Saturday, June 14, 2008

I See.... The BYU Underground

Brigham Young University... The bright white Y and the big blue cougar... Rise and shout, the Cougars are out!... The Lord’s University... the center of the academically spiritual universe... the Mormon marriage factory... where goodness, virtue, and righteousness abound... this is the Provo I know.

Or do I?

In days of yore, when disco didn’t die as quickly as it should have and Michael Jackson was moonwalking, I walked freely amongst the BYU Underground - the crusty crew of subterranean dwellers too poor to live, study, work, pray, and date above ground. We lived in the basements of old homes below campus; we studied in the lower floors of the Lee Library; we worked cleaning the bottom floors of Eyring Science Center; we took our dates bowling underneath the Wilkinson Center; and we prayed in the access tunnels underneath the Marriott Center seating that the General Authority about to speak would speak to us personally.

I took a risk one BYU summer, a risk with my social life and my budget, and left the underground; I moved to the third floor of Romance Gardens, a student housing project off of Ninth East, for Spring Term. There I was introduced to a whole new world above ground; one of pool parties, midnight frisbee frolics, and a beautiful young woman who baked the best cinnamon bread and laughed at the worst jokes. I lived for her touch; I studied with her on the upper floors of the Lee Library, and worked for the money and prayed for the privilege of dating her again.

I’ve lived above ground ever since, and now I enjoy the privilege of meeting her almost every night after work. We both enjoy, however, watching movies in our basement!


  1. I love this 3rd-eye view of campus life and true love! I suspect we all have our moments — or years — spent literally or figuratively underground.

    The movies in the basement keep it all in balance.

  2. I remember those movies in your basement in Pasadena from when I would babysit. I also remember that they were numbered and cataloged video-store style. It was quite impressive!