Column: Future freshmen will call me Mister Mizzou

I'm going to be a Summer Welcome leader this summer. Hopefully the university is prepared for the mass exodus of incoming freshmen who suddenly announce they will not be attending college this fall. Forget putting the fox in charge of the henhouse, this is as bad as putting Michael Jackson in charge of your kids!

Who better than me to make future freshmen and their parents feel comfortable coming to Mizzou? I've got charm, I've got grace and I'm oozing enthusiastic sincerity. When freshmen want to know what the party scene is like here, I'll wait until their parents are gone before I start to answer their questions. If a parent asks me if MU is really a dry campus, I might be able to keep on a straight face.

I've already begun extensive training to be the best Summer Welcome leader I can possibly be. For example, I've been walking backward across campus for days now. So far, about 10 cars and three buildings have almost hit me. It's going to be a long summer for my insurance company.

Me (walking backward and talking forward): "MU is a pedestrian campus, which means that students have the right-of-way when they are walking across the street. Observe how this car idles its engine to let me by as we cross the road."

Car: Wham!

Me: "This will be a great opportunity to show you all the new location of the Student Health Center."

Naturally being a Summer Welcome leader requires that I know loads of random MU trivia. For instance, Thomas Jefferson established the University of Missouri in 1839 after Francis Quadrangle accidentally bronzed him onto a bench.

Also, if students kiss the Kenneth Lay portrait in Lowry Hall before an exam they will receive good luck on the test and lose all of their life savings. Whenever I tell people I'm in Summer Welcome they look at me like I've joined some sort of weird cult. OK, so it's a really peppy and excited cult, but weird? Just because you chant "big booty" a couple hundred times a day while walking backward, people assume the worst. P.S., singing "big booty" as you stroll through a maternity ward full of women with severe hormonal imbalances is not a good idea.

I've been practicing my skills at initiating conversations with people. I know how important icebreakers are, and I think I've developed the best icebreaker since the Titanic set sail.

While the other person is talking, I begin to repeat everything they say back to them, all while shaking my head. See, it's important to be enthusiastic about what people are saying. Here's a demonstration of superior people skills in action:

Kid: "Yeah so then my pet platypus died ..."

Me: "Yeah, so then my pet platypus died! Whoo! That's awesome man. Dead platypuses rock!"

I recognize the enormous power I have been granted. I'm going to be one of the first people incoming freshmen meet. I'll be the guy their parents think is obsessed with big booties. When people feel a moment's hesitation about coming to MU, I'll be one of the reasons they end up a Jayhawk.

As long as future freshmen don't get lost down a dark alley called Crack Street, I'll be happy with a job well done.

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