November 10, 2011
I ran upstairs last night and shook Jason awake. JoePa! They fired JoePa! And then we stayed up for hours watching ESPN, watching the students wander aimlessly around downtown while the eternally-present-and-obligatory group of drunk dickheads smashed some shit up for no reason, just like they did 14 years ago for reasons I don't remember. We won? We lost? We were pissed about increased late fees at the library? I don't know, but it always ended with a couch getting pitched off a balcony and set on fire. FUCK YOU COUCH YOU ARE DRUNK.
We stayed up watching the Paternos step outside their house -- a house I remember driving by, and the whole car went reverently silent once it was pointed out, because it was JoePa's house -- to blearily thank the "kids" who'd gathered on their lawn, only to be completely flummoxed and shocked by the giant seething mass of media that swarmed their doorstep instead. Because they probably still don't get it, how big this is, how awful. That it's not that you didn't do "enough," it's that you didn't do anything. You didn't do anything. Nobody did.
At 19 years old, I didn't know much of anything. I'd already attended and changed my mind about two different colleges already. I'd already lost track of how many times I'd changed my major and my career goals. I scored a dream job as a reporter at The Collegian and quit two weeks later. I thought maybe I'd try film, or literature, or social work. I didn't know how to get a fake ID but usually managed to get tanked regularly without one pretty well. I didn't get to go to many football games because I was broke and needed the weekend hostessing shifts at The Corner Room and also liked having the job as an excuse when my parents asked me if I'd found a church yet. Beacause I didn't know how I felt about that anymore, either.
But one thing I know -- hindsight be damned -- is that if my 19-year-old self heard that there was a chance a child was being abused, she would have done something. If she'd been the one to round that corner in that locker room, there would have been screaming, kicking, hair pulling, something, to make sure that assault ended right then and there. If she'd been the one told about something possibly inappropriate going on, she would have hit 9 for an outside line to the police instead of to the office down the hall so it could be handled internally. No. Because something. You have to at least do something.
And I didn't need college to teach me that.
We are Penn State.
And we are soooooo disappointed.