This is the online component of the humor section of the Argus, the Wesleyan University newspaper.


Editors' Note

Dear freshmen: The Ampersand cordially welcomes you to Wesleyan University. If you’re reading this, you are not the member of your forced triple who was offed for the extra space. Congratulations! If you’re interested in writing for us, please attend our first meeting at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 8th. The meeting will be outside of Allbritton, and sweet and savoury snacks will be provided.

Orientation Flowchart

Making and Retaining Friends: A Practical Guide

The beginning of college can be a deeply frightening time, as everyone except you meets lots of awesome people and quickly finds their social niche. The competition for friends can be fierce, and if you’re afraid to be aggressive then you WILL be left behind. If you’re socially awkward, unsightly, or just rub people the wrong way, the friendship game may seem like more trouble than it’s worth. But with this handy guide, you’ll soon have potential friends eating out of your hand. Literally, if that’s what you’re into.
  1. Identify friend candidates. Beggars can’t be choosers, so you’re probably going to have to start with low-grade friends. But you have plenty of time to work your way up. It’s called social climbing, and it’s what college is all about. (But never forget the story of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun and lost his wings. Climb too fast, and you’ll end up right back where you started.)
  2. Get your foot in the door. Break the ice with your friend candidates in whatever way you can. This could be as simple as, “Hey neighbor, can I borrow some Preparation H?” but feel to get creative: “Come quick! I think my roommate is going into anaphylactic shock!”
  3. Be memorable. Look around you. Literally every person you see is a potential friend, so you need to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Try sporting a fedora or “liberty spikes.” But don’t come on too strong—advertising your love of flesh hook suspension is likely to scare off more people than it attracts.
  4. Follow up. A budding friendship is like a premature infant—weak, fragile and in need of constant care. Regardless of the strength of your first impression, your friendship will definitely require some (metaphorical) postnatal steroids if you want it to mature. Don’t ever let a prospective pal out of your sight without first getting their number. Then, deploy texts at strategic intervals to ensure that your delicate, shriveled friendship won’t perish in the incubator. The first time you feel that friendship’s miniscule hand grasp your thumb (metaphorically, of course), you’ll know you’ve succeeded.
  5. Seal the deal. Remember that no matter how awesome your new friends may seem, they could stab you in the back at any moment. That’s why any veteran friend-maker will tell you that it’s always best to get the terms of your friendship in writing. That way, if your friends forget your birthday or hook up with your significant other, you can sue the shit out of them.

Get Yo Shit Straight, Son: Tips for Freshmen

Let’s face it: coming to college for the first time is scary. You’re in a completely unfamiliar environment, surrounded by copious amounts of illegal intoxicants and hypersexualized adolescents who want nothing more than for you to end up passed out naked in a bathroom on the other side of campus from your dorm, and on top of that, there’s something called “dubstep” that’s permeated the entire school and you’ll have to familiarize yourself with it if you want anything resembling a fulfilling social life.

Thankfully, the Ampersand is committed to easing your transition from a hedonistic, upper middle class suburban lifestyle to that of a hedonistic, upper middle class student who wants to challenge traditional notions of gender by banging everybody. That’s why we’re here to give you the straight dope on college life and talk about everything they’re too scared to discuss in orientation.
  • Milwaukee’s Best isn’t really the best Milwaukee has to offer. Sad, but true.
  • If there’s a naked person in your bed, and you don’t remember how they got there, high five! Them or us, it doesn’t really matter.
  • You may, on some of your late night jaunts, encounter what appears to be a gigantic spider. Don’t be alarmed, because this is in fact Claudius, Wesleyan’s resident giant spider and unofficial mascot. Feel free to take one of the gift baskets he offers you. If he doesn’t offer you any gift baskets but instead starts jabbering indecipherably, then you probably shouldn’t have taken those ‘shrooms from that guy at Eclectic, dude.
  • Should the worst come to pass and you actually do end up naked in a bathroom across campus from your dorm, don’t panic. Wesleyan is notorious for having a naked dorm, and that’s probably the one you’re in right now, so no worries. Strut your stuff and ignore the revolted glances. They’re just going through the inevitable adjustment period.
  • Seriously, research dubstep. Otherwise, good luck making friends. Here’s hoping you’re a fan of standing in the corner at parties and wondering to yourself about which programming language is best, NERD.

POV: Fauver triples

“In The Company of Others” Replaced By “In The Company of Otters”

An intern-level error in the university’s orientation office has wrought one significant change to orientation this year: “In The Company of Others,” a long-term staple of Wesleyan’s orientation program which has for years provided an invaluable opportunity for freshmen to hear upperclassmen stories revolving around identity and understanding, will be replaced with “In The Company of Otters,” an opportunity for over 800 freshmen to interact with three North Pacific sea otters.

“We are not entirely sure how this happened, but we suspect one of our interns may have misread an email subject,” shrugged Director of New Student Orientation Timothy Shiner. “It’s just one letter off, so he figured it wouldn’t be a big deal.”

