One requirement of my sophomore year Introduction to Public Relations Writing class was to submit an editorial to the school paper. There was no limit on what we could write about, so I picked a topic I was rather passionate about. James Madison University is beautiful: the mountains, the buildings and the perfectly thought out flowers.
Then they threw a paintable rock right in the middle of a field where the sun sets perfectly over the rolling hill. It looked like a graffitied igloo. Horrible. So I wrote about that. And then it got published.
Everyone seemed to love it. My teacher said he likes to read it if he's feeling down. My friends all giggled. My parents sent it around to the relatives. And a stranger even chatted me on Facebook to ask how I began to write for the paper, as she was inspired to write after reading my column. Everyone seemed to love it.
That is, except for the guy who put the rock in the middle of the field.
I got an email from this man in charge of the Madison Society, which aimed at bringing tradition to campus. The irony here is one of my main points was that you can't create a tradition in such a manufactured way.
This man invited me to lunch so we could talk about the rock, and he could explain his stance to me. Cazey convinced me to go because (one) I'd get free lunch and (two) it'd make a good story. Hindsight, it probably would have made a good story, had I written about it at the time and didn't wait for years.
The memory of lunch may have faded, but the story lives on, thanks to the inter webs. We can all remember how upset I was the day the pimple blemished on the new side of campus. We can all smile as the amount of feedback I got. And we can all be thankful we live in a country where we can get published in a school-run newspaper when we're criticizing their decisions. America.