Right now, if I asked you if you needed something, what would you say?
Would it be a new car? Money? Perhaps you are needing something on a more intellectual basis like inspiration, motivation, or knowledge.
For this assignment, with the only instructions being to hand out 12 individual sodas and to record the experience, I decided to create the illusion of giving people what they “need” with the help of a Coke can, or 24.
I wrote down needs that people would really have to consider, for instance: a second chance, time, faith, courage, etc. Then, upon realizing I was planning to hand these out on a hill to a bunch of kids who had been tailgating all afternoon in preparation for the first Morningside football game of the season, I decided to throw some other “needs” in the mix. These “needs” went along the lines of: chaser, more beer, an athletic bone, sleep, etc.
The reaction of these 18 to 23 year old Morningside College students and their responses to what a “need” was interested me.
So I walked up the massive hill with my crate of Coke cans, and as I’m trying to keep my footing halfway to the top, I see a woman running towards me.
“Is that beer? Do you have beer?” she asked.
“No, but I have a refreshing Coke,” I responded, trying my best to sound convincing, I found this to be a great opportunity to figure out how the rest of the students would possibly react.
The woman gave a disappointing, or maybe even disapproving, sigh and walked away.
That is when I thought, Oh great… These people don’t want refreshing Cokes! They want alcohol, booze, more beer! How are they going to take to this project? However, I continued my trek up the steep hill, and decided I wasn’t backing down. More so because that was one giant hill, and my apartment seemed forever away.
Curiosity arose as I walked up to the group of hill-goers, or as they like to refer to themselves “Allee-holics,” a student formed group named after our Allee-Verdoorn gym on campus. They have deemed themselves the unofficial, slightly obnoxious, cheerleaders for all the sports games (especially football, basketball, and volleyball).
I hadn’t quite thought through my approach… Should I walk up to people and ask them to pick one, or should I just set the crate down and let people respond to it however they want?
I opted for the first approach, at least at first. I went up to a group, two guys and one girl I knew from the soccer team. She wasn’t drinking, so I figured she could use a Coke.
“Whaaat is thisss?” asked one of the boys in a suspicious almost criticizing tone.
The girl in the group recognized what I was doing and tried to explain, which I was thankful about.
“Take what you need,” she began, “You have to pick something that you need right now.”
Then, she reached for the can that read “More Beer,” which I found to be pretty fitting.
In the meantime the second boy in the group had been reading them over, he had selected the can that read “A Second Chance,” but after having reading the rest of them he put the can back.
“Time,” he read, and opted for that can instead.
With my inquiring mind, and the fact that this was all an assignment for my News Feature and Writing class, I asked him why he had changed his mind.
“Because with time, I wouldn’t need a second chance. I would just have more time to do things,” he said.
I don’t know if I would have used that choice of words, but I think I understood what he was getting at.
The first boy had selected during that time the can that had read “Sleep.” With his bloodshot eyes it definitely looked like he could use more. Or, that could have just been the effect of the amount of alcohol he had probably ingested prior, either way.
After the group of the three walked away, I found people just pointing and staring. I’m not one to enjoy being the center of attention, so I thought I would now go for the second approach.
The Allee-holics had been done grilling for sometime, so I sat the crate on a ledge protruding from the grill. Then I placed the sign that read “Take What You Need” above the crate, and walked away.
For a while the crate was ignored, even avoided. However, the more alcohol intake, the more snoopy people became.