For all of you underclass Cobbers curious about the tradition of Prexy’s Pond, now is your chance to learn a little bit more about the graduation night ritual.
Yes, to answer your first question. It smells as bad as the rumors let on. I am not sure about mysterious-skin-rash bad (that is what I was told as a sophomore on my campus tour), nor did my feet touch the spokes of any ghost-ridden bikes. However, the smell… yes! It is fair to say that it lives up to its reputation. Considering that Prexy’s is the primary recipient of all of the lawn chemical runoff, it is no surprise that I have never seen any wildlife near the pond, except maybe the die-hard frolfers…
Mick’s Office. It wasn’t until my junior year that I first learned that the bar was spelled Mick’s, not Mix. Every college has its go-to student bar, and Micks’ is where most Cobbers choose to wet their kernels every Thursday night.
It is a black-suit-and-tie-bar with expensive cocktails and mixed drinks that will run one a pretty penny. Don’t even think about showing up without shining your shoes nor gripping your glass with all of your fingers. Pinkie out–the most important rule observed.
The bar is complete with a few pool and beer pong tables and some chewed-up booths and other well-worn seating. Flash an Abraham and you can forever leave your mark on one of the removable ceiling tiles. Finally, the infamous Mick’s mugs are worth mentioning. Pay a certain amount (I’ve never bought one) and you can fill it for less than buying a beer at full price. They’re a big deal, so I’ve been told.
So what happens is this: Nearly all members of the graduating class, and some free-spirited parents, find their way to the bar around 10 pm, and you dance, drink, sweat, cry, hug, and pose the question: “What are you going to do with your life?” and end the conversation with: “Okay, well have a good rest of your life.”
The sheer quantity of people shoved into the establishment is enough to turn the bar into a sauna, although arguably not as healthy for one’s skin as actual steam. Step down the stairs to reach the other half of the bar where all of the action is (beer pong and dancing) and you’ll literally feel the temperature rise 10 degrees F.
And after 4 hours of mingling, the bar closes, and there is a mass exodus. Don’t try and walk your dog on graduation night at 2 am. The sidewalks flood as stumbling graduates make a pit stop at Taco Bell and Mickey D’s before peeling off their bar clothes for a nice dip in a chemical-infested pond on a 50 degree night because Fargo has a hard time saying goodbye to winter.
One-by-one… actually, often many at once, people jumped into the pond screaming upon entering and gasping upon feeling the cold sting of a pond only recently thawed. Stripping down to briefs, underwear, and bras for many, the plunge can be quite a spectacle for those who have come by and the nearby police on standby to ensure that no one dies.
If you’re not convinced what a gay old time Prexy’s is, you’ll just have to experience it for yourself. All sarcasm aside, it was worth every moment. It was nice to see what people were doing, as much as I wish there were other ways of asking the question, and it was nice to say some goodbyes. There was something about doing something crazy immediately upon receiving a 4-year degree, and having the entire class there, or a large portion of them, was also, in a way, significant. I was tackled, mentally and physically unprepared, by a friend, and we both fell in at the same time. I ran in with my roommate, K., and it was where I said my last goodbye to a close friend.