Kirk A.C. Marshall

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High & Beautiful: The Sane Person's Column for Coping With the Demands of the New Century (#1)

*Disorientation Week*
Published: 25 / 1 / 05 (c)

If you tend towards being at all like me – that is, in summary, a self-effacing cynical prat – then the concept of Orientation Week, in all its benevolent convenience and assistive direction-giving, comes across as a slight disappointment. True, its primary function is to provide warm buttery help to those sandwiching themselves into the new uni year, and thus with these prerogatives, it works. Indeed, you’ll come out of the experience a better man, or in some situations, a relative asshole, capable of waxing philosophical about why the campus-commissioned architects employed the patented Herzogenbusch Alphabetising Method, famous for the astoundingly logical placement of Block I next to Block P next to Block L, or why Accountancy students have been granted release from captivity (providing they “get down” with their pocket calculators in the privacy of appropriate environs). You’ll feel enthused in having hobnobbed (the art of creating almond sauce, according to Tarquin Fudge’s Comprehensive Almanac of Nut Recipes), empowered in having a Swedish girl ask for your phone number (ahh, oh novice, you will have to pay those Guild fees one day), and you very well might acquire your own highly-prized Orientation Day balloon (know this, dear selfless altruist, that before you go nonchalantly giving it away to that mewling baby on the bus to be popped, Nepalese Sherphas had to sacrifice their fingers to obtain that rubber material). All in all, then, you’ll feel as though you had a satisfactory day being, effectively, one of the crowd. However, for those who claim to have LSD in their ginseng like me, you may want to shake things up a bit. Thus it is that we give you The Unabashed Gonzo Person’s Way to Survive O Week, or more simply:

Disorientation Week

                The first necessary step to Disorientate oneself effectively is by accommodating yourself with the geography of the uni campus first-hand (perhaps a few days before D Week kick-off). To put curtly, become profoundly accustomised to your surroundings, and then Completely Forget Everything.

Sometimes referred to in pedantic circles as the Guide to Hitting Yourself In the Head With a Toffee Hammer, to Completely Forget Everything one must be prepared. You will need:


Two (2) x Stalwart Companions (or Suppressed Maniacs), for the Fellowship of

One (1) x Deluxe Hotel Suite, for the Debasement and Conquest of

Six (6) x 2 Litre Bottles of Rum, Drinking for the Use of

Two (2) x 2 Litre Bottles of Malt Scotch, Bathing for the Use of

One (1) x Inflatable Baby Pool, Swimming About in Custard for the Use of

Fifteen (15) x Cartons of Custard (or Appropriate Substitute)

Four (4) x Copies of the Kevin Bacon opus Footloose (1984), for the Horrification of

Sixty-seven (67) x Tasty Kebab (with extra onions), for the Engorging of

One (1) x Can of Pepper Spray, for the Cosmetic Use of

Seven (7) x Copies of Nikki Webster’s perennial LP Strawberry Kisses, for the Suicidal Depression of

One (1) x Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity Rainbow, for the Paranoia of

and, finally

Twenty-three (23) x Long Distance phone-calls from your Mother, denouncing you as her child


1.)     After making bail, have your friends meet you at the hotel. Arrive with the liquor stolen from your father’s cellar in a large, enclosed Esky. Present adequate monies to the hotel staff. If staff offer objections to your business, demand to see the concierge by screaming wildly in Phoenician, or until staff have turned soft. Having urinated with diligence and artifice in the glass elevator, go to your room. (Note: Ensure first that you all are wearing Acapulco shirts, Aviator sunglasses and slip-on reef shoes).

2.)     Blow up baby pool. Fill liberally with custard. Commence eating kebabs (if using felafels, it will take slightly longer for effect). Drink liquor (all, or until capable of defining the colour ultraviolet without wincing). Watch Footloose. Watch Footloose again. Watch Footloose once more, this time with the volume muted and Strawberry Kisses playing as soundtrack. Read extract from Pynchon (specific pages need not be suggested). Share pepper spray, avoiding eyes, but not tongue. Tell Mum you never loved her.

3.)     Arrive at campus four hours late the next day, wearing same clothes. Yell boisterously, claim to be Josiah. Lick at least three (3) strangers’ ears, before performing developed ju-jitsu on public transport home. Fall into pool of custard. Rinse. Repeat.


At this crucial stage in the formative process of D Week, you will now have absolutely no practical knowledge whatsoever of the campus you have divested interest in enrolling in. In truth, you would find yourself seemingly hard pressed to recall even going to said campus, or divulging any intrinsic objective as to what you could possibly be studying, if it wasn’t for the eighteen death threats from varying administrative staff on your home-phone VoiceMail.

To this end, D Week is consequently the ideal way to ease oneself into the undulating rhythms of the uni year. From herein, the infusing glories of scholarly life will embrace you wholly, and you’ll feel as though you’ve extended yourself, having made that effort to subvert the system, and forgetting the meaning of the word “shoe”. Remember to join the Swahili Guild. And work methodically throughout ’05, honest acolytes, if only to push phantoms of Kevin Bacon’s hot-pink spandex from the recesses of your mind. It proves to be a grand year. So say the Hawaiians in veneration of Lono, patron god of the isle: Mihalo.

We’ve got our own equivalent. She’ll be sweet.