With the weather warming and the perpetual wave of midterms still washing over everyone, students are exhibiting a new interesting behavior. Some call it grounding, going horizontal, or just vibing. It’s quite an interesting sight. Picture this: Wilson Quad is a pristine yet thin sheet of snow, interrupted by nothing but a singular student in a black puffer jacket. What is he thinking? Why is he there? What is he doing?
I had to know. I walked over for an impromptu interview. He was paying me absolutely no attention, just staring off into space accompanied by nothing but his thoughts and inner monologue. When asked about this, he recalled a popular 2001 film about a green ogre. He said during his most recent viewing, he was inspired by the line “hit the ground running,” saying he tried to follow the lyrical instructions, but was interrupted by a wave of existential dread before he could start running. He hit the ground, only to be met with more Smash Mouth lyrics.
This was making less and less sense to me as he continued to babble on about “his brain getting smart while his head gets dumb?” That seems like a blatant contradiction to me. I was becoming equally scared and concerned, so I walked off as fast as I could without causing him even more concern.
I continued to walk until I found another person. I politely greeted them, to which they responded blankly with, “so much to do, so much to see.” I could not argue with this vague statement — just nodded and tried to keep walking — when a third person ran up to me. With a stern grip and a little shake, they shouted, “The years start coming and they don’t stop coming!”
This third person, unlike the prior two, was shockingly capable of higher order thought. I was able to tease out of them that a new club had unofficially formed on campus. But to me, it sounds far more like a cult. Members cover themselves in mud every Thursday before venturing to the bridge behind Jackson Court. It is here that they worship none other than “Shrek.” Every member must show up with a red flower bearing blue thorns as a symbolic offering. And the best part is they scare away any unwelcome visitors by screaming “GET OUT O’ ME SWAMP!” while growling at them. That has “cult” written all over it.
In my humble opinion, these folks are obviously paralyzed with indecision regarding their future, needing something concrete to cling onto. A classic and very quotable film with teachable moments that’s older than many of the members provides such an anchor in their tumultuous lives. I begged them to expand their palate to the wider Shrek cinematic universe and view any of the other five movies. Or even the recent “Puss in Boots” franchise, as it would at the very least give them even more quotable material. They weren’t buying it and wouldn’t shake their obsession that easily.
Dear readers, if midterms got you down, please watch “Shrek” and consider what can be learned. Maybe the real giant fire breathing dragon was the burning passion for learning inside of you all along. Or maybe you turn into an ogre every night due to the unrelenting nature of problem sets. Regardless, we are nothing if not onions, with layer after layer of complexity. Embrace the jovial nature of Robin Hood and his band of merry men. Just try not to sing at a friendly wildlife and cause it to explode into a ball of feathers before snacking on fresh eggs. Happiness does not necessarily come from a cult; it comes from a sense of community. But it sounds like this “Shrek” cult has a great community, so I encourage you to put down the pitchforks and torches and approach this social venture with an open mind.