Now that the most soul-devouringly painful of my term papers is written, I”m standing on the verge of graduation and I”m about to put the four-month long argument about why kids in Ann Arbor can”t change anything in Israel (otherwise known as my cursed last semester at the Daily) behind me, I have only one big issue left to ponder.

Paul Wong
Lost in the game<br><br>Peter Cunniffe

Should I strip down and run through the streets of Ann Arbor next Tuesday?

The Naked Mile or “Ann Arbor-international Pervert Fest” if you prefer really sounds like a lot of fun. I imagine running around naked with a whole lot of other naked people is a wholly worthwhile experience that”s relatively hard to come by.

But there are some drawbacks. Basically, the aforementioned perverts congregating in town, including those who really seem to freak people out, the ones with cameras. That has to be expected someplace there”s guaranteed to be a lot of nudity and yes, some people”s pictures are going to be posted on websites for those semi-perverts who skip the trip to Ann Arbor, content with dark, grainy pictures of bouncing body parts in the comfort of their own homes. I understand this year”s run will even be shown live on the Internet.

But is that really a good reason not to run?

Its not like you”ve done porno. People in Naked Mile pictures are just running around having a good time and if asked, can easily explain it as some harmless college fun. No one of much importance will ever know anyway. Maybe if you”re running for president and pictures of you pop up, that would be bad. But, like most emotionally stable people, I have no intention of ever being a politician and even if I did, what exactly would I have done wrong? Its not like I was snorting coke or driving drunk or having a bunch of retarded people killed.

There”ll probably be a lot of drunk people around too, which will probably lead to some unfortunate scrapes, but drunkenness is the only way most people will ever be naked in front of large crowds. But that”s how it goes. They can”t help that this prudish, shame indoctrinating society forces you to get plastered to try anything out of the ordinary.

There are certain other risks to drunkenness at the Naked Mile. The last time I watched it was two years ago from a third floor apartment in University Towers. A girl at that gathering decided to go smoke in a stairwell at the same time a rather intoxicated individual a few floors up decided the big gap down the center of the stairwell was a good place to relieve himself.

I”ve been told some people actually enjoy being peed on, however, judging from this girl”s reaction, I now find that hard to believe. But I digress.

The much ballyhooed possibility of sexual assault also seems overblown. If you”ve got half a brain you”re not running around naked and alone, you”ve got some other people watching your back, so to speak. As for the possibility of being arrested, its unlikely and you need to take a few chances in life anyway.

And even if you are, don”t believe Vice President E. Royster Harper, you will not be put on a sex offender list for running the Naked Mile (providing you haven”t been caught running around naked too many times in the past). A public defender with an extra chromosome can get you out of that one, let alone the lawyers I”m sure most people on this campus can get a hold of.

What”s really wrong with the Naked Mile is that it”s not just a University event any longer, it”s crowded with losers from all over the place.

Why anyone would expend more effort than a five minute walk to just watch this thing is hard to understand. There are lots of places you can drink and see naked people, usually much more “entertaining” naked people as well.

The Naked Mile would be infinitely better if only students were involved, as runners or spectators and maybe there are ways to get back to that. We should just randomly change the time of the run. We could do it at noon on the last day of classes. Or how about today?

Well, barring any spontaneous outbreaks of stripping before then, I”ll see you Tuesday.

This is Peter Cunniffe”s final column for the semester. Give him feedback at www.michigandaily.com/forum or via email at pcunniff@umich.edu

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