I assume the irony will be lost on no one. But since it is my duty, I will record, once again, for posterity and for the future archaeologists who will no doubt be wondering how our civilization produced such a thing, that The Stranger's annual Back to School issue, written by "experts" whose rap sheets are significantly longer than their college transcripts, is now upon us.
You will note, if you dare flip through it, that there is not one piece in this 44-page pullout designed to help the young students of this city perform well academically in their respective colleges and universities. Regular readers of this waste of pulp will not wonder why. But out of a sense of responsibility, I will inform the historical record: It is because there is not a soul in this asylum for special-education hard cases who knows anything about what it takes to produce a record of academic accomplishment that would prepare one for gainful employment and a happy life. The proof, if proof is actually needed: They all work here.
What, instead, do these drains on society offer up as advice for college students? Lectures on how to do drugs, have abortions, and avoid reading the great works of Western literature. Needless to say, the overlap between this advice and the advice one would give an aspiring food-stamp recipient is considerable. Also needless to say: No one here asked what wise words I would offer a young college student—even though I am, I believe, the only person in the building who has a diploma not purchased over the internet. However, because I can, I will present my advice to you now, dear innocent undergraduates of Seattle, so listen closely: Whether through luck of birth, personal merit, or devious chicanery, you have an opportunity to become someone important and useful to society. I won't tell you exactly what type of important and useful person you must become, but I will tell you that you mustnot waste this chance, else you end up like the burned-out, barbiturate-popping shells of wasted potential who churn out these pages week after week.
To wit: My old nemesis Mr. Savage, who, in addition to overseeing this Back to School embarrassment, in this issue also authors a "Stranger Sex Survey"—a retread of an idea that was bad many years ago, when it first appeared and I first objected to it, and which remains bad to this day. Here is my question, which of course didn't make it into the survey: Why would anyone tell the details of his or her sex life to a bunch of people who are more qualified for sex-offender tracking bracelets than they are for the handling of intimate personal secrets? (Also: What are Otters?)
Another example of what not to become when you grow up: Erica C. Barnett writes an interesting and depressing piece about the knuckleheads who ride fixed-gear bicycles.