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An ode to safety

Author’s Note: Please read this piece while playing “Come Sail Away” by Styx, aloud.

Safety. Derived from the Middle English sauvete. Surely, at the word’s inception, danger was no stranger to its thirteenth-century users. The Fourth Crusade. The Fall of Normandy. The Fifth Crusade. And so on. If we have seen farther than others, it is only by standing on the sauvete of those who came before.

If I have learned anything from my service as Student Chair of Campus Safety, it is that you (that’s right, you) are members of a coalition. You are members of a bloodthirsty horde, the likes of which has not been seen since the 1232 A.D. Mongol Siege of Kaifeng. If I am thankful for anything, it is that Ogedei Khan never caught wind of your maniacal parking habits. We would all be speaking Mongolian.

But there are a few among you who have made my time in this position the greatest experience of my life. You led me from humble beginnings — a nobody on Kenyon’s political scene — to become the most powerful demigod this campus has ever seen. And for that, I wish to thank you. Those whom I forget, know that I consider you dangerous and thus cannot, in good conscience, associate my name with your evil deeds.

Sean Decatur. What can I say? We entered the college together, and now I leave this warzone of a parking lot in your hands. I will never forget our dream-state playdates. Wow, that sounded strange. I only ask that you give me one of two things: a shout-out in your Commencement address, or an invitation to eat hors d’oeuvres in Cromwell. Take your pick.

Laura Kane. People don’t know this, but you were originally responsible for my atrocious emails. You, oh Student Engagement Pharaoh, hardened your heart and brought about this vociferous plague. I still remember that fateful StuCo meeting, in which you commissioned my first piece. We were so naive, Laura.

Kalkidan Aseged ’17. You are my muse. My Venus. Nay, perhaps Aphrodite? No, not even she can match the radiating beauty which glows from your tiny, tiny feet. Will you marry me?

Edgar Martin ’17. I admire you more than any of my other fellow political puppets. You are professional. You come prepared. You work harder, smarter, better than anyone. And your joyful gait down Middle Path is rivalled only by the majestic Springbok of Southwestern Africa.

BE: Kenyon Christian Community. You kept me sane. Keep loving. If you’re last, you’re first. Prayers up.

Bob Hooper. You know what they say about men with bone-crushing handshakes. They have huge hearts. You have both, and although my fingers are numb as I type this, I cannot express my gratitude for you and the department. You somehow maintained respect and dignity as I sullied your good name throughout the year. I only hope Campus Safety can pick up the pieces after the mess I have left.

Replay the Styx song here if it has ended by now. It is time for me to go. By demonstrating a level of humility which puts Mother Teresa to shame, I declare myself the least competent, most humble, worst-smelling Student Chair of Campus Safety in Kenyon’s storied history. Philander Chase, Lord Kenyon, Lord Gund: I am sorry. I have failed you all. But tomorrow is a new day. I leave you now, to soil the good name of a new institution. I will burn that fine institution to the ground, with safety. Thank you, Kenyon. These four years have taught me more about myself, and life, than I could have ever imagined. I entered this school as an insecure boy, obsessed with getting jacked. I leave as an insecure man, with an ominous hole in his neck beard. I am alive, I have breath, I am safe. I fear no one will say the same without me around. Prove me wrong.

“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” – Ecclesiastes 7:8

Fare thee well,

Aldis Petriceks

Aldis Petriceks ’17  is a biology major from Palo Alto, Calif. You can contact him at petriceksa@kenyon.edu.