Get it crackin’ in KC yaddadymean?

We walk into a dimly-lit rectangular room where self-respect goes to shrivel up and die. Across the writhing mass of journalism students clumped in the middle of the room prances a teenage boy flaunting tight-fitting, pink short-shorts that he thought would be funny to wear, but most likely regretted this decision later due to the fact that tremendous embarrassment could strike him at any moment.Tam News sweatshirts are thrown into a pile in the corner of the room as Ke$ha’s “Take it Off” is playing so softly out of the speakers that a full conversation could take place with ease. As we migrate towards the orgy of journalism enthusiasts, the square they brought in to DJ queues up Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.” A collective groan sounds from our herd of badassery as we start to draw conclusions about the rapidly decreasing fun-factor of this event. Subgroups attempt to break away and have a taste of the local flavors, but many return hungry. Many of us begin to doubt Kansas City’s ability to “get it crackin” as each subsequent song is played. It begins to feel like a “sweet 16” party rather than the mighty journalism trip dance we had heard so many good things about back home. An unknown country song clearly meant for slow dancing tiptoes across the room for a good 30 seconds until a collective chant of “bullsh-t” starts to resound from the entire crowd. The squarebear eventually catches onto the fact that he should most likely get a new job as he scrambles to change the song.

A few mainstream hip-hop tracks later, the group morale takes a nose-dive as Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8ter Boy” timidly pokes its head out of the speakers almost as if it knows it is not wanted. Select members of our group desperately make an effort to enjoy themselves, and one staff member even attempts to select a song on the laptop when squarebear isn’t looking. He notices that a member of our pack is trying to infiltrate his inner sanctum so he takes out his trusty flashlight and shines it in the face of the evildoer. The beast is instantly repelled by the intense light of squarebear’s mighty wand. Meanwhile, a fellow warrior is seduced by a voluptuous young lady as we all watch in awe. After a brief conversation, he is engulfed by the sheer power of her backend as we cheer him on.

After desperately trying to request songs that our group can, as the cool kids in the Bay Area say, “get hyphy” to, a kernel of hope builds from the speakers. The one and only Vallejo rapper Mac Dre’s “Thizzle Dance” triumphantly bursts into the crowd as we put our rivalry aside and join forces with Redwood students for the greater good of mankind. A glorious circle is formed where three Tam News warriors dance so majestically that flying dolphins frolic around the room, leprechauns break into a merry jig, and all of the other girls in the audience are instantly impregnated. Soon the circle fills with the remaining staff members as the rest of the students from across the U.S. stand dumfounded and stop dancing. To top it off, we begin a chant of “T-high, you know,” and to our surprise, a select few other students join in as well. After the chant comes to halt, we leave the premises after the mist clears as gods among men and head back to the hotel to start the after party. The Midwest simply isn’t cool enough to handle the ferocious might of the Tam News.

Written by Hank Brown. This article originally appeared in the January 2010 issue.