School here at the U of I started in September and since day one, we, the good people here at Smile Politely, have encouraged, provoked, and yes, even probed the members of our township to get out there and “get busy” the old fashioned way.

Admirable as our endeavor has been, some of you are not cooperating, and you know who you are, and we know what you do when you think you’re alone, at night, between classes, or on the bus, ick.

Naughty.

Losing it over the holidays here in C-U takes some planning and some sacrifices, but let’s face it: going home to family, regardless of how long it’s been, is wrought with unforeseen peril.  The deteriorating health of an ancient clan member, your desire for shallow, materialistic spoils, or the wafting yuletide aroma of Aunt Flo’s Green-Bean Casserole can’t match up to your first alcohol fueled fumbling fornication—not for a second.

The train station, the bus station, and Little Willard are already starting to burst at the seams. Sure, it’s a cool 25 minutes to O’Hare, but have you ever been to O’Hare? Even during the “slow,” off-season months it’s like a cage full of rabid hamsters fighting over the corpses of their fallen brothers.

Oh, I know your parents are loaded and the time and cost of international travel has become an acceptable portion of your college fund, and seemingly worth your efforts.

Where’s the payoff, really?

For example, if you’re trying to get back to Korea for Mungbean Jelly and Bibimbap, it’s $1,475 round trip and takes almost 14 hours from Chicago. To get to Sydney for a little Meat Pie and Hasselbeck Potatoes, it’s more than 20 hours and anywhere from $2,400 to $4,000. If you’re trying to make it back to the Czech Republic for Vanocka and Fried Carp, a flight to Brno will set you back 30 hours and $5,600.

Hmmm… Food for thought. (heh-heh)

Staying closer to home, you say?

To get your Glazed Ham and Cornchowder in Des Moine you’ll spend about an hour in the air and it’ll cost between $300-$500. If you book NOW, you might get this rate or close for the general Midwest region. For Smoked Salmon Steaks and Clam Chowder you’ll need a seat to Seattle-Tacoma airport, which will run you $500-$700 and about three hours of your life. The same distance within the continental US to JFK, LAX or MIA will cost you about the same, but all will eventually make you wonder WTF.

Here, add these up:

Delays

+ Weather

+ Crying Babies

+ Bad Movies

+ More Delays

Divide that by Abhorrent Body Odor

+ Bad Food

+ Layovers

+ Cancellations.

= Hell.

All the Ambien, Zoloft, and Zanax in the world can’t knock you out for all of this. Eventually you’re going to have to wake up and smell the humanity.

So, consider the alternative…

…stay here.

Spend all the time and money listed above to prepare a nice home cooked meal with friends, invite the object of your affection, download a movie that you actually want to see, get your honored defloweree sufficiently lubricated, and hope for a little consensual mistletoe magic. This should cost about half of what you expected to spend, and I have a suggestion for the other half.

Some folks think Thanksgiving and Christmas are a “stressful” time—so much rushing around and buying and spending and giving and getting…

Really?

One year in my hometown, 20 homeless people DIED OF EXPOSURE before we hit Halloween. They were literally left out in the cold—to die.

Take the other half of that money you didn’t spend, and with a satisfied smile on your face, walk out the next morning, and visit one of the many sites for The Social Services for the Homeless here in C-U. You say you blew your whole wad on dinner and drinks? 

Volunteer.

You missed the trip back home and you've nothing to do, anyway. I can damn near guarantee that there’s somebody out there this time of year that could use a coat, a blanket, or a portion of your time. I further guarantee that it will make them a little more comfortable, warm your insides, and make your family back home proud.

Humpy Holidays!