Consignment shop

The campus is a trash can. The debate is over

Just to be clear, your campus is trash.

Every generation of OSU students or locals thinks their generation’s version of the High Street corridor was better than any version that currently exists. I want the record to show that this is a debate that is officially and empirically dead. The fact that you can call it a hallway and not attract attention is almost all that needs to be said, because back then it was a “strip”.

The debate was arguably dead once Campus Partners came along and started buying and razing properties around the early 2000s. Still, as long as some staples were still there, you could at least argue that some of the old land of trampling were still dirty.

You could buy food for a dollar at several places, which was necessary because many businesses that lined the strip were open late, which is also the case with Catfish Biff. High Street is full of places to eat as long as the sun is up. At midnight, you might as well go home. Campus always wants to get you drunk, but that’s about all it wants to do. So not only does your campus suck now; it is irresponsible.

Perhaps the biggest crime on campus these days is that it’s boring. No buying nunchucks from random head shops, no comic book vaults, no record stores, no place to buy a guitar and live a poor life playing for beer for your college years. All High Street now consists of eating and drinking, maybe a Gateway film debut if you have some spare cash.

Old people always pass off the horrible and dangerous conditions they lived in as a golden age. I understand that I am dangerously close to doing the same thing here. But at least I’m right. Every campus before the one we have now was at least capable of surprising.

The nail in the coffin for me was Bernie’s Bagels and Deli. When the literal underground restaurant and garage band bar was sold off and ripped out of the ground to build a target, that was the end of the campus I knew or really wanted to be a part of. My older brother was in a band playing in the High Street before I was old enough to attend anything, so in my mind campus has always been this wild, heady mix of live psychedelic music and neon hedonism. He mentioned having played at Bernie’s and what the place was like. I remember he even took me there once or twice when my mother put him in charge of babysitting. It would have been during the day, when the band was getting ready for a gig later or whatever. I was freaked out at the thought of walking down the stairs into the belly of the High Street, then into a bohemian riff on a bomb shelter that sold sandwiches. Years later, when I was making hip-hop beats and later as a DJ, I set myself the goal of getting booked at Bernie’s. It was a kind of game of thrones inheritance situation: There must always be a Woods playing Bernie’s. Needless to say, those were good nights, even when I only had five people in the room.

Does one of the current ne’er-do-wells on campus have a place where they can cosplay as a musician for a few years in front of their drunken friends, then stumble into a late-night restaurant? Or a music store where you might run into music legend Willie Phoenix before a gig, or try to get your album placed on consignment? What am I talking about? music is free now.

When I was a teenager and had friends who drove, campus was an early conquest. Whenever I could get to the High Street Strip, I would go to Greek Village to find the best gyro in town, I would go right by the Silver Ball amusement arcade and hang out for a while, and if I was still hungry, I would walk through a door. again and press Subway. This was back when Subway wasn’t everywhere, and the place smelled strongly of olive oil. It smelled like a sub-place should: meaty. You don’t have any of that now. Even your retro arcade is too sterile and should be the grossest thing on the street.

Scott Woods

My God, we lived like kings. And like kings, we thought we would reign forever. Campus Partners had to kill our campus – the last of the big campus strips – because we would have swallowed this mall you call the Short North whole. At least we still have Buckeye Donuts. Once it’s gone, you might as well turn off the lights.

Hope you enjoy your Raising Cane’s and Starbucks. I know I look old and bitter. It’s because I’m on both counts. But I warm my bones with the searing knowledge that my campus was empirically and undoubtedly better than yours.

Scott Woods is a poet, cultural critic, essayist and founder of the arts association Streetlight Guild.