Kevin Roose ’09: The Parents Weekend gospel

Helping Brown parents survive a campus visit is a tough job, but someone has to do it

By
Friday, October 20, 2006

The priests shall blow for them a signal to form the divisions of the battle line. The columns shall be deployed at the sound of the trumpets, until each man has taken his station. Then the priests shall blow another signal on the trumpets, signs for confrontation. When the infantry has approached the battle line of the Kittim, within throwing range, each man shall raise his hand with his weapon. Then the priests shall blow on the trumpets, and the Levites and all the people with rams’ horns shall sound a signal for battle.

The above is a battle scene taken from the Dead Sea Scrolls. But the sentiment on Parents Weekend is almost the same. Just replace “Kittim” with “Brown students,” and “Levites” with “parents in rented SUVs,” and you’ve got the gist of the cross-generational battle about to unfold.

This weekend, hundreds of parents will descend on College Hill like a plague of really embarrassing locusts. They’ll come bearing cameras, fanny packs and too-high pants. Brown students have been readying themselves for battle for weeks – the towering beer-amids in our rooms have been disassembled, Dickens has replaced Maxim on our bookshelves and we’re digging out the sweaters our moms gave us for Christmas.

We’ve done a good job preparing for the Parents Weekend war, but our parents still have no idea what’s in store for them. Parents: Brown has doubtless given you a litany of paperwork designed to clue you in to the happenings on campus this weekend. You know where you can pick up box lunches and hear deans speak. But Brown has left the most crucial information out of your Parents Weekend packets.

Have no fear. I did some digging, and I’ve managed to unearth the apocryphal appendix to the Parents Weekend pamphlet. Please follow it, for both our sakes.

The Lost Parents Weekend Appendix-Helpful hint: first-time visitors to Spectrum India on Thayer Street can get free bangles. The jury’s still out on whether “bangles” is some sort of sexual euphemism.

-You don’t have to pretend to marvel at our Keeney double. We both know it sucks.

-You’re right – five dollars is a lot to spend on an a cappella concert ticket. For us, it’s a small price to pay for two hours of not having to hear you talk about the deli down the street that got busted for health code violations.

-If we ask you to go to the mall with us, it’s not because we crave family bonding time. We’ve just been sleeping without sheets all semester.

-Correction: In a clerical slip-up, Brown forgot to translate the description of the International Parents’ Reception for non-English-speaking families. It should read, “Donnez beaucoup plus d’argent à l’université, s’il vous plait.”

-If your son introduces you to one of his female friends, he’s probably hooking up with her. If your daughter introduces you to one of her male friends, he’s probably her TA. And she’s hooking up with him.

-Sure, we’ll take our 14-year-old sister out for a night of fun. The question is: can she funnel?

-You should by all means attend the weekend’s keynote speech by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. P’07. However, despite how cool it looked on the news, rushing the stage in protest won’t restore your youthful idealism – it’ll just make you look silly.

-Yes, we know you know about Facebook this year. It’s been all over the news. Congratulations, and thanks for your concerns about our privacy. Now if you’ll excuse us, we have some biddies to poke.

-And finally, you don’t have to take our friends and us out to an extravagant dinner on Federal Hill. But we don’t have to show you our grades either.

-Parents, all kidding aside, we’re really glad to see you.

-And it’s Kevin, not “cookie pie.”

Who is Kevin Roose ’09 kidding? We all know his parents are serving 20-to-life in San Quentin.