Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Livin' the Rivalry

by Robison Wells

On Saturday we moved to Provo, into the married student housing at BYU. This marks the eighth dwelling of my married life, and the fourth in university housing. At the University of Utah, we moved into a one bedroom, and when Holly was born we moved into a two bedroom. And then, two-and-a-half years ago, I briefly looked into going back to school for a masters in education, and we lived in a three bedroom. We're thinking of just getting a mobile home from now on, or maybe a gypsy wagon.

My wife is a BYU alum, which you might think causes some trouble in our marraige--I'm a U of U grad, and the two groups have more hatred betwixt them than LL Cool J and Kool Moe Dee, if you can imagine. However, that's never been much of an issue: I never really liked the U of U. I chose to go there, however, because BYU didn't have the specific political science program I wanted. (And, let me tell you, that degree has served me quite well in the business world.) Yes, when we lived at the U, we'd root for the Y, and my wife would hang BYU paraphernalia in the window.

The following are some big differences I've noticed between the two schools. I've tried to be as fair and equitable as possible, showcasing both the pros and cons of each. (Slangily speaking, the U of U had more "pros" and "cons", at least from what I've seen so far.)

BYU housing doesn't have air conditioning. And, in case you hadn't noticed because the nerves have been scalded off your skin, it's hellishly hot this week. The U had air conditioning. (They also had East Germany style tenement apartments, complete with cinderblock walls and carpet-free floors. But at least you could breathe in there without scorching your lungs. Here, we check on my kids several times a night--rolling them over and basting them with butter and garlic.)

The U of U is a filthy, dusty, unkempt school (and, no surprise, many of the students also appear filthy, dusty, and unkempt). I spent the majority of my time in Orson Spencer Hall, which has never known the gentle touch of a broom. And in one of my history classes, you'd have to brush the bits of dust and plaster off your notepad every few minutes because the ceiling was disintegrating.

BYU is attended solely by married people and teenagers. There is no in-between. (At the moment, it's swarmed by EFY kids. I never had the opportunity to go to EFY, but from what I've observed, here's a run-down: you get in a long line, pair off every guy with every girl, and then you walk around campus for a week in an endless parade. I don't know where this thousand-person snake is headed, but it always seems to be in my way when I'm crossing campus, and it's hard to dart through.) (Maybe some of the people in the line just got caught and could never get out? Or maybe they thought "If I stay with this line long enough, eventually I'll get paired up with someone, and then we can get married.")

There were a whole lot more protests at the U of U than there are at BYU. And dumb protests, too. I mean, I'm all for civil disobedience if it's for something interesting, but U of U students would duct tape themselves to each other to raise awareness about the temporary lack of plastic spoons in the cafeteria.

At BYU, instead of protesting with picket signs and sit-ins, they write indignant letters to the Daily Universe. For example, a fellow by the name of Jeff Hill wrote last week that BYU girls are just too dang immodest--but the actual point of his letter was tired of seeing overweight girls wear immodest clothes. Ladies, this guy sounds like great husband material. He says:
"Pretty girls don't have to be immodest. If you have to wonder if you're wearing something that will attract a guy's attention in a wrong way, think first, do I need to be immodest? Am I pretty enough to just wear modest clothing? I hope the answer is yes. If you would like respect, dress modestly. And if you have to dress immodestly, maybe you should be doing something different than reading the editorials; like running, or eating a salad..."

On the other hand, at the U of U, I've long been impressed by the girls' community-mindedness. They're doing their part to conserve during the Great Fabric Shortage.

Also at the U, I had a class (The Political Language of Islam) with someone who looked exactly like this guy. Usually, he didn't have the bird with him. We were very thankful for his presence--you know, just in case a mummy happened along.

I have two kids here at BYU, but I only had one at the U. What does that tell you?

This isn't really related to BYU, but ever since we've moved I can't find any of my clothes. So, I've worn a certain BYU t-shirt two of the four days we've been here. Go school pride! And body odor!

I have never stepped foot in a busier Little Caeser's pizza than the one down here. Two theories: BYU students are cheap, and BYU students really love eating cardboard pizza and soggy chicken wings (because of the mysterious Little Caeser Prophecy) (I think it came from Brigham Young, or one of those bearded prophets).

The U of U is populated by hippies and communists.

BYU's housing has an ice cream shop FIFTY YARDS FROM MY FRONT DOOR. That's it. BYU wins.


At 7/03/2007 2:53 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

This wasn't really related to the rest of the blog, so I'll just mention it here: I've mentioned before that I never bruise. I've broken my leg twice, and broken my back once, and never bruised at all. Well, while moving the piano on Saturday I pinned my foot under it, and it's purple and painful. Send me a casserole.

At 7/03/2007 3:02 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

You don't want my cooking, but I will take you to the best Japanese restaurant around for lunch some Saturday.

At 7/03/2007 3:06 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...


At 7/03/2007 5:11 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Hmmm, what is the best Japanese restaurant around? Tepanyaki?

At 7/03/2007 5:19 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

Is that seriously a real letter, Rob, or was your imagination working overtime? 'Cause if it was a real letter, I think I'm gonna wander myself up to campus and hunt me down a letter writer.

