The Naked Mile

So, I’m watching television last night flipping around the channels trying to find something other than Letterman or Riverdance and I come upon a re-broadcast of the Naked Mile on public television.

For those of you unfamiliar with this phenomenon, it’s basically one night in April (last day of classes at University of Michigan, Winter Term) of every year where hundreds of college students get drunk and run around downtown Ann Arbor, MI. Naked.

Yes, naked. Or half-naked. Or fully-clothed. Now, I’m not sure where or how this event came to be, and I’m not sure if I want to know. However, I am a very curious person by nature, so I did what i always do when in search of answers. I hit the web. At 2:00 A.M. Naked.

And I came across few pages. Including the history of how the Naked Mile came to be. Yeah, you can pretty much guess that it started with some drunk college kids.

Now, I don’t know about you, but pretty much everyone I know would declare that they wouldn’t do such a thing as run naked through a campus with hundreds of other naked people and thousands of spectators at the stroke of midnight with TV news crews and CNN filming the whole thing. But….

It appears to me that the power of peer pressure and social acceptance is the main attraction here. The old saying, “Would you jump off a cliff if everyone else is doing it?” certainly pertains here. Most people would say no, but when confronted with the actual decision, they cave in and conform.

Jonestown, anyone?

So, the time is coming upon us again in Ann Arbor to bear witness to hundreds of drunken college students doing what only comes naturally: making complete asses of themselves and having a good time doing it [pun intended].

Posted by Cameron Barrett at March 18, 1998 11:59 PM

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