Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Here's to Morgantown, West Virginia

For the last few weeks, I have considered a few pathways into constructing a celebratory graduation blog from a Morgantown-native's perspective. At first, I decided on writing an ode to Morgantown with a poetic structure. Then I thought to myself, "Who do I think I am, Shel Silverstein?" If you are not from Morgantown, you do know that the sidewalk did end at Rain Nightclub. Anything beyond Rain was uncharted territory; however, it is these irregular spots that truly made Morgantown wonderful.

With that said, to cater to my all of my readers I will write a little more in-depth about what made going to school in Morgantown sort of awesome and sort of life-threatening (near the latter stages of this journey).  It will be a "cheers" to Morgantown and will act as a unique timeline throughout my "townie" existence from a socially awkward teen into...a socially awkward adult.

Being from Morgantown, it is hard to imagine living anywhere else. But that time will come, and it will be sad packing up and moving elsewhere. Around every corner is a memory; whether it was playing wiffleball with my fellow Cedar Ridgers in my backyard as a kid or the first cigar I smoked on Tom Jaworski's porch or my last night at Fat Daddy's. I am sure you fellow townie's could say the same. If you have only furthered your education here, you still have a cornucopia of meaningful stupid lasting memories about this place. Trying on my cap and gown was rough, as I am sure it was for a lot of you. But I look forward to rehashing the stories I've created here in Morgantown.


Here's to the Krepps and Marilla pools. Although I probably contracted some sort of staph infection scraping my back skin off the Marilla green slide, a summer was not complete without a trip to these cool-down spots. And I do not care how old you were; you were never too old to cause a ruckus in the Krepps baby pool jungle gym area.

Here's to the first Dairy Queen on High Street (next to Casa). After little league, it was common to head on down to Dairy Queen and stand in the monstrous line. The fun part was guessing which event would occur first: getting hit by oncoming traffic because you are in the middle of the street or ruining your uniform with hot fudge or purple Mr. Misty syrup. Either way, these trips will always be memorable.
She's bulletproof, nothing to lose.
Fire away, fire away.

Here's to the Midway Arcade at the Morgantown Mall. Saturday afternoons were always spent with my girlfriend, Big Bertha, hoping my beautiful lady would eat enough plastic balls to buy my next package of pogs. 

Here's to the 87 Morgantown parades that encompassed our entire middle school lives. Planning a vacation? Forget about it! There was a parade for every occasion, and the entire city of Morgantown shut down as politicians and boy scout troops threw 80 mph banana laffy taffy fastballs at our skulls. I'm pretty sure my parents voted for the Monongalia County political representatives based on which ones tossed us candy.

Here's to summers on the lake. And summers at Blue Hole and the Falls. You were always just one step off the Old Iron Bridge from a free colonoscopy. Then again, I never did jump the right way from these heights. My jumping technique in these instances could be compared to a last place pumpkin drop entry at St. Francis.

Here's to the Italian Oven's pasta straws. And Pargo's queso dip. And Rax's...free soda refills? And Uno's pizza. And Ray's Pastries. And even Damon's Grill, which proved that even its bald grill cooks could somehow work one of their body hairs into your steak salad.

Here's to Hills Department Store, where the free popcorn was the only reason your family shopped there (no one really cares about Ames, seriously).

Here's to...that smell. Everyone knows that summer smell that hits your nose as soon as you see a tree in South Park. It's a certain smell that will not be further explained, as I have family that reads this blog.

Here's to Margerie Gardens, which taught me a valuable childhood lesson--tell your dad baseball practice ends 15 minutes before it actually does.

Here's to the Christmas, Easter, & Halloween (list goes on and on) lighted house. Every year, that one house near the Pines Country Club would cause sleepless nights for its neighbors and put its entire residential development on inferno watch. But, but, but...it was pretty cool. 

Here's to Hometown Hotdogs. Which directly promoted the saying, "don't judge a book by its cover." Or in this case, "don't judge a hot dog stand by its asbestos levels."


Here's to Club Z, O2, Slevin, 228, & Recovery. Without you, the nightlife in Morgantown would not be as unpredictable.

Here's to Mutt's, which I still believe has a curse on Mountaineer Athletics since its closing.

Here's to Thursdays. Without you, I would be a more productive citizen in this community. I would also not be referred to as "that kid" in all of my Friday 8:30/9:30s since my Junior year.

