By Gillgan Gonzo —
This story wouldn’t have been published in this form had I not won a bet with the News Editor. Under normal circumstances, he would have mutilated it with edits, but we struck a deal that if the Cardinals beat the Packers, then I could publish any story I wanted. So, students of UW–Stout, send your thanks to Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals for winning you this great, uncensored version of events as I look for the truth behind The Mystery of the Lost Invitations.
About 500 people gathered in the MSC January 5 to celebrate the 125th birthday of our university, UW–Stout. Among those in attendance were Governor Walker, UW System President Ray Cross, State Senator Sheila Harsdorf, area legislators Tom Larson, Terry Moulton, John Murtha and Warren Petryk, and UW System Board of Regents member Mark Tyler.
The party was quite the success; they had a giant cake and dudes made speeches. The highlight of the occasion came when the governor, using his authority to declare things, proclaimed that January 5 was officially UW–Stout Day in Wisconsin.
The attendance of so many important individuals coming from hundreds of miles away gives evidence to the fact that invitations to the birthday party were indeed sent, but reports began to surface that an overwhelming majority of Stout students never received their invitations to the party. At first I expected that we simply weren’t welcome. I wondered why UW–Stout wouldn’t want us at its party. Had we done something wrong? Was the university mad at us?
It turned out that my initial suspicions were wrong when I discovered that some students had crashed the party and had not been kicked out. It’s not that the university didn’t want students at its party. Students were actually welcome to the birthday celebration, but that begged the question, where’d the invitations go?
It’s not like many of us would have gone, I probably wouldn’t have, but it’s still nice to be invited to things, and I’m certain we would have found our own way to celebrate. The administrators and government officials have their way of doing birthday parties, and the students have a very different way.
Had I known that it was both UW–Stout’s birthday and officially UW–Stout Day, I would have started my night at my friend’s house with a couple of beers. Then we would have braved the winter walk to The Market for $1 bottles of Blatz and to play some darts, or to make mean comments about the people that got the dartboard before us. Then it’d be off to Rehab to celebrate Stout Day with the townies in the basement and to witness some of the endless ratchet actions that take place on the dance floor. Finally, we’d stumble our way over and pay $4 for a glass of soda at Logjam.
Just the thought of all the festivities that we missed out on filled me with dread; birthdays are meant to be celebrated at the bars, it’s the Stout student’s way. But then I had the realization that birthdays come every year! So I contacted Governor Walker’s office to confirm that we’d have another UW–Stout Day next year, because I’d be damned if I missed another one. But the reply I received destroyed my dreams.
“The proclamation is a one-time thing, as are all of them. Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted!” replied Bob Nenno, Proclamations Director for the governor’s office. But that’s the problem Bob, I didn’t enjoy it, and your remarks are almost mocking.
I never did find where the missing invitations ended up. I’m not even sure if they’re of any importance anymore. Even if the rumors are true and the invitations never existed, the true tragedy that took place on January 5 was that we the students missed the opportunity to celebrate the state’s first, and sadly last, UW–Stout Day.