Editor’s Column – Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Kimmy Cunningham

So, I have the greatest job in the world. No, I don’t make two grand a week as an I-Banker, nor do I have the respect of my esteemed coworkers, nor do I make minimum wage. However, I do have the pleasure of serving alcoholic beverages to the greater portion of the Colgate community. That’s right, I work at a liquor store, the liquor store: Village Wine & Spirits.

In lieu of recent accusations that the Maroon-News and, more importantly, my section lack substance, I’d like to focus not on the fact that VWS is conveniently located downtown next to Slices and The Barge. There will be no mention in this article that students can (illegally) park right outside with their flashers on. In fact, I’m going to completely ignore the fact that the friendly and helpful staff at my beloved liquor store has a seemingly infinite amount of information on the best mixers, chasers, food accompaniments and hangover cures for every product we sell. Such information would merely be advertisements and would certainly qualify as unsubstantial.

However, I would like to point out the more educational aspects of my job. My boss is one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever encountered. From online poker moves, to wine, to eBay ploys, to the history of Hamilton, NY, Don knows it all. For the duration of this semester thus far, I have learned a great deal about which bars used to be popular, the restaurants that have come and gone and generally what it is like to grow up in Hamilton. For example, ever wonder why the Risky Business is commonly referred to as the Bacon? Well, before Mary (the bartender, owner and creator of the infamous Mary’s Special) bought the bar in the mid-1980s, it was a bar and breakfast joint called the “Back Bacon Beer Parlor”. Mary changed the name to “Risky Business” almost 20 years ago, yet the nickname the Bacon continues to be passed on from class to class.

Of all of Don’s stories, the most striking aspect is the constant separation between Colgate and Hamilton residents. Although Colgate is known for having a solid “Town/Gown” relationship, I think this bond is a bit superficial. Unless students are involved with Sidekicks or are avid barhoppers, I do not think I am alone when I say that contact with local residents does not extend beyond, “Credit, Visa,” at Grand Union.

I find this segregation extremely troubling. After all, I do not ignore the high school students, grocery store workers or gas station attendants in my hometown. In fact, when I’m home for the summer, I am a townie. Yet, because Colgate is such a large percentage of Hamilton’s population, there is somewhat of a natural divide.

And Colgate students aren’t the only contributors to this partition; I’ve heard several Hamilton residents allude to somebody using “Daddy’s credit card,” or being a “Rich Bitch.” Such comments certainly do not help unify the community.

Although there may never be perfect harmony between Hamilton “townies” and Colgate “snobs and brats”, we can at least be a bit more civil. The easiest way to accomplish this: get a job downtown. According to Don, there is actually a waitlist for students who would like to work at Village Wine & Spirits (even my position is only temporary, as I am simply reserving the shift for a friend who is abroad). However, there are certainly other opportunities to work as waiters, deliverers, hosts, cashiers and babysitters. And look at the upside; you get to meet interesting people who can often tell you a great deal about the town in which we live (did you know the Jug used to be a sit-down, restaurant-style establishment?) and your booze funds are covered every week.

So, be sure to stop by Village Wine & Spirits on Saturdays from 4-8 p.m. for Don’s expert wine advice and my constant failure using the cash register. Oh, and leave a big tip.