“Hello there.”

“Hey, how’s it going? How was your break?”

“It was fine, I guess. How was yours?”

“Fine.”

Boring conversations like this are happening all over campus. But some of us have more interesting things to say. You may have noticed piles of goo in random locations that the custodial staff is trying desperately to clean up. Those are the spots where people have had the gall to ask how my break was. Their heads exploded when I told them.

My break was not just “fine”—my break was astounding, fantastic, and dangerous all rolled into one. It was “fantounderous.” Why should a simple winter break warrant the invention of a new word? Well, I’ll tell you. The first thing I did this break was run home as fast as I could, which happens to be about the same as the average speed of Brie Mayer’s Prius. I ran for 36 hours. I ran through sleet and snow, through hail and ice, through Kansas and Kansas, through more Kansas and still through Kansas. There was a lot of freaking Kansas.

When I finally got home, America held a feast in my honor. You know it as “Thanksgiving,” but that is only the first part of its technical name. Its traditional name is “Thanksgiving for Ben Frederick, because he is awesome.  Signed, George Washington on horseback.” I had an excellent time being grateful for myself, and I’m sure you, my extremely large and devoted fan-base, did too.

The next week I decided to get a job, not because I needed the money, (Lord knows I’ve gotten enough from the genius grants) but because I needed to maintain my persona as an unassuming, tall, handsome, brown-haired, funny, charming, college student. I called up a contact who got me on the short list for an entry-level job at UPS. It was a new seasonal position known simply as “Package Ninja.” My job was to infiltrate houses and deliver packages without anyone knowing I was ever there. Why? I didn’t ask questions. That’s the first rule of Pack-jitsu. I learned that my sensei was a man known simply as “Mike.” I Googled him, but all I discovered was that Mike had a moustache, and was, in fact, a man. Before I began my training with Sensei Mike, I had to go through initiation. I expected the worst, and that’s what it was. Initiation began with a series of lectures designed not to break the spirit, but to force the spirit to break itself. Lecture topics included: How to Properly Pick Up a Package, Your Back and its Importance, Dog Aware! Staying Safe Around Our Furry Friends, The Importance of Remaining Unseen, and What to Do in the Eventuality of a Nude Customer. After seventeen hours of this, my unconscious body, still reflexively trying to stab itself with a ballpoint pen, was handed over to Sensei Mike.

Training consisted of waking up every day at one o’clock in the afternoon and working on Pack-jitsu until midnight. After that, I would spar with Sensei Mike until 3 a.m., when we took a break for food. My only meal of the day consisted of a humble bowl of rice with a single, wafer-thin slice of tofu, followed by a punch to the face. After two days of training, I mastered Pack-jitsu and defeated Mike in Mortal Kombat, and then again in mortal combat. I was awarded Mike’s moustache as a trophy and badge of honor for my new station: Pack-Master Ben.

I worked for about a month as a Master Package Ninja. I entered houses unseen and emerged from them leaving behind only packages and orphans (who will eventually hunt me down to avenge their fallen parents). I grew bored with the daily grind right around Christmastime, so I decided to take a break and fly down to L.A. Side note: My powers of flight are fueled by the collective disgust of Americans felt up by TSA agents. Once in L.A., I met up with my good friend Jack Bauer (the actual Jack Bauer, not Kiefer Sutherland’s namby-pamby primetime television version—imagine the first three seasons of 24 crammed into six hours, and you still aren’t even close) to exchange Secret Santa gifts. I got him a gift certificate to Borders, and he made me a picture frame with a picture of us in it and the words “Best Friends Forever” around the outside in glitter. Jack and I are the only members of the Totally Awesome Gentlemen’s Club, which is not, I repeat, not a Gentlemen’s Club, but rather a Club for Totally Awesome Gentlemen. (We had the name first, why should we give it up?) Former members include Plato, Da Vinci, Henry V and VIII, Thomas Edison, Merlin, Huckleberry Finn, Ivan the Terrible and his cousin Dirk the Less Frightening, Einstein, Walt Disney, Pancho Villa, Owl from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and the host of the 90s game show “Legends of the Hidden Temple.”

After a few relaxing days with Jack, during which we saved the world several times over and rescued puppies and kittens from the clutches of our previously orphaned nemeses, I flew home. I had only a few days to relax before I came back to school, where I eased back into my Ben Frederick persona.
So that was my winter break. Don’t tell me about yours, it isn’t nearly as awesome. You can break out into standing ovation… now. Ben Frederick out.

P.S. I wrote this article over break, about two weeks before I came back to school. Any correlation to fictional clubs I may be part of is purely coincidental. Seriously. Ask my mom, she knows.

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