Warning: no student is safe from NU's treacherous sidewalks
    The author, looking much less like Michelle Kwan these days. Photo by Julie Beck / North by Northwestern

    Of the many indignities of winter, the constant fear of slipping is certainly the worst. (Or so I thought until last week, when I was walking down a treacherously slick Annenberg staircase and the boy behind me lost control, grabbed the railing, and swung his foot directly into my butt.) That wins, but next on the list is definitely the perilous walking conditions.

    Hailing from the great frozen state of Minnesota, I am not only “made of snow,” according to one friend, but I also possess what I call ice-legs, the Northern equivalent of a pirate’s sea-legs, but for walking on ice instead of at sea. I used to brag about this all the time last year when all the sidewalks become no longer sidewalks but side-slip-on-your-faces. As my friends from Miami and Memphis scrambled for balance, waving their windbreaker clad arms around wildly like wounded turkeys, I skated over the slick cement like Michelle freakin’ Kwan.

    “Ha! The city ran out of salt? Pshht, can’t get me, suckahs!” I shouted, raising a fist in victory as I sped past a group conquering Sheridan on their hands and knees. (Seriously. I actually witnessed this.)

    So, when this year’s first ice storm added to our campus’s promised picturesque beauty with a glistening coat of ice, I ventured out confidently, smug grin intact. “Careful, it’s slippery,” I warned three girls crossing Clark St., who proceeded to topple in sweet, rapid succession like they were paying homage to BK in some satanic ritual.

    I was still holding back giggles at Church and Orrington when, all of a sudden, my legs were no longer walking, but instead doing a painful attempt at the splits, tearing at least three muscles I haven’t used since I failed the sit and reach test in seventh grade, and throwing me face first onto the cement. “Ha, ha, har,” chortled a shady figure from underneath Radioshack’s dark awning. A shady, homeless figure, who was now pointing and laughing at me. “You betta wajjjchit, girrrrrrrrl,” he crooned as I was attempting to recover my purse, my dignity and an upright position. Unfortunately, one of these was irretrievably lost, and I bet you can guess which. If you see some dignity lying around in a snow bank or slush puddle near Radioshack, please return it to its beleaguered owner (namely, me.)

    So, this is my formal apology to all the Southerners, Southern Californians, and that one kid from Mexico. Sorry for laughing when you slip in front of me on the way to class, sorry for making fun of your flimsy windbreakers and uncovered ears, sorry for betting you $20 you couldn’t go outside in your boxers in January. I hope your nipples weren’t permanently damaged. Because it turns out that just because I’m from Minnesota, I am not invincible to the unspeakable horrors of winter. (I still say “bag” funny though.)

    My point is, despite our divergent origins and diverse levels of ice-tackling ability, we must unite in the battle against slick sidewalks, at least until winter ends. Then we can return to deriding each other’s climates.

    There are many solutions to the slippery problem of ice. For example, garlic salt. A small town in Iowa used nine tons of it to effectively de-ice their streets. So why don’t we? Perhaps the fragrant scent would pique my appetite enough to actually enjoy Sargent’s slop. It’s worth a shot, I say!

    If not, Washington keeps their streets un-slick by mixing de-sugared molasses with saltwater and spreading the stuff everywhere. Easy to see how they came up with that combination; I too regularly mix salt and molasses into my water, then conveniently spill it on the frozen cement in front of me and realize its potential abilities as a de-icer. It happens often, actually. And if that still fails, I’ve always wanted to harness the power of freshmen into a 24 hour dogsled froshsled that runs like Saferide but at all hours of the day.

    The best solution, though, comes from right here in Illinois, in the town of Pingree Grove. They’ve been using a soy sauce scented fluid on their streets that is a by-product of rum-making. Pinky, are you thinking what I’m thinking?

    Yes, yes indeed. Since no one really likes the Kellogg students anyways, with their suits and briefcases and looks of superior contempt as we scurry to collect our precious $5 at Kellogg Study 139258, we’ll kick the whole school out entirely and replace it with a rum-making factory. Every student will work for a few hours a week chopping sugar cane and stoking the distillation fires or doing god knows what you do in a rum factory, and in return, we’ll receive weekly rations of rum and of course, ice-free sidewalks. It might not be as good as having real ice-legs, but it will be pretty pirate-like, with the rum and all. It might even bring Northwestern the unity and cohesiveness that ASG and oNe Northwestern are working for so hard at this very moment. After all, it is Winter Quarter, so if we are going to be getting out of our collective beds at all in the upcoming months, you know we’ll need the support.


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