Jack Dickey

Jack Dickey

Tonight’s Senior Wisdom: Jack Dickey, the guy who broke Manti Te’o

Name, Hometown, School: Jack Dickey, Guilford, Conn., CC

Claim to fame? Deadspin writer, English major. Spent senior winter break proving that a famous football player’s famous dead girlfriend never existed (Bwog: see above link). Still managed to finish my thesis on time.

Where are you going? Probably some far-flung part of Brooklyn? I’m not really at peace with it yet. Eventually–give it 15 years or so–I’ll be going to a saltwater farm in Maine. But before that I have to make enough money to buy the farm, or at least enough to convince the woman brave enough to join me there that I’m not a deadbeat. Which is why, upon graduation, I’m joining the booming field of journalism full-time.

3 things you learned at Columbia:

  • 1. Don’t be a jackass. I’ll confine myself to the school-related forms of jackassery, since you should have figured out the rest already. Interrupting someone who’s raised her hand and waited her turn: That’s being a jackass. Using words when you don’t know what they mean: That’s being a jackass. Not doing the reading for a seminar: That’s being a jackass. Messing around on your iPhone during a seminar: That’s being a jackass. Interrupting someone to talk about readings in words you don’t understand when you haven’t done the work but have spent most of class on your iPhone: Well, you know already. (Read all of that in the style of Rex Ryan in Hard Knocks.) Now for the horrible confession. Before Columbia, I was, if not a full-blown jackass, a sloppy student always looking for the next corner to cut. Boo. The other side of things, while a little more demanding, is far peachier. The best part? On the odd occasions where you feel you just have to be a jackass, you’ve earned enough respect to be one!
  • 2. Your professors and peers are super-smart. So many people at Columbia are amazingly bright and hard-working. I went to hoity-toity prep school and spent my first year of undergrad at hoity-toity liberal arts college, and neither was in this galaxy. One English seminar I took on a whim junior year—a course offered for the first time, and by a first-year professor to boot—blew my mind so thoroughly that I’m still plastering over some cranial holes. There were a couple of undergrads in that class who were sharp enough to lead English seminars on their own; I was happy enough just to be along for the ride and slobber out the window. So go somewhere! To the land of Wordsworth and Byron, or to the American 1960s, or wherever. College may not wind up being The Best Four Years Of Your Life™, but (here especially) it’s not something to grit your teeth and muddle through, you know?
  • 3. Long walks are the most cost-efficient form of therapy you’ll ever find. New York is a walker’s city. Riverside Drive can be your pal and confidant; West End, too.

Back in my day…. We had to guess when the next 1 train was coming. Deciding whether to disembark and wait for an express at 96th Street: AGONY.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I spent one Thursday hanging out in Tampa with Gary Sheffield (for Sports on Earth) and still made it back in time for Nick Dames’s 9 a.m. seminar on Friday.

Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: @River Hall: You’re hot. [Haven’t been since September.] Single? [Definitely.] Drinks? [Not really.]

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? The Deadspin offices are in Nolita, and on a quick walk down Mott Street one can find both of the aforementioned at unbeatable quality and competitive prices. If you’re ever lucky enough to set foot in Di Palo’s, and you try their mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano, you will have a tough time answering this question, as I do. Ask me again after I’ve left New York and can find only Velveeta and Land O’Lakes! Then I will be resolute.

One thing to do before graduating: I dunno… become a Marxist, I guess? You can always renege on this, and go into banking, or volunteer for Rand Paul’s 2024 presidential campaign, or hunt the working poor for sport—whatever it is idealists do when they grow up. No one will ever have to know how soft you were in college. But you have the privilege of spending your undergraduate education at a fancy college in New York City, of all places, during the Great Recession. You kinda have to think about class.

Any regrets? Lots! I’ve been stuck on the same “Things I Need To Do” Post-It for 14 months. (And this is to say nothing of the things I have done that I wish I hadn’t.) But I’ve got, what, a couple weeks? I’ll be able to get to it all. Part of me does wish I had another year here, though, and not because of all of the people I could meet or classes I could take, although those are all nice. Really, I’m just not ready to retire from floor hockey.