“At any rate, we can’t go back now,” Shiner added, stroking one of the otters, whom he has
christened Devon. “Do you know how hard it is to book otters in Connecticut? It’s a nightmare.”

The event, which boldly steamrolls over more than a decade’s worth of tradition surrounding dozens of poignant “In The Company of Others” speeches, will take place in Fiske 304. Each otter—Devon, Michael, and Waka Flocka Jr.—will be situated on its own marbletop table from 2:00 PM to 3:30, during which time members of the Class of 2015 are expected to come fondle each creature.

“These otters have come a long way, and they are very excited to meet you,” Shiner assured. “They are the heaviest members of the weasel family.”

Additionally, sources reveal, Common Moment may be replaced with “Common Marmut” to reflect the orientation program’s newfound wildlife focus.

Freshmen Named ‘Irene’ Bunker Down For Orientation

Though Wesleyan’s campus made it through the recent hurricane’s landfall relatively unscathed, a new storm gathers on the horizon for three particularly unlucky individuals: Irene Hunter ‘15, Irene Fitzpatrick-Goldberg ‘15, and Irene Reindon ‘15, who share the massive tropical storm’s name.

“It’s a disaster,” said Hunter. “Why did this have to happen to us? It’s sad some people got wet or whatever, but when I saw the name on TV I cried buckets.”

Hunter hails from Florida and had been looking forward to a crisp New England autumn.

“She’s been so irritable,” confided Irene Hunter’s mother. “She stomps around the house, yelling and throwing things. Irene’s always had a temper. Very tempestuous child. Lately when she comes into a room we take shelter. It’s about time she moved on to a new place.”

Fitzpatrick-Goldberg, however, has tried to assume a newly sunny attitude.

“Sure, I avoid saying my name when people meet me. I try to steer clear of the subject. Asking people about their hobbies or their friends from high school usually works.”

Her personalized towels and stationary are securely stowed under her bed, and instead of a name, she drew a Sharpie self-portrait on her nametag.

Fitzpatrick-Goldberg plans to study Environmental Studies and is considering a career in disaster management. She hopes the recent trauma will serve as a mnemonic device for professors.

“Everything will be fine!” she said. “We’ll get through it!”

Irene Reindon said little when asked about the subject and seemed at a loss. “I’m just trying to get by,” she said. “It’ll all blow over soon.”

God Punishes Ampersand with Natural Disasters

 In response to what He has called a “campaign of slander and sedition,” God wreaked several retaliations upon the staff of the university’s Ampersand humor page this August,the impacts of which were widely felt on both sides of the Atlantic.

“While merited, we feel His response to be overzealous,” said university Public Safety Director David Meyer. “A swath of innocents paid the price for the dereliction of these few persons. Ten-year-old Sammy Smythe, who was killed by Hurricane Irene; Chavis 'Chip' Nottingham, who was trampled and bludgeoned during the London riots: these, among others, are folks who shouldn’t have had to die.”

The first signs of God’s furious discontent were riots throughout the suburbs of London, intended in part to harm Ampersand editor Piers Gelly ’13 at his London home. Unbeknownst to God, whose omniscience is trumped by omnipotence, Gelly had already departed, and the rioters began to loot electronics and valuable clothes in their frustration.

“‘E wos rippin’ on the BigMan, innit?” said Chester “Chug” Blightly of Clapham. “Bob-an’-a-wink, got me new telly an’ some Beats [by Dr. Dre], roight?”

Religion and weather scientists agree that both the 5.8 magnitude earthquake on August 23 andHurricane Irene were God’s further efforts to undo the Ampersand.

In a Sunday message from His spokeswoman Athena Cro-Magnon Bodhisattva at His embassy at the top of MountOlympus, God stated, “I’m really sick of those guys ragging on Jesus.”

God has plagued Ampersand staff members nationwide. High-Rise room 404, occupied by Gelly and writer Benjamin Soloway ’13, was forcibly annexed by the city of Atlanta, who claimed that the floorspace of the room was theirs by dint of its number, which is the same as their telephone area code.

“This is a simultaneously symbolic and pragmatic addition to our Greater Metropolitan Area,” said an aide from the mayor’s office.

Editor Zach Schonfeld ’13 has been cursed to walk the earth, haunting presidential birthplaces and liveblogging his thoughts.

“For too long I’ve been starving to death and haven’t died,” Schonfeld wrote on his blog. “I feel nothing. Not the wind on my face nor the spray of the sea. Nor the warmth of a woman’s flesh. You best start believing in ghost stories, Miss Turner. You’re in one.”

The city of Boise, Idaho, plans to evict writer Keelin Q.Ryan ’14, whom they believe to be a Jonah.

“All of the accidents that happen here are her fault,”said city council alderman Mick Beep. “Literally all of them.”

The Ampersand released a statement expressing neither sympathy nor empathy for the victims of God’s ministries.

Commenting from the gutted interior of a Carphone Warehouse in Hampstead, Chug Blightly observed, “Not so funny now when you lookin’ it up close, eh bruv? The Big Man’s gonna do it.”