What better gift for that graduating high school senior than The CollegeHumor Guide To College, written by the contributors to the web site CollegeHumor.com? Other, that is, than a Mustang convertible, a 70-inch plasma TV, a new laptop computer...still, it’s probably on the “Top Ten List” of the most requested graduation gifts - somewhere - and, if not, it should be. Crap, I’m plugging this book and not even making a dime off of it. That shows you how much college has helped this reviewer make financial decisions.
Having grown up and gone to college when National Lampoon magazines ruled the prehistoric landscape of college humor, I’m partial to their type of humor (and, ooooooohhhh - their purty pictures). I wouldn’t say that The CollegeHumor Guide To College is as outright LOL (what a contemporary abbreviation) as National Lampoon at its best, but it is pretty humorous. It also offers up some genuine useful advice, such as how to do laundry if you don’t have experience yet doing it, and how to make a “Ham and Cheese Wafflewich” using a toaster. The description of one makes me think they’re likely to be very delicious, and the perfect, easily made comfort food for college kids.
Why give much credence to what an adult (myself) many years (too many) out of college thinks about the college humor of today, as represented by this book? A good question to ask, however rude it might be. Don’t believe me, then - but, I have a son who is a high school senior who read this book before I got my hands on it, and he and his friends really liked it, so I’m fairly confident of my own appraisal, since it is largely in agreement with theirs.
“What’re the subjects mentioned in the book, then? What’re some of the most humorous parts of it?” you may ask. Lord, but you’re the inquisitive sort, aren’t you? The humor often deals with sexual encounters, alcohol consumption, and potential drug usage that students may encounter while attending college. While I’m a parent and disapprove of such irresponsible behavior out-of-hand, and my son has assured me (hopefully, truthfully) that he won’t participate in the behavior that the book describes, I also know that just because certain things might be illegal and potentially harmful to one’s health doesn’t mean that they’re not funny, or that anyone reading it (who has sense) won’t be able to recognize that these things are being written about because they’re funny, and not to encourage irresponsible behavior in anyone. Wheww, that was a long sentence...
The CollegeHumor Guide To College takes a satirical look at many of the aspects of college life that actual, real-life students go through. While the humor is often sophomoric, that’s really the point, now, isn’t it? The sophomore year of college qualifies as one of the years of college, after all. The subjects mentioned and poked fun at run the gamut (I’ve been patiently waiting for just the right opportunity to use this expression in a review, and I’ve finally found it!) from selecting the best fraternities/sororities to pledge to and the inherent hazing and partying involved, in the chapter “Greek Life,” to chapters on “Academics,” “Computers,” “Parties,” “Spring Break,” “Finance,” and “Study Abroad.” There’s even a chapter on “Life Beyond College.”
Each chapter is a veritable cornucopia of humor, though some are, of course, more humorous than others. Wasn’t it Einstein who said “humor is a relative thing”? Likely with the thought, all along, that Knock-Knock jokes were the epitome of jocularity, while the academicians of today realize that: “Puns Rule, Man!” But, that’s an aside. IMHO, the most humorous chapters are on “Alcohol,” “Parties,” “Sex and Dating,” and “Academics”.
In particular, in the later chapter I mentioned, “Understanding Your Professor’s Comments,” is one example of what I considered to be funny. It’s a page-long paper on the “Knights of the Realm: Far From Camelot,” graded and marked up with comments a typical professor of Medieval Studies might make when grading, with interpretations off to the side translated into English, and what they really mean. A few of the translated comments are “Clearly misunderstood what you meant,” “Incorrect correcting,” and “Meaningless query.” The remarks brought back vividly to me similar comments I’d had marked on papers, which caused me to wonder at times “Is this professor on crack, or what?” This was especially odd, since the drug “crack” didn’t exist at that time.
Buy The CollegeHumor Guide To College if you’re looking for that perfect graduation gift, if you enjoy great sophomoric humor, or if you want to fondly relive, albeit vicariously, your own college days. The humor is somewhat uneven, but the advice for college students (the advice that’s real as opposed to satirical) is valuable and could prove helpful. Every chapter has something that should be of interest to every college student, and each one will bring smiles to the face, if not outright laughter.