Chaos in Print: The Further Adventures of the Scarecrow: Observations, Angst, and Jell-O

…I often wish aloud that people would submit stimulating articles rather than mindless ketchup musings and misplaced angst not so cleverly disguised as (supposedly) witty rants.

-Phil Penrod’s views of The Dag, from his column in the last issue

Greetings, y’all! ‘Tis I, the Scarecrow, “ranting” to you once again! You know, after reading the good Mr. Penrod’s column in the last issue, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit guilty. Face it, when it comes to “misplaced angst,” my column has got to be one of the biggest instigators. But hey, that angst has to go somewhere, right? “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed from one form to another,” so I turn my angst energy into creative energy, but sometimes it still comes across as angst energy. So, to Mr. Penrod and those of his ilk, I suggest you quit reading now, and take the latest sex test. And for the rest of you, get ready for some serious angst!

If you want to be stimulated, what you have to do is go to the cafeteria at lunch time I’m sure we all can agree that one of the biggest congregation areas of the entire campus has got to be the cafeteria. Everyone who lives on campus meets there at least once day to consume mass quantities. If you want to be stimulated, what you have to do is go to the cafeteria at lunch time, get one of the healthy, nutritious meals they serve, and just sit and talk with your friends. It’s surprising what kind of conversation will pop up. For example, one day one of my friends and myself had a very lengthy debate about MicroSoft’s current legal battles and the process involved in copyrighting software. Just a few days ago, that same friend and I (and a few others) had a lengthy discussion about sexual world records that we saw on The Jerry Springer Show. While this is stimulating (in more ways than one), one of the most fascinating things you can do is just off at the sides, by yourself, and just watch everyone.

I have learned more things in my short life just by watching people than what I have learned in my accumulated hours of class time. And the best place to watch, definitely, is the cafeteria. Just scan the room. In the line-up, you’ll see cliques of friends, already gathered in a huge group, so huge that they block the way and often forget to notice that the line is advancing without them. These people are so wrapped up in their discussion, that they refuse to acknowledge the outside world. Then, there are those who have just gotten out of class, and cut right to the front of the line. These people look out for #1, and follow their hearts. Then, you have the tables. The profs always sit by themselves. Small cliques pick a table by the windows. Large cliques pick a large table. Crazed loners and shy freshmen sit way over by the line. And of course, there is always that one person desperate for action who arranges it so that they will be the only person of their gender at a large table filled completely with people of the opposite gender.

But now, you move on to how people view their food. I have seen a few people who have taken great delight in taking all their leftovers, and mushing them together into one delightful mess. This normally happens at a lull in the conversation. Then there is this one woman I always see. She (name withheld to protect the innocent [although no one is truly innocent {and the penalty for innocense is death}]) always takes a banana. But, before she peels the banana, she stares at it, strokes it, and gets this look on her face like she’s longing for something in her life. Now, this may just be my virgin ways, but am I missing something here?

Now, trying to bring this back to me, I feel I must explain that, when you are watching me, there is one thing I feel I must explain. For you see, there is something I discovered in the cafeteria that brings me great joy, yet people look at me scornfully when I do it. This one act, which many find disgusting, is actually one of the simplest joys there is in life. Of course, I am talking about fondling Jell-o. I just get a tingle of electricity all over my body when I see that the cafeteria is serving Jell-o, for I know I am about to have a most eventful lunchtime.

I just get a tingle of electricity all over my body when I see that the cafeteria is serving Jell-o, for I know I am about to have a most eventful lunchtime. It doesn’t matter what flavor you use, for they all feel the same. With the Jell-o on your plate, just take a moment to take it in. That slight jiggle, as everyone else who is arriving (or leaving) your table causes motion in the colored substance. The color in the sunlight. The way the sunlight bounces off it. Lean in close, and take in the scent. Yes, Jell-o does indeed have a scent. If you did get some other food to have for lunch, now is the time to eat it. It builds anticipation, you see, and that is half the fun.
Now, with lunch completed, it is time to get onto the actual act of fondling your Jell-o. Most importantly, you must resist the urge to squish the Jell-o. That just gets too messy, and is the subject of another column. First, run your finger along the top of the Jell-o. Take in the texture. At this time, the Jell-o will have warmed up slightly, and you feel the slight dampness of it. Then, put your thumb and forefinger on each side of the Jell-o cube. Gently squeeze the Jell-o, until you near its breaking point, and then release the pressure. Repeat this several times, but don’t do it quick. Take your time. Enjoy it. Also, feel free to experiment. Use the palm of your hand to squeeze it in a downwards motion, if you prefer. At this point, if you are feeling adventurous, you can pick up the Jell-o. Roll it around in your hands, always being careful not to break the cube shape. And then, put the cube down. You will find that this has been a most pleasurable and relaxing experience. Oh, and if your hands were clean when you started this exercise, then feel free to now eat the Jell-o.

My friends have a lot of different views on this little quirk of mine. Most look upon me with tolerance and even chuckle a bit. There are those who have even tried it a bit. But, unfortunately, there are those who just feel they have to squish the Jell-o. What can I say? Some like it rough, while I prefer to be gentle and caressing. So, now that you have hopefully tried this, I hope you won’t be looking at me with that funny look on your face when you see me doing this in the cafeteria. Remember what I said at the start of this column, about converting energy into other forms? Looking back on this, I wonder if I’m directing towards Jell-o what I should be directing elsewhere. Naaaaah, I couldn’t be. If anything, I’d say this column has been a departure for me. Be sure to tune in next month, when I share what I’ve observed about people in the shower, and share try to explain the joys of deep cleaning your belly button. Goodnight, everybody!

Don’t forget, if you didn’t like this column, then you’ll hate my show Chaos in a Box with the Scarecrow, Wednesdays at 10 on Augustana Interactive Radio, 89.1 FM. And check out my website:

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