Written by Stanley Greenberg Friday, 28 September 2012 00:00
I was a freshman at CCNY (City College of New York). I had just graduated from high school and was 16-and-a-half years old. Honestly, I was not very worldly and my education was vastly underwhelming in both social aspects and in the knowledge department. However, I had been accepted to this great learning academy and I was determined to do my best.
Lunchtime at CCNY turned out to be an experience I had to conquer. I took my brown bag lunch that my mother had prepared for me, with its obvious oil stain on the outside. I was about to enter the lunchroom at the college.
As I opened the door, a whole cacophony of sounds emerged as I peeked sheepishly into the huge eating hall. A symphony of guitars and bongo drums almost split my ears. Students were dancing atop the lunch tables and everyone seemed quite happy and comfortable with the spectacle that I observed. Only I was frightened and somewhat terrified by the fact that everyone in the room was relaxed and contented at the proceedings.
I immediately closed the doors and sought a quiet place in the park where I could devour my tuna fish sandwich in peace. I vowed never to enter that insane asylum again.
Three years later, during my senior year, I became one of those bad actors in the lunchroom. I never danced on the tables and my musical abilities were slight, so I never picked up a guitar. But in the last three years, I had developed a series of friends and acquaintances that I could meet in the lunchroom and feel quite comfortable with. I also think that I had matured along the way. Even the girls paid attention to me.
Why am I dredging up this experience and writing about it at this time? I have grandchildren who are taking the SATs and will soon be entering schools of higher learning. Maybe my story will be of comfort to them.