Welcome Weekend, Justin, Highlander
by: Philip Hassey

        When I first met Mr. Justin McDonald I thought he was a Hasidic Jew. And I didn't like him one bit.
        During a Welcome Weekend at Houghton College I sat down for dinner with my dad at a table. My dad had pointed the table out, he said, "Let's go sit over there with that guy." We sat down. The guy stared at us.
        "What's your name?" asked my dad.
        "Justin," he replied. He didn't sound happy about his name.
        "So, what are you going to major in?" asked my dad.
        "History," he replied. He didn't sound happy about his major.
        "I'm taking Greek as my foreign language," I announced.
        "Why?" he asked. He didn't sound happy about me taking Greek.
        "So I can read the New Testament," I answered cheerily.
        "Oh," he said. That was a very conversation ending Oh. I looked at him and his beady eyes. I looked at him and his weird curly hair. His hair was curling over his ears, and he was wearing a black shirt with the word, "Jehovah" written on it. I was certain he was a Hasidic Jew, and wasn't a very nice one either.
        From watching the movies about Jews they always seemed like distant fathers who had big dances in their back yards from time to time. I was betting that this Hasid wasn't going to be a father and if he had he wasn't going to be one to have dances in his back yard. He'd sit in his room and read the Torah all day and he'd read the long curses in Psalms and direct them at me for talking to him. I was glad that I was going to college with him and likely wouldn't ever see him again.

        About four months later I headed off to college. Again I was forced to confront the Hasidic Jew and be nice. Being nice is a trial.
        I went to college two weeks before college began so I could be a part of the "Highlander Adventure Program" and spend two weeks rolling around in the dirty woods. We arrived at about 10 at night and me and my dad went into the dorm named Shenawana. I was going to be living on the first floor in room 101. Most of the time we spent that night was stacking the computer in a place where it fit nicely. Then getting a light to work, but I didn't have any light bulbs. So I just used the ceiling light.
        Later on we went down to where my dad was going to stay the night and I said by and walked back up to Shen. On the way I met a guy named Moose. He was big and hairy. His beard was as big as his face and his arms were about as big as my body, and I think that he frightened me. But he was nice and smiley. I was nice and smiley back at him because he would probably break my small body into smaller bodies if I didn't.
        When I got back up to Shen I found a guy had moved into the room across the hall from me. His name was Steve Erickson and he gave me a light for my lamp. He didn't talk a whole lot either. But he was nice too. Being nice is a lot of fun, I suppose. Big people don't beat you up and other moderatly big people don't beat you up either. I went back into my room and curled up on my bed with a small broken fan blowing in my face.

        The next day was a big fuss and we all got ready to go on Highlander. I didn't know what was going on, but I had to pack my stuff into a pack that I had to put on my back for the next ten days. I saw a lot of people and liked all the pretty girls. Then it was all a blur of learning how to put up tents and getting a partner and tent mates and things and walking and hiking and then it was dinner time. There I saw him. Twenty feet away from me in the group we were in. The Hasidic Jew stood and smiled and I wanted to hit him.
        I once again found that his name was Justin and that he was going to be on first floor Shen as well as me. That moment I realized I would have to go before God and ask him to give me the ability to be nice and friendly and like this guy weather I wanted to or not. Then a minutes later I forgot about him, because I saw another girl and I liked her more because she was prettier than the others in my group.
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