Column: The taste of life

By Gus Bode

After starting my job on the Shawnee Wine Trail, I have learned many things beyond the fact that wine makes for one heck of a hangover.

But out of all the things I thought I would learn, a life lesson was not one of them.

Each weekend I encounter all kinds of drinkers. There are the wine connoisseurs who sniff, sip, swish and finally swallow each sample slowly. (Oh yeah, say that one five times fast.)


And then we have those, namely the younger crowd, who gulp down samples only to chase them with the next wine sample. However, I have found the significant difference between these two types of drinkers is their ultimate goal.

On one hand, the connoisseurs drink to relish the new experience, while most others have one thing in mind – consumption.

Sure these “consumers” can be amusing at times. But after weeks and weeks of work, I have begun to admire the real tasters and to wonder if their technique for appreciating wine could be applied to how I live and appreciate my life. Could I, in fact, taste my life experiences rather than simply consuming one after another?

If you think about it, the true things we value in life are experiences and not how much we are able to consume. How many times have you woken from a Friday or Saturday night and not remembered the events of the previous night.

I mean, sure, there are clues like the taste of cheap rum in your mouth and the half-eaten Wise Guys sandwich in your hand. But in reality, you have completely missed out on the memory of the experience, which is really the only thing you will be able to take with you after leaving Southern.

Take tailgating, for example. How many students go tailgating, only to have to read the DAILY EGYPTIAN the next day to find out what actually happened at the game? We are stuck on the act of consuming beer, hot dogs, hamburgers and chips rather than the experience of going to the game.

Why else do you think SIU was rated one of the “Worst College Sports Towns” and “Fattest College Campus”? So here’s my suggestion, tailgate. But then paint your face, wear maroon and actually go to the game and make an experience out of it.


I hate to sound like my mom, but this is actually something she has always preached to me. She was less about consumption and more about gaining experience in college and coming out with lifelong friends and memories.

On the other hand, my dad has great drinking stories as an alumnus of SIU, but he can’t really put faces with those stories because there is a difference between drinking buddies and those you actually share experiences with.

There’s more to Southern than just drinking, and if it takes you too long to realize that, then there won’t be very many good memories or true friends to take with you when you leave.

Explore, discover and relish your experience. In essence, take time to “taste” your life.

Laura Teegarden is a senior studying journalism.