Professor of Chemistry Enrique Peacock-Lopez is normally stern about his students turning up late for his 8 a.m. lecture. But last Friday, he made an exception when a student walked in two minutes late for his class. It’s not everyday that somebody walks into your lecture wearing a purple cow costume. In fact, I have a feeling that for the first time ever, he was rather pleased to see me. And in case you are wondering why I was late, well, it takes longer to put on the costume than you might think.
Now, why was I wearing the costume in the first place? No, I am not the college mascot; no, I do not get paid for it; no, I am not hiding from Campus Safety and Security; and most importantly, I am not doing it to be hugged by girls on campus (that’s just one of the perks of the job). If you have already asked me why I was wearing the purple cow costume, I have probably told you: “This is the first of a series of social experiments funded by the Psychiatric Organization of Objective Psychoanalysis (POOP) to assess the immediate response of the human mind on exposure to the unexpected.” Well, in truth, I was working on this story for the Record, on my experience of wearing the cow suit all day.
Now wearing a cow costume all day is no easy task, especially if this is just your second week of college. Remember the girl you had a crush on, who sits in the second row of your English class? Well, “CRAAASH!” would be a good way to describe the prospect of that relationship. To add injury to insult, tripping over Paresky’s steps thanks to your 20-degree range of vision could definitely earn you a trip to the Health Center. And never mind the jokes of the upperclassmen: “MOOOOve it,” or “Do you get any MOOOney for this?” Spending all of a mild 70-degree day in steaming body armor was definitely no help either. So to all those mascots out there, past, present and future, know this: I understand your noble sacrifice for the sake of the greater community. The next time any of you see a mascot, just walk up to him and give him a hug. It’s the least you can do.
Despite the obvious inconveniences of wearing the costume all day, I must admit, the entire day was rather remarkable. If you are an attention seeker and love to be noticed, here is a job that you will not find on Monster or Craigslist: that of a college mascot! I admit that all the photos and the eyes following me at the lunch table did make me feel special. When I simply walked casually into class, most people’s reaction was one of a momentary bafflement, often followed by a short nervous laugh. Hats off to all my professors, especially Peacock-Lopez, Professor of Mathematics Susan Loepp and Amos Lawrence Professor of Art Eugene Johnson, for being so considerate. But it was interesting to see how a mere costume can set the entire campus spirit alive. Finally, the excuse of crew practice helped me get out of the costume and stretch my legs for a few hours, and being the good procrastinator that I am, I ended up excusing myself from wearing the costume for the rest of the day.
As it turns out, no one on campus has a fetish for purple cow suits, but I am not one to complain. Was this a wonderful experience? Yes. Would I do it again? Well, no. But the answer is more complex than that. Experiences like this are best described as a SnapChat photo: You only get to see it once, and once you have enjoyed it, it disappears somewhere into the recesses of space-time. So every time you look back, you remember that trophy, each time a little bigger, a little shinier. To see the school spirit ripple around me, even if it was just for a single day, was no small accomplishment. What started off as a trip to the Record meeting at Paresky for free pizza actually ended up being quite a rewarding experience. Halfway through my second week in college, I had the opportunity to see the real meaning of the words “We are Williams.”