Thursday, May 29, 2014


            In theory, it is such a simple concept, but in practice in can be overwhelmingly difficult.  Friendship is a shared experience—a relationship tied to the coincidence of time, space, and circumstance.  Making a new friend is perhaps the most wonderful feeling a person can have, yet maintaining a friendship can be extremely burdensome.
            I hate to admit that I’ve heard the words, “keep in touch,” far more often than I’ve contacted the people who have said them.  There are so many individuals whom I once called my friends that I’d never think to call or text.  It is so easy to take a friend for granted when you see them all the time.  I went to school with the same kids from kindergarten to eighth grade—almost half my life.  These days, I hardly ever see any of them.  We all went to different high schools, which made spending time together increasingly difficult, and now many of us are living across the country for most of the year.
In the case of many of my childhood friends, physical distance has weakened our communication.  Yet, every time I come back to Baltimore, it seems like yesterday we were playing football outside Krieger Schechter.  Some friendships really do stand the test of time and space.
            I haven’t been so lucky, however, with all of my former relationships.  For many of them, the damage done seems almost irreparable.  Changing priorities, foolish decisions, and petty arguments have turned many people whom I once considered my dearest friends into people whom I struggle to get along with, or hardly speak to at all.
There’s a girl I used to play Scrabble with.  Another I used to sit next to in Spanish class.  There’s a guy who was almost my roommate sophomore year.  Another who I ate lunch with for almost 10 years.  I ruined all these friendships.  I was either selfish, or impatient, or judgmental, or jealous.  At this point, it might be too late to save my relationships with them.  It’s depressing to think that people whose company I used to enjoy so immensely are hardly even a part of my life anymore.

In the end, it takes hard work and compromise to preserve a true friendship.  Sometimes, you have to sacrifice your own priorities to ensure that a friendship survives.  So, my advice for tonight is to call up an old friend, one forgotten and distant, and remind them that you exist.  Sometimes that’s all it takes.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Yik Yak…Yuk

            When you think about it, finals was the perfect time for Yik Yak to catch on.  Now we can all slander each other from our cubicles in the stacks, taking out our anger at both finals, as well as the disgusting social culture at this school.  If you don’t know what Yik Yak is, you will soon enough.  The incredibly simple app uses a character limit and an up-vote/down-vote system to broadcast anonymous statements to the local community.  The result is egregiously offensive content, including countless personal and institutional attacks.
            As amusing as calling girls “slutty” and fraternities “gay” may be to the selfish pricks who are currently dominating the Yik Yak leaderboards, statements like these can be devastating to the individuals being targeted.  While I am sure that many will argue that these individuals deserved or earned the jokes made at their expense, I am here to tell you that is bullshit.  There is absolutely nothing funny about anonymous hatred.
            This social emergency is remarkably similar to the one that occurred my senior year, with High School Menes.  It is all too easy to underestimate the power of the pen, especially when there is no name attached to the ink.  What people fail to realize is that one stupid Yik Yak at the expense of an individual will likely cause a lot more hurt on their end than joy on the author’s.
            We all go to a top-20 school, yet, we act like imbeciles when faced with new technology.  Not often enough do we take a moment to think before we act.  Admittedly, I played around with Yik Yak pretty extensively before I decided to write this piece.  My hope was that the banter would move toward real issues.  The comments about cigarettes outside, and study drugs inside the library are topics that I would gladly address on this blog, because they are interesting and relevant to the wider student body.  This app has the infrastructure to unite like-minded individuals on broader issues.
            Not surprisingly, however, Yik Yak has devolved into a garbage heap of hurtful jabs and cheap laughs.  Emory has proved, once again, that it is composed of selfish, entitled jerks.  At the very least, the participants in this forum have proved that they are of this breed.

            The two most popular Yik Yak’s currently, with 159 and 117 up-votes apiece, address the masculinity of ATO’s hell week and Emory’s Long Island community, respectively.  While I’m sure that someone could make an argument that those are Emory’s two most pressing issues, I’d like to think that we could do better.  So, for what feels like the hundredth time, I urge you to put down your phones, mind your own business, and if you really have something to say, put your name on it.  Yik Yak is a waste of time—might as well get back to studying.