Murphy’s Law – Big man on campus

Joel Murphy

Joel Murphy

I know you must think I have it all – good looks, a winning personality and a beloved four-year-old pop culture website. But friends, while all of those things are indeed pretty sweet, my life is still incomplete. You see, there is one piece of the puzzle that is keeping me from being perfect; one final hurdle I must leap over before I can truly be a great man.

I must get my bachelor’s degree.

Yes, friends, that is my secret shame. After getting my associate’s degree from one of the finest community colleges the state of Maryland has to offer, I decided to do the rest of my learning in the school of hard knocks. That served me well, but part of me has always wanted to return to higher education to get my bachelor’s degree, especially since the wise Thorton Mellon once said, “I don’t care how rich and successful a man is – he’s nothing without an education.”

So this year I decided to just go for it. I am officially enrolled in college once again and am just two short years away from getting that elusive bachelor’s degree. Now, while I am incredibly excited to be entering into a classroom once again, there is one downside to this whole effort – I’m old.

I’m 28.

Now, I realize that in the grand scheme of life, that’s not very old, but it means that I am officially a decade older than the average freshmen. I’m going to school with kids who were born in the 90s. That’s right – they completely missed out on the 80s. They probably think these Transformers and G.I. Joe remakes are original ideas (and that Michael Bay is some kind of innovative genius for creating robots that turn into cars).

It’s going to be tough for me to relate to these kids. How do I find common ground with someone who was still wearing underoos and wetting the bed when I was in college the first time around? How can I get along with these kids while avoiding the label of “creepy old guy” in class?

In order to solve this dilemma, I turned to the one place I thought would have the answer – Hollywood. In movies, older guys go back to college all the time. And it always ends up being a wacky adventure filled with hijinks and mischief (and some good ol’ fashioned softcore nudity).

So, after scouring Netflix for the best way to fit in at college, I’ve come up with three possible courses of action, each with their own positives and negatives. I’ve summarized them for you below:

Option A – The Thorton Mellon Method
Using an endless supply of cash and zany one-liners, I win over the students by throwing awesome parties and buying them things. I pay others to do my homework, then learn everything I need to know at the last minute, montage-style. Along the way, I seduce one of my teachers, battle with an annoying dean, win the big diving meet with my patented Triple Lindy and help my emo son and a fashionably-challenged Robert Downey Jr. feel more accepted at the school.

Flaws in this plan – Unfortunately, there are quite a few. HoboTrashcan has yet to afford me the kind of cash Thorton Mellon was throwing around in Back to School. Also, I have no son (that I know of) and I don’t exactly know how to high dive. I guess I could try to befriend Robert Downey Jr. It might be tough to pull off, but it would really make up for everything else I’m lacking in this approach.

Option B – The Paul Blake Method
I become the star quarterback on the school’s ironman football team. Then I butt heads with the head coach over leadership styles and almost quit the team, but Jason Bateman convinces me to stay and play in the big game. Along the way, I seduce one of my teachers and battle with an annoying dean. My whole college experience somehow ends up feeling a bit like a two-hour special Quantum Leap episode.

Flaws in this plan – Well, for starters, the school I go to doesn’t have a football team, so that’s a pretty big setback. I suppose I could try to start one. Hell, most of the actors in Necessary Roughness aren’t doing anything these days, I could probably get the actual cast to show up and recreate this experience for me. (I’m quite positive that Rob Schneider and Sinbad are in my price range and they were two of the “bigger” names in the film.)

Option C – The Mitchapalooza Method
I throw the sickest parties on campus and then start my own fraternity. In the process, I am nicknamed The Godfather. I also host KY wrestling events and Snoop Dogg concerts. I hang around with a wacky bunch of guys with names like Frank the Tank and Blue. Along the way, I seduce a random mom and battle with an annoying dean. I also sleep with my boss’ teenage daughter. Ultimately, I end up passing a series of tests to legitimize the fraternity and take the dean down in a blackmail scandal.

Flaws in this plan – Honestly, this seems the most feasible of the three. I’ve always wanted to be called The Godfather and I am a fan of wrestling (KY or otherwise). I’m pretty sure I could round up a crew that resembles the fraternity in Old School. Plus, Snoop Dogg is a total whore, so for the right amount of weed, he’ll perform anywhere. As an added bonus, I don’t even have to go to my classes to make this one work.

However, while the Mitchapalooza Method seems like the most logical approach, I’m still not convinced. I don’t really like loud parties and I’m not overly fond of Elisha Cuthbert (she’s always had that “sloppy seconds” kind of vibe). Plus, I have no interest in being in a frat, even if it’s one I started.

I think I’m going to have to keep brainstorming to see what else I can come up with. Clearly, the two key components seem to be battling with the dean and dating a teacher and/or hot mom. But beyond that, I think I’m going to have to find my own niche – something besides football and diving and frat parties.

And, if all else fails, I’ll reach out to Rob Schneider and Sinbad.

Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at

  1. Thor August 26, 2009
  2. Thor August 26, 2009
  3. Milhouse44 August 27, 2009

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