting out of control,” Lindsay joked) This shouldn’t have been funny, but we couldn’t stop laughing. Neither of us could breathe.

Something similar happened at Kafein a few weeks later with my friend Beth, a former Daily news editor. While pouring sugar into her coffee, she began energetically singing the words “Sugar in the Raw” to the tune of “Turkey in the Straw.” After I started laughing convulsively, Beth casually remarked that she has been doing this since childhood. Beth is studying abroad in Berlin this quarter, and I won’t be able to see her until next school year, since my Teaching Media internship is in the winter and hers is in the spring. Considering my many failed friendships, you would assume my relationship with Beth eventually would fizzle out. But I know it won’t. Whenever I need a “Beth fix” between our e-mails, I remember her seemingly impromptu sugar song and I smile.

You probably think my friends and I are stupid, and that’s OK. But these two incidents illustrate two points – first, that most of my friends are from The Daily, but more importantly, that being able to find humor in the most unlikely situations is a sign of a lasting friendship.

The jokes themselves don’t matter, but the friendships last forever. Find your own “chip rack” – and, more importantly, a lasting friend. 4

Medill junior Ryan Wenzel is the PLAY editor. He can be reached at [email protected]