The Washington Post is good at a lot of things: Pulitzer Prize-winning Joshua Bell articles, investigative series on the kind of people who shoot their friends in the face, and reliable coverage of one of the worst teams in all of Major League Baseball. Notably absent from the list: telling freshmen the ways of the world.
Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the Post from running a feature over the weekend called “The Freshman 15: What Every First-Year College Student Needs to Know About Washington.” (Nor did the fact that this is already well-tred ground.) The article puts on full display all the worst qualities of the Post. The advice is at times preachy, inaccurate, and irrelevant. What’s more, they largely repeat what your 50 year-old parents told you on move-in weekend before you managed to escape them.
The worst offenders:
5. Forget the fake ID. The District is where fake IDs go to die. Give it up, McLovin. That expired Hawaii license might have gotten you 30s of Milwaukee’s Best at your local beer shack, but the bouncers in this town have you pegged: You stammer, you sweat and you don’t even know your own fake Zip code. Don’t believe us? Head to the 9:30 club. Test your luck, and let us know how that works out.
Apparently the Post has never been to Chadwick’s on a Thursday night. (Neither have I, for that matter, but my 19 and 20 year-old friends tell me it’s quite a party.)
6. Remember that the Metro shuts down at 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Don’t get stuck drunk and penniless trying to figure out how you’ll make it home. There’s nothing more pitiful than a Farecard-waving drunk trying to persuade a cabdriver to take him home. The cabbie will not take you home. Get your act together.
Wait, what? I thought we weren’t supposed to use fake IDs.
8. Yield to cars in traffic circles. The city is overpopulated with circles (a.k.a. Washington planner Pierre L’Enfant’s grandest practical joke), so you’re likely to encounter them if you’re a driver. Yield to the cars in the loop. More important, don’t stop if nothing is coming. (“Yield” means “yield,” not “stop.”) College freshmen are responsible for 85 percent of the accidents in D.C. traffic circles. We’re making that up, but it’s probably 25 percent true.
25% of 85% is still about 20%. I know at most 10 Georgetown students who have a car at school. Even if AU, GW, and Howard are a little more car-happy than us (are they?), there’s no way college students are to blame for 1/5 of D.C.’s accidents. Quit whining, Post.
3. Don’t dance at indie-rock shows. Maybe where you come from, dancing is acceptable or even fun. Not here. Music is serious, and being serious about music is serious, too. Seriously? Yes. You can smile in an ironic way. Or sneer. But keep those dancing shoes in the closet. You’ve entered folded-arms territory.
True for some indie groups, but some indie music calls for a little energy and movement. At these shows, the Post is the balding middle-aged man standing alone with his hands in his pockets, scowling at you.
11. There is no J Street. No matter how far you walk, you’ll never cross J Street. If someone tells you to meet her anywhere on J Street, you are being punk’d.
This one is actually useful because freshmen don’t know how to read maps. Also a good excuse to use the word “punk’d”.