Tour de KSU

Kristine Gill

About two weeks ago a letter came in the mail and I opened it. It was addressed to me. It was mine. Relax. Inside was a paper doll from my third grade cousin. The doll’s name was Flat Stanley.

My aunt had warned me about Flat Stanley. My cousin’s class read a book about him. Apparently Flat Stanley used to be a normal kid, but one morning his bulletin board fell and crushed him flat. Apparently no internal damage resulted. Apparently Flat Stanley now travels via mail. So the class mass-produced look-a-like Stanleys and sent them around the world to relatives with instructions to show him around wherever it is they live. We were told to take pictures of Flat Stanley’s excursions and send him back to the class with a souvenir.

I was pretty excited about the idea. Who wouldn’t want to show a little paper man around Kent State? I had big plans for the two of us. They fell through. Instead my aunt and my mother have been nagging me to show Flat Stanley around Kent State and send him back in time for the class project.

“Have you taken him to the shooting site?” my aunt asked. “No, that’s weird,” I said. “Other Flat Stanleys are going to Hawaii and New York,” she said.

I told my aunt if Flat Stanley were allowed to party in college and get a tattoo, none of the Hawaii Stanleys would have anything to say to him. I told her if I found a Flat Stacey that maybe the two could bring their Flat Offspring back to the class as a souvenir. She told me that was inappropriate.

So basically I’m stuck. As Flat Stanley and I write this, we’re struggling to come up with something great to send back to the class. I’ve already given him a new KSU T-shirt and taken him to the newsroom. He’s met Dublin, who tried to eat him, and he can tell the class this great story about how I ripped his arm off by pulling him out of my backpack. He asked if we could go to Kinko’s or something for a proper examination, but I told him I really didn’t have the money.

It’s been sort of a hassle carting him around for the past week or so. He’s heavy and not everyone understands why I’m carrying a paper doll, but I have a feeling I’m going to miss his silent companionship, his unwavering smile, his manly musk.

Because there’s something special about sharing your world with someone. Especially someone like Flat Stanley, who couldn’t tell you the difference between the beaches of Hawaii and the Tree City; someone who doesn’t protest about having to spend hours in my backpack and doesn’t stop smiling while I mend his severed limb with Scotch tape.

I’ll probably take my friend to the brain and the fountain before I ship him back and I’ll give him something sweet like black squirrel droppings or a copy of our paper to take with him. I don’t care if other Stanleys come back with a million bucks because none will come back with the lifelong companionship and love I’ve shared with my Stanley.

All the New York Stanleys can suck it.

Kristine Gill is a junior newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].