Chicken Soup for the Berkeley Soul

The Dog by Sara Medano

One day, I was walking along Telegraph, feeling depressed. A little girl – she might have been about eight years old – approached me. She had a small dog following behind her. It was a mottled brown mutt, with a tarnished copper tag hanging from its collar. The tag on the collar said, “Soupbone.” It was a funny name. Normally, I wouldn’t give any money to a street beggar, but she was so sweet, and the dog was so cute, that I gave her five dollars. She hugged me and ran down the street.

The whole day, I thought about that little girl, and it made me feel good that I had helped her out. I decided that I would give more to people who needed it. I also decided to get lunch. I went to a Chinese restaurant and ordered a chicken dish, I think. It came with rice and soup. What a surprise – when I ate the soup, I bit into something hard. I pulled the spoon out, and lo and behold, I had bit into a little copper tag that read, “Soupbone.” Oh, how I laughed and laughed.

The Greek System by Heather McMaster

When I came to Berkeley, I never thought I would join a sorority. I wanted to come to Berkeley to be in a liberal, free-thinking atmosphere, and the sororities seemed – well, they just didn’t seem to fit in with my image of what college should be. But then one day, the sisters at Phi Upsilon Kappa came to my dorm. They showed me a list of people who had never been in a sorority: Charles Manson, the Marquis de Sade, and Darth Vader. I did a little research and it turned out they were right! Well, I joined right away, and I’ve never been happier! Some people think that’s because of the massive amount of Prozac I take daily, but I’m pretty sure it’s the sorority. Byeeee!

Fitting In by Kyle VanSchliger

In high school, I was pretty much a loser. I thought coming to college would change all that. But people still didn’t like me. No one would talk to me. I always stayed at home on the weekends. No one would sit with me in the Dining Commons. My roommate would invite people into our room, so they could watch as he urinated on me. So I killed him.

**Drugs by Jacob Idelson **

My roommate freshman year was a real straight arrow, you know? He got terrific grades, had a nice girlfriend named Stacey, and played baseball for the team. Everybody liked him. One night, he came back to our room acting all funny and stuff. I asked him what was up, and he told me he had just smoked marijuana for the first time. He liked it. He smoked a lot more after that. His grades started to suffer. He tries other things, like LSD and psychoactive mushrooms. His girlfriend left him. He got depressed, so he tried harder stuff, too, like cocaine. He got kicked off the team after that. That’s when his heroin habit started. Sometimes, it really hurts to think about all that wasted potential. Then I remember how much money I made selling to him, and I don’t feel so bad.

Affirmative Action by Christopher McManus

I owe where I am today to affirmative action. I didn’t do very well in high school. In fact, I was – and still am – illiterate [Editor’s note: this is a transcript of an audio cassette] I always knew, though, that I wanted to come to Cal. So I got myself an application, and filled it out as best I could. [chuckle] It turns out I accidentally marked down that I was a lesbian Pacific Islander! I was admitted the next week! If anyone tells you that affirmative action doesn’t do any good, look at my story – I’m living proof that the system works! Thank you, BAMN! And thank you Philosophy Department, for proving once and for all that you don’t have to be able to read to get a degree from Berkeley.