Here's to Fall Fest, which put any freshman's doubt on whether WVU was a good choice or not to rest.

Here's to WVU Up All Night, the best and worst thing to happen to you on a given night. The freshman 15 is earned here. It is where the scrambled mess of WVU students is more appetizing than the scrambled eggs.

Here's to the Bent Willey's Deck. When that blow-up bottle of captain gets plopped on top of the roof, I know summer has officially started. A few benders down and one could go from the 80s room to the ladies room without having any idea how they got there.
"We found love in a hopeless Rain"

Here's to Rain, where the urinals and bathroom floors were the best of friends. No matter what happened to you on a typical night out, you could wander down to Rain and find your friends while "Levels" and "We Found Love" blasted over the speakers. I could honestly rewrite a separate blog post on the pure awesomeness of Rain, but I would most likely rehash old memories and spiral into a pit of depression. I don't think I could ever eat at the Fondue Factory, based on what I have seen go on at Rain. Let's just say Rain was a fondue factory way before the actual restaurant was in place.

Here's to Casa D'Amici and its Friday/Saturday night convenience. I went there for lunch one day and it was kind of odd to a see what a garlic knot actually looked like, even though I have ordered them for years.

Here's to fake-fakes and real-fakes. In Morgantown, it made all the difference.

Here's to nights at Joe Mama's with 3AM Tokyo performing. Some of my favorite nights in Morgantown happened here.

Here's to Sports Page for never changing what made you great to begin with. Establishments in Morgantown have changed every year to keep up with the times, yet Sports Page has always stuck to its classy roots. I commend you.

Here's to Fat Daddy's, the best marketed bar in Morgantown. The only place where you can pet a donkey and contribute to a record breaking performance in consecutive nights. Sweet Caroline (Eat Shit Pitt) is a much appreciated tradition here that needs to be passed on to every generation at WVU.

Here's to Jimmy John and Alan the taxi driver, the future best men in my wedding.

Here's to Los Mariachis, the 21st birthday spot for a good majority of us. There is no point of even ordering food here, as the pounds of chips and salsa we all consume before the actual meal could be featured in a TLC special.

Here's to the hundreds of protesters I have encountered over the years outside of the MountainLair. Your graphic and disturbing signage made uncomfortable trips to Sbarro that much more uncomfortable.

Here's to the townie Mug Nights at Chicn'bones during Christmas and Thanksgiving breaks.

Here's to Jim Clements and Gordon Gee, the university presidents during my time at WVU. Both men are class acts and we are lucky to have had both serve during our undergraduate careers.

Here's to Panama City Beach, Cancun, or any other hot spot for WVU students in the Spring. It's a bummer leaving these destinations, because of the sheer craziness and fun that occurs there. We all have our own stories and believe we had a better time than everyone else on spring break. And that's all that matters, and that's how it should be.

Here's to my fellow Greek members. You all are walking mugshots that could collapse at a Saturday morning philanthropy from a variety of medical causes. At your condition, they would have tossed your ass off the wagon if you were on the Oregon Trail. Sunglasses and spearmint gum are your saving graces. If you entered your hangover symptoms into WebMD, it would say you are 6 months pregnant. Of course, that's probably because those symptoms are:
  • bloating
  • nausea
  • crankiness
  • pickle-cravings

Here's to that "Welcome to West Virginia" sign that gives you chills when you return to Morgantown from break or any other trip. I hate that West Virginia University gets a terrible reputation for being a drunk, college town. However, I take the party school reputation as a compliment. There are birthday parties, graduation parties, Halloween parties, among other types of parties. It basically means we are among the most social college students in the country--a reason why graduates go on to be great leaders in their fields of work.

Here's to Morgandise, not Morganhole. We may joke around, but in reality Morgantown is a wonderful place to spend your college career. 

Here's to returning back to Morgantown five years down the road for homecoming and singing country roads in the stands at Milan Puskar Stadium. It has been said that West Virginia residents spend half their lives trying to get out of the state and the other half trying to get back in it. I don't plan on staying in Morgantown, but I know I will miss it to death every day.

Here's to the best friends you will ever make and the best times you will ever have in your life. It is where irresponsibility is accepted and praised for its pure, spontaneous beauty.

Here's to Morgantown. Morgantown, West By God Virginia.