Welcome to Chico, whatever you’re called
Before I get too far into my writing this week, I want to take a moment to welcome all of our incoming freshmen. Congratulations on picking a swell institution like Chico State. I think you’ll have a grand time. For most of you, this is the beginning of a new life without your parents at your side and —
What’s that you say? I can’t call them freshmen? Oh yeah, there are women starting this year too. Yeah, I agree, we need to include as many people as we can.
Well, we could call them “freshpeople.” It sounds clunky and long, but people could get used to it.
Then again, what about the rest of us? Does that make us “stalepeople?” Let’s leave that one on the cutting-room floor.
Let’s grab The Orion’s official title. That should be simple and well thought-out and I can finally get to writing my article.
“First-year students?” No, seriously, I wanted what they came up with — but that’s it? You mean to tell me I could have been in college without those other 13 years of school? I need to call my brother and get my niece over here to save him a few bucks on preschool.
I can’t work with such a vague word. Maybe the Merriam-Webster thesaurus can give me a few ideas.
A tip for you unnamed newcomers to college: The first half of alphabetical lists always suck. Lazy people skim off the top. I know this from personal experience. With that in mind, let’s move to the “P” section. How about “probationer?” That might have worked if it didn’t have that “Shawshank Redemption” meets “Ernest Goes to Jail” feel.
“Tenderfoot?” Nah, sounds too “Land Before Time”-ish. I guess I’ll have to randomly pick a different word and the new term is: “greenhorn.” Sounds like that STD you’d pick up after a long night around Fifth and Ivy.
How much do they pay these people? I can do better than that.
This is their first time in college, so how about “virgins?” No, wait, I can’t see the screen through the tears of laughter. Also, I think the Phi Kappa Tau flashbacks for Chico State President Paul Zingg might not be good for his blood pressure.
Wait a second. Zingg. He’s a big sports fan. “Rookies.” It’s brilliant. Then again, that’s too close to the professional soccer team in town, the Rooks. We don’t want them to think we’re stealing their market like baseball’s “Anaheim Angels” becoming the “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.”
Anaheim rhymes with “prime,” so maybe that could work. If I expand on “prime” I’d get “primary,” but that sounds too kiddy. I’ll stick with “prime” because now we can call the best of the “primes” the “Optimum Prime.” That reminds me, I need to see if the shop has transformed my Ford Tempo into a working car.
Now that I’m fresh out of ideas, the only way to resolve this is with prefixes. If we simply call them “pre-sophomores,” then it makes perfect sense. Take something that already works, change its clothes and call it new.
So there you have it. Welcome to Chico State all you “pre-sophomores.” Keep your parties tame because everyone will be watching you.
And your big lesson for the week is don’t get lost in semantics and playing with words. You’ll lose an entire column that way.