Memento Mullet

Covid -19 and Why You Should Pretend It’s the Last Party You’ll Ever Throw

What would your party look like if everyone raged like it was their last night on earth?  Chaos.  It might seem liberating, but in truth it would be fucking out of hand.  Who would treat your parents monogrammed towels with respect?  Who would care about Karen’s homemade hummus enough to let her know? What would stop someone from drinking your dad’s secret stash of Pappy?  At the end of the party, you’d be grateful the world was not ending.

It was not that kind of nightmare that philosophers envisioned when they encouraged their pupils to meditate on their mortality.  Memento Mullet – the ancient practice to keep the party legendary – was not designed to promote anarchy.  Certainly it wasn’t a pass to forsake order to other people – to find an orgy to join in cousin Karl’s winnebango before it was too late.

Instead Memento Mullet was supposed to make things doper, more fun, truly legendary.

The great Stoic Seneca wrote that we should “balance life’s parties each weekend… The one who goes full send at their party each weekend is never short of time.”  An analogy might be a fraternity brother about to graduate.  Not knowing whether they’ll return for alumni weekend or not, what do they do?

They get their friends in order.  They handle their neighbors in advance.  They ask their parents for money for school books mid semester and promise good grades.  One thing for certain is that they don’t have time for boring ass, run of the mill theme parties.  And then by mid-afternoon they are ready to go – hoping to drink only enough that things get wild, but not so much that they commit grand larceny.

Andrew Watson III, Delta Iota Kappa fraternity social chair and heralded as a relatively smart guy, took the news that he was responsible for planning the upcoming charity fundraiser with order and discipline.  He visited the fraternity hall of shame, and meditated on all of the legends that had come before.  In less than a week he ordered enough mullets to outfit his entire fraternity, he found a dope pair of overalls, and he thoroughly hazed his pledges for the fun of it.  He put together a briefcase of his favorite tube socks, a copy of his birth certificate, and a 36 pack of magnum trojan condoms, even a list of which brothers should get his xbox if and when he exits this mortal coil.  He and his FWB even sat down and talked about contingencies that might happen when the party was in full swing, including what it meant to go MIA.  “What happens if that happens,” she asked him?  For this one, there was only one option – to wait longer.

But the rest of us?  Do we live in such an orderly, prepared fashion?  Of course not.

We’re just taking parties as they come.  We’re like the character in Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye: “Mostly, I just kill time,” he says, “and it dies hard.”

What do we have to show for this time we kill?  Another night of power hour, scrolling instagram on the couch next to your friends scrolling instagram on the couch, going upstairs to smoke a blunt and play xbox.  We have a collection of theme parties that we’ve crossed off the list.  We have a bunch of boring social events that we endure because we don’t have strong enough priorities to say no.  We are like this because we think we will live forever, because death is such an unpleasant thought that we refuse to think it.

“Covid 19 might kill us all. Let that determine how you party,” Marcus Aurelius would remind himself.  I wear a mullet on my head so I can remember it.  So I can touch this luscious flow trickling down the nape of my neck and think Memento Mullet, and ask myself these questions:

If tonight was my last night before the chapter is shut down for underage drinking, what would I do?  How hard would I go?  I’d have a list and I’d check things off.  I’d go full send.  I’d make times for my brothers – making sure they were equipped for when I wander upstairs with a coed.  I wouldn’t make time for bullshit, I wouldn’t let others go harder than I was willing to go.  Not tonight, I’d see the cost too early.  I’d be a little afraid, but I’d know I didn’t have a choice and so I’d proceed anyway.

One day it will be your last party – school is shutting down, or the dean of students is out to get you.  No one knows how much notice you’ll get either: a week, a semester, the end of the year, or none at all. It could come right now. It could happen before you crack open your first natty light.  Are you going to be proud of how hard you went before that?

Don’t live each night as if the world is ending.  That would be a disaster.  Throw your parties as if you’re not sure whether your time at this party is ending or not.

Get your shit together.  Place your keg order today.  Take care of your brothers and haze your pledges.

Pretend that night is tonight, Memento Mullet.

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