Randy Weeks

Published on August 28th, 2018 | by Nature Humphries


The View from the Balcony: The Ten Commandments for Students

Cue up Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife.” The students are back in town.

Whether you’re an incoming freshman or a perennial senior, good advice can always make a difference—if you use it. I have conducted several years of observational research from my vantage point on The Balcony above City Grocery. For the record, I’m not stupid enough to say I’ve seen it all, because just when you say that somebody comes along with a whole new bag.

Utilizing my credentials as a sociologist and a counselor, along with lessons learned from 25+ years of working with students, I have distilled bits of wisdom down to the 600–700 words allocated to me in TLV. Therefore, without any further ado, I now present the Ten Commandments for Students. Ignore them at your own peril.

Commandment #10: Don’t circle The Square (Don’t you love that phrase: circle The Square?) with vile music blasting out of your car’s audio system with your windows or your roof down. There are children around and even some of the adults don’t want to hear the “F-N-B” words bombarding us like Hitler bombed London. Instead, play Creedence, play The Temptations, play Brubeck, play Mozart. Hell, play Mr. Rogers. Just don’t contaminate the bucolic atmosphere with R- and X-Rated reverberations.

Commandment #9: Don’t blow smoke in anyone’s face—unless he or she looks in your eyes and says, “Blow smoke in my face.” And if you borrow a lighter, for goodness’ sake, give it back. I know some lighter-lifters who could finance their college education by selling all the Bics they’ve absconded. (Commandment 9.5 is “Don’t spit on The Balcony floor.” Go to the bathroom. Spit in a cup. I neither want to see nor step in your slimy saliva.)

Commandment #8: Don’t do stuff to hurt someone else’s character. That includes sexting, gossiping, and making up crap for revenge. Be better than that. Remember that once it’s posted it’s out there. There ain’t no going back. And, sadly, the salacious travels at Mach 10. Truth rarely comes from behind to win in the home stretch.

Commandment #7: Look in the mirror before you make your public appearance. Ask yourself if you really want to have your pictures all over Instagram wearing THAT. Cover what’s supposed to be covered. I won’t deny that the view from The Balcony can be interesting, but . . . there’s a difference between clothes that are eye-catching and clothes that lead to rubberneck wrecks. But if you choose to push the limits, at least own it.

Commandment #6: When you know it’s time to quit, quit. Enough means enough and no means no. Don’t ruin your life and especially don’t ruin someone else’s life. And if you see a friend who’s about to victimize or be victimized, stand up and stop it.

Commandment #5: Spend time in the library studying for class. You can spend time in The Library studying anatomy and bar tabs, but if you don’t make the grades Mama and Daddy might take away your credit card and your Bimmer.

Commandment #4: Respect your elders. Most students raised in the South do, even when they’re throwing up in the toilet. Be sure you’re one of those.

Commandment #3: Don’t embarrass your family—ever! You may think it’s funny to rip off your shirt and dance wildly on a Grove table to some of that “F-N-B” music, but, believe me, Mama and Daddy ain’t gonna like it. There goes the credit card and the Bimmer.

Commandment #2: Choose your friends wisely. If every time you’re out with Rufus the Doofus you get busted or come to in the bushes the next morning, you might not want to continue being under the influence of Rufus. That would make you the doofus.

And now for the most important of the commandments (drum roll):

Commandment #1: If you’re sitting in the Southwest corner of The Balcony above City Grocery and I show up, get your sorry butt up and give me the seat. And don’t steal my ottoman—or my lighter, either!

And that’s the view from The Balcony.

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About the Author

Nature Humphries is Editor-in-Chief of The Local Voice. Nature is originally from Vicksburg, Mississippi, but moved to Oxford in 2004 after spending time in the United States Navy. She has also worked in the restaurant industry for many years as a server and a bartender. Nature graduated from Ole Miss in 2007 with a degree in English and Modern Languages.

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