At 7/03/2007 5:28 PM, Blogger Michele Holmes said...

Welcome to Provo, Rob! I hope you make it through the summer swelter. Guess you didn't get one of those apartments surrounded by shade trees.
Feel free to bring your family over anytime to sit in our air conditioned home. I was actually had to wear a sweater while writing yesterday. It gets a little cold at my desk downstairs.
Seriously though, back in the previous decade when we were living at Wymount, students (and their families) could get a really cheap pass to swim at the pool at DT or Helaman Halls. With our two young kids, we used that all the time. Might be worth checking into.

At 7/03/2007 5:37 PM, Blogger ChillyGator said...

Dear Rob,

Having gone to both schools as well I laughed.

Having gone to EFY I laughed.

However, there is a certain EFY counselor I've had my eye on. If you see him, be sure to grab him so we can pair off and join the masses of BYU couples eating Creamery ice cream on Friday nights. I'd appreciate that from you.

Much love,

(P.S. You get me a date and I will babysit your kids while you go to dinner with Jeff. This way your wife can go too! It works well all around. Score.)

At 7/03/2007 5:49 PM, Blogger Matthew Buckley said...

See, they are still living the 'lesser law' there at EFY. At the USU EFY they do the parade, but there is none of this silly 'one guy for one girl' stuff. There are always two girls on the arms of the young fellas. Up here we do things old school.

At 7/03/2007 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That picture sort of looks like Jeff Savage. Did you dress him up like that?

Welcome to Provo! Go Cougars!

Julie Bellon

At 7/03/2007 6:26 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

Tristi, that letter was 100% real. I love reading the Daily Universe.

Michele, we actually do have some good shade trees. And the heat isn't as bad as I made it sound. We keep all the windows open at night, so in the morning we have the house at about 70--by evening it'll get up to about 82. And we found a good deal on fans at Wal-Mart, so they help.

Chilly, I'll keep my eye out. Is he the one wearing the orange shirt? Because I've seen him a lot.

Matthew, your ideas intrigue me and I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.

At 7/03/2007 6:28 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

Best Japanese restaurant is Osaka on Center in Provo. Anytime you guys want to meet up, let me know.

At 7/03/2007 6:30 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

It's the tattoos under my eyes.

At 7/03/2007 6:49 PM, Blogger ChillyGator said...

I WAS going to tell you what the one I wanted looked like, but then I decided that maybe the less you knew the more likely you were to pick out something better. Or multiple somethings better. I'm all for the adventure of seeing who you can find me. In fact, I look forward to it!

At 7/03/2007 7:55 PM, Blogger ali said...

That was hystericcal Rob!

I'm new-ish to Utah so haven't yet decided which side of the U vs Y debate I fall on ... But maybe your post is enough to sway me!

Plastic spoon shortage protests are just dumb. Now, no knives? That'd be a reason to protest.

Guess I'll have to go for the Y too.

Thanks for helping me out!

At 7/03/2007 9:47 PM, Blogger Jennifer Leffler said...

My mom was a BYU homecoming queen (back when they did that) and my father was a UofU football player. Our family rooted for BYU, even had tickets to the first dozen or so Holiday Bowls.

At 7/04/2007 3:36 AM, Blogger Tamra Norton said...


Come to Texas and then we'll talk "scorching hot." And forget about this mamsey, pamsey, butter and garlic crap. There's a reason BBQ is famous in Texas.

Hey, thanks for the laugh at 2:30 in the morning. I needed something to wake me up so I could finish this re-write.

At 7/04/2007 10:44 AM, Blogger Julie Wright said...

Ah BYU . . . ice cream always wins. Congratulations on the move. And I'll join you guys at the japanese place. It really is so dang good. Savage can buy both our dinners now that he's famous. And I agree with Tami . . . they don't call 'em baby back ribs for nothing.

At 7/04/2007 12:02 PM, Anonymous meanaunt said...

Oh my word, I forgot about the letters to the editor! Imagine the ones that are too kooky to print.

Go cougs!

At 7/05/2007 9:34 PM, Anonymous amy said...

Rob, you should have come up to BSU. The apartments have air conditioning (at least that I know of). Its almost never hotter then 95 degrees outside if you consider the wind chill factor (it hardly snows in the winter months and if it does the snow is gone before noon). BSU has the best football team. They do have EFY but only like for two weeks and no one goes to that one. And my uncle, who goes there, also looks kinda like that guy who was in your Political Language of Islam class. Not sure about the ice cream shop 50 yards from your door or the cleanliness of the campus but I could ask my uncle.

I'll be down at BYU for EFY the end of July. Maybe I'll see you while I'm in the parade. Though, I plan to sneak away and hang out in the BYU Bookstore.

At 7/06/2007 6:19 PM, Blogger Bryan Hickman said...

Nothing but cons at either school if you ask me.

BYU -- too many Mormons; too many denim shirts; not enough goatees.

Utah -- to many overly defensive non-Mormons; too many Che Guevara posters; not enough people who don't suck.

If you'd have asked me (which, sadly you didn't), I'd have told you to go up to Cache Valley (aka, God's Country) for grad school.

"U-tah State, hey Aggies all the way! Go Aggies! Go Aggies! Hey, hey, hey!"


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