Monday, June 5, 2017

In the Old Days, or "When I was your age"

The NY Times has posted a piece from a Campus Security Guard in England. Now my first cut at undergraduate school was in New York City, not London and it was decades ago. My two grandsons are off to college, one going as far as the nearest stop light, the other going halfway cross country. It really is different for them than it was for me.

Back in 1960 I had three roommates, O'Malley, Driscoll, and Gallagher, we could have been an Irish Law Firm, but each was different. We rented a two bedroom apartment on Broadway, nice, new, and $120 per month! That was $30 each per month. Then food was what you collected, and security? There was none. The closest I got was the fact that my father was in the NYPD as was my grandfather and so I had a "cop network" if necessary.

We walked to class and took the subway at odd hours, the Broadway line. One night I met Malcolm X on the train with his group. Said hello, and he got off at 42nd Street. Sort of a Forest Gump moment.

The Brit notes:

Before I started in the job, I had the same image of the campus guard in my head as you did: a bloke too fat for the cops, or a mixed martial-arts nerd. Guards like that exist, but they don’t tend to last. Once they realize you do more talking in this job than throwing punches, and take one look at the salary, they check out. It’s true, the money’s not fantastic, but I wouldn’t want to do anything else. The buzz I get from helping people is up there with scoring a football goal, or perhaps, remembering a password I thought I’d forgotten. Plus, I get to see people shaping their futures every day. Who’d want to swap that for breathing office air?

When I spent a decade or so at MIT, during the Viet Nam war riots, I never saw a Campus Cop, but now they are everywhere. I wonder what has happened. Has crime increased or are we becoming global helicopter parents. Sixty years ago you got a $20 bill and a cardboard suitcase. You better have a job or find one, the campus did not give you one out the gate. Today? Kindly Campus Cops!