BYU--A Study in Patronization

They did it, they've finally done it. BYU won the election for "Dumbest Institute of Higher Education EVER." (That the voting occurred between me and two other friends is immaterial.)

How did they do that, you ask? Easy. They just once again proved to me that policy is more important than principle. The story goes as follows:

In order to burn off some of the stress and excess calories acquired during our days at the law school, Matt, Brigman, and I went to go play racquetball at the RB.

So off we went, as we've done countless times in the past. Racquetball is good for you. You get to hit a very small thing with a much bigger thing as hard as you can, and you get rewarded for it. It's a very appealing sport for guys. As usual, we wore our conservative, Honor Code-appropriate work-out gear, and took out some of our frustrations on the ball and occasionally each other.

However, and this is where it gets messy, in order to play racquetball at BYU, you must be clothed in the approved, quasi-magical clothing issued at the BYU Locker Room. This consists of I-can't-believe-it's-not-painted-on short shorts (John Stockton would be embarrassed to wear these), and a poorly fitting gray T-shirt that says "BYU Athletics--We Make You Follow the Rules" (or something like that). Now, if you asked me a week ago if I thought this required apparel met the Honor Code standards of Dress and Grooming, I would have told you "NO!!! Those short shorts are a clear violation of the principles and standards which make this University the perfect place I signed up to live in--I do not want to participate in any activity where these are the normal dress, because it bereaveth my soul, moveth my bowels, etc." (or something like that).

But, I guess in this situation, the Honor Code doesn't apply. Don't ask me why, it just doesn't. (BYU Giveth, BYU Taketh Away, I think is the official reasoning). In any case, no knee length shorts while playing racquetball. They've got to be short enough to make a strong man squeak awkwardly when putting them on.
Ah, how innocent we were playing in our basketball shorts and plain gray tees. How naive to the ways of the world. How could we have possibly played so long and for so many months without realizing the absolute error of our ways?! Oh, I shudder to think what might have happened had our erroneous behavior continued unabated! You thought the temptation of moustaches was bad--it had nothing on us...horror!
or so the enforcer girl would have us believe. About halfway through our second game of cutthroat, we were interrupted by enforcer girl. She looked something like this:

only a little more zealous to her cause, and much less happy to be alive. After a quick knock on the door, and a swift click of her leather boots, she politely informed us that we would have to leave the premises, produce proof of our student status, and rent the official dress of the school in order to proceed with our game. Before she left, I could have sworn I heard a "Heil Cecil!" escape her tightly pursed lips. But that may have been the rage talking...
Needless to say, we left. But one of these days, one of these days, I swear to you, students at BYU will be able to wear what they want, where they want to (so long as it doesn't violate the Honor Code) without living in fear that they might be expelled, or worse, chastized by their fellow students. I dream of that day when BYU will be...normal.

On our way out, we asked one of the guys at the Information Booth why we had to wear the required apparel when the clothes we already had were totally appropriate. His answer: "I don't know for sure, but from what I can figure out, it's to make sure you're BYU students." Ahh, I thought, that explains it! Why ask someone to show their ID when we can make them wear silly clothes? It all made sense. It all makes sense. What better way to unify the students than to dress them all the same? If we all march to the same beat, who will ever be able to stand in our way as we Go Forth to Serve? Nothing says service better than clothes that scream "Don't question the collective. Resistance is Futile. Heil Cecil." (or something like that).


gurrbonzo said...


Absurdities like this one sure make me miss me Utes.

Heidi said...

brother...you played at the JSB???? wow! byu has changed a lot in the year since i graduated. used to be that we played raquetball at the RB and had religion classes in the JSB. i guess that fine line between religion and sports just got finer :-)

Heidi said...

sorry...in the year since i graduated i also forgot how to spell racquetball ;)

M. Gordon said...

All I can say is ... well done on the visuals ... well done.