I Wrote One of The World’s First (and Worst) Viral Posts

by ParentCo. November 24, 2016

two beautiful women laughing

I started my freshman year of college in 1997, when social media was not even a glimmer in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye. Many of us set up our first e-mail address at freshman orientation, and our inboxes were primarily filled with chain letters wishing “Good Luck on Your Midterms” from a frog constructed of type characters. That was about as good as a “viral email” got back then.

But that didn’t stop me from taking a stab at a new kind of viral post – and it was awful.

One night in the first semester of freshman year, my friend and I decided to pen an ode to our current circumstances. It was not clever or insightful or well written, but we fancied ourselves Kurt Vonnegut by the time this thing went live. We sent that email out to all our friends in other dorms who sent it to their friends at Towson and Northwestern and University of Tampa. Months later, it would come back into our inboxes with a few edits and additions that people added along the way.

Dozens of versions evolved over time, but all stayed true to the founding principles of partying, promiscuity, and platform heels.

Eventually we forgot about it until our senior year when we saw a revised version pinned to a younger student’s wall. We had left our legacy, and it was time to move on to our 20s and 30s, work and marriage and motherhood, being thankful all the while that no one had camera phones in the ’90s.

But our torrid “poem” lived on. It would find rebirth over the years in various incarnations. Some claimed the legend began anonymously at a mid-western college newspaper. Was it a cry for help? That’s certainly what a number of Christian Web sites claim now, suggesting that the writer needed to find Jesus.

I don’t know that I needed Jesus, but I could have used a strong dose of self-esteem and better attendance in English 101.

The following is the version I’ve most recently stumbled upon, annotated with what I am aware of writing and what was likely added by other brilliant young minds.

I am a female freshman.

I live in a 2 ft. by 2 ft. prison cell.

My roommate has sex when I am in the room. (I’m not sure I wrote this line, but it’s possible.)

I’ve gained 15 pounds or more since August. (Same here.)

I got more ass in the first 2 weeks of college than ever before.

I now get less ass than ever before. (I am weirdly and acutely aware of writing these lines, but I have no idea what they were supposed to mean. Had we used up all the ass?)

I drink Beast from a keg and Nattie Light from a can. (Wrote that for sure.)

I pretend to believe frat guys even though I know they suck…(I did not write that. I know this because I genuinely loved them and yearned for their approval.)

I just want some ass. (Again with the “ass.” I did not write that.)

I wear a pea coat, tight black bootie pants, tank tops, and platforms. (I absolutely wrote this. Now tell me how you could read this and think it was written post-1997?)

I have a 2.1 GPA. (Probably didn’t write that – I was too good of a bullshitter to go below a 3.0.)

I walk in the dark, cold rain for a beer, but I won’t walk to classes in the same weather. (Definitely wrote that.)

I never make my 8:00 class. (I never scheduled one either.)

I am a female freshman.

I have been molested on the dance floor. (Mr. Trump, was that you?)

I have hooked up with all the guys in my dorm.

I have mono. (My friend who wrote this with me did catch mono.)

I don’t sleep, except through classes.

I survive on power naps.

I am a female freshman.

I drink more vodka than water. (We thought that line was super witty.)

My new best friend is the toilet. (That one, too.)

I black out for extended lengths of time.

I don’t know if I actually wrote any of this closing segment. I have the original version printed out in a box of mementos at my parents’ house, but they are in Florida until spring, so we’ll just have to wait to confirm after Passover.

I am a female freshman.

I’ve learned what it means to re-wear clothes until they are so dirty they are stiff.

I’m familiar with the vague embarrassed feeling the morning after a night of complete unadulterated drunkenness.

I am a female freshman.

I promised myself that I will work off that large pizza I ate last night…

Tomorrow, maybe…

I’ve learned, to my dismay, that college boys are the same as high school boys…a year or two older.

I am a female freshman.

And there we have it. A lasting testament to a time that no longer exists because no one wears pea coats anymore and college dorm rooms look like this now.

Apart from that, I don’t know if any of this is still reflective of a typical female freshman experience. I certainly hope not. Because it sounds terrible. And yet I somehow recall college as some of the best years of my life. Years I spent wearing a tube top and taking Ecstasy in Cancun and writing dumb shit like this. It was mindless and frivolous and naïve, because the most important thing going on in the world was the stain on Monica Lewinsky’s dress. And my parents couldn’t FaceTime me.

I sincerely hope this is not a female freshman, nor will it ever be again. It’s hard to imagine that in 2016 the brightest of our young women would behave this way – that this bizarre piece of prose would hold any meaning in their lives. I hope we are raising our girls to be stronger, more secure, more enlightened, and bold. We must be.

My friend and I came out just fine, and this will not be our “greatest legacy.” This legend is true, but it is a relic. Let’s put it to bed, fully clothed, in flat shoes, and below the legal alcohol limit.

Because my daughter will one day be a female freshman – and she better not forward me this.



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