One of my favorite jokes involves a man who had a pumpkin for a head. The man’s friend, knowing that the man’s head was not normally a pumpkin, asked him a question: “What happened to your head?”

“You won’t believe it,” the man replied, “but I found a lamp with a genie inside. The genie was so happy to be let out of the lamp that he offered to grant me three wishes!” “What did you wish for?” the friend asked.

The man could hardly contain his excitement. “Well, the first thing I wished for was, like, a hundred million dollars,” he said, “and then I wished for a smoking hot girlfriend. But the third wish… the third wish is where I REALLY blew it.”

“What did you wish for?” the friend inquired again.
“Well,” said the man, “I wished for a giant pumpkin head.”

I don’t really have a reason for telling you that joke. A professor once advised me that you could start off a presentation with a joke, but you had to make sure it’s funny. So, if you laughed, congratulations; truly I tell you, you have received your reward. If you didn’t laugh, I hear everything is funnier on certain illicit drugs, but don’t take my word for it.

By this point, the writer has usually told you about what they study, where they’re from, and all that basic jazz, but that’s not me. Perhaps the only things you need to know about me are that I’m a huge Kanye West fan and that I’m single, but let’s talk about that over coffee. Oh, and if you happen to be a prospective employer, I’d like to tell you that I have excellent communication skills, both written and oral, I’m very organized, and I’m a team-player who can provide references upon request.

But who am I kidding? I’m a millennial and millennials LOVE to talk about themselves, or so the powerful baby boomer lobby would have you believe. Indulge me.

Back when Obama was still president, when Bugatti Biebs and Selena Gomez were THE Hollywood couple, and when everyone knew that when that hotline bling, that could only mean one thing, I served as the Vice President Student Life of the UPEI Student Union. This was a strange job. Have you ever ended up at a late-night party in a hotel where a promoter tries to convince you to book a Nickelback tribute band because “they’d do really well on the East Coast?” Probably not. But if you’re ever in that situation, word to the wise: be careful around those kinds of guys. I always knew the students could trust me to make the right call, though; after all, elected student leaders never make mistakes.

After that, I was elected President for the 2016-17 year. This job was much tamer, and I thought I did an alright job. Some people hold a less favorable view of my term, like those who allege that I killed a fish while in office. I say “allege” because the story is fake news. But even if it were true, other University students have done much worse with animals. Either way, you’ll always have your haters – remember that.

So, you might be wondering: why I would go from being the President of the Student Union to writing for The Cadre? It’s more than likely that you aren’t, but you are at the mercy of the narrative I’ve created, so suck it up.

Something you might not know about me is that I love movies and TV shows. One of my all-time favourites is House of Cards — it’s even available on some online streaming services if you’ve never seen it. I was watching the newest season a few months back and there was a scene that resonated with me. President Frank Underwood is scheming with Claire Underwood when he asks “Where does the real power lie? The power behind the power… How much higher can a politician go? The real power isn’t here. It’s beyond here.” And I thought this was a totally apt analogy for the Student Union world. Does the power truly lie with the Student Union executives that meet with university administrators and politicians, who have the money to do pet projects, and who set the direction of a multi-million dollar not-for-profit organization? Or does the power lie with a tiny, online-only media publication that operates 8 months a year and relies on the Student Union to exist? Frank has me convinced that the power is held by the latter, but then again Frank makes you believe all sorts of things.

So, it looks like writing for The Cadre is my third proverbial kick at the can with the Student Union. I’m hoping to write some features on the great stuff that goes on behind-the-scenes on campus and in the community, along with some satire, which seems to be one of the few ways to cope with today’s world (by the way, Bugatti Biebs and Selena broke up). Maybe I’ll do an okay job. Or maybe I’ll do very poorly and embarrass myself. Whatever it might be, it certainly cannot be as bad as wishing for a giant fucking pumpkin head.

Nate Hood

nhood@upei.ca