Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

When Silence Is Golden

When Silence Is Golden

I sat down at Booeymonger’s Saturday night rather despondent. I’d been in a bad mood for the last few days, a situation not aided by the impeding deadline for my tutorial assignment – 25 new pages on my advisor’s desk Monday morning.

So I sat in my corner silent, staring at my copy of The Hoya, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Booey wrap so I could return home and stare at my blank laptop screen. But I wasn’t really concentrating on what I was reading. After all, how much concentration does it really take to read The Hoya?

As I stared forward with a scowl on my face and a tired look in my eyes, I couldn’t help but listen to the conversation at the table across from me. Six guys had just finishing their sandwiches and were wasting their hot air until one of them drew up the nerve to say speak.

“Let’s go,” one of them said.

“So dude, I hear that they’re gonna get a bus,” said one.

“Yeah?” chimed another.

“And they’re gonna take it to Syracuse so we can cheer on the team. And there’ll be Hoya shirts and people are gonna wear crazy stuff. It’s gonna be cool,” finished the first guy. I was first concerned that he was enthusiastic about traveling 10 hours to see the men’s basketball team get crushed by an NCAA powerhouse. I knew he was a touch on the naïve side when I noticed his picture in the paper protesting the current housing situation (Two pieces of advice. One – as the Brooklyn Dodgers said, “Wait ‘Til Next Year.” Two – stop protesting and CALL A FREAKIN’ REALTOR!).

A third guy obviously lost track of the momentous flow of this conversation. He was a little slow. He had rubbed dirt on his chin and dared to call it a goatee.

“So did you hear about Maria? I think I can ‘get some.’ I hear she’s into that,” he leered.

“Oh, yeah!” everyone clamored.

Repulsed, I turned back to my newspaper, concerned about the kind of students I dare call classmates. Then I thanked God that I am only taking a tutorial.

I was disturbed by the utter lack of anything resembling content in their conversation, let alone multi-syllabic vocabulary or anything resembling wit.

It was mere breathing – accompanied by unfortunate sounds.

Then I realized that what Georgetown students lack, more than housing, facilities or theaters, is any appreciation for the art of conversation.

The witticism. The pun. The sly insult. The perceptive insight. We have no appreciation for, or ability to deliver, any of these.

And it’s not a weight only dangling from the stereotypically slow – jocks, beer guzzlers, business students. It’s all of us.

I should be the first to suffer. While six guys struggled to find something valuable to contribute to the whole of human knowledge and were only able to find a few crude statements about women and sports, I stared blankly ahead, sipping a soda. When my girlfriend calls me during summer vacation, she has to pull out the “Book of Questions” to illicit what may pass as an intelligible response. I spent an entire month speaking only in quotes from The atrix. During baseball season, if Tim McCarver doesn’t say it, then neither do I. I even write this column so I can avoid running my mouth off and so I can keep the information flow going in one direction.

And no one on the Hilltop is immune from the deficiency of conversational skill. Most discussion is reduced to politics, sports, gossip, parties and homework. In the age of the Internet, how one communicates is not important – just so long as they do it quickly and with minimal interaction.

We try to pass our conversations as art, but our ramblings on Campaign 2000, childish extrapolations on religion and deep analysis of kegs vs. cans is merely “Dogs Playing Poker.” The witty conversationist is a rare find. Witty and insightful conversationists are only found in The New Yorker.

Unfortunately, the art of communication is an art as Latin is a language; some people keep in practice, but the numbers are few, and society tends to look at them funny. It’s too bad that such a verbal art is absent at Georgetown. Despite wrapping up my Bachelor of Arts having read much and viewed countless sculptures and paintings, if I were to slap my informal verbal musings onto a canvas they would amount to mere finger paintings.

Days on the Hilltop appears every Tuesday in The Hoya.

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