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We Tried and Failed to Do a Handstand For 20 Minutes Outside the Union, and Here’s What We Found


College is a time to ask fundamental questions. What does it mean to be a person, an occupant of space and time? How best can one use their time on this planet? What does it mean to live more perfectly, to pursue better-ness on every level? These are the questions we struggle with. On the quest for these answers, and in the hopes of grasping some form of inner peace, we attempted to do a handstand for 20 minutes outside the Union.

Minute 00:00-00:23



Ah, the Union. Built of brick and concrete, and soaked in the sweat and tears of MSU’s undergrads. We took this moment to survey our environment. People were walking in and out of the entrance in front of us, a couple was having lunch on a bench not three hundred feet adjacent, and the air around us was crisp. We were filled with hope: doing this handstand would give us all the answers we need.




Our transition to the sitting position was tough, but vital, for one cannot execute the coveted “handstand” without first lowering one’s center of gravity. Our heart was pounding and goosebumps were forming on our calves. This was the real deal, there was no going back.





Hands down on the Union’s warm concrete, likely poured by heat-exhausted, sloppily sweaty laborers whistling the Phil Collins classic “In the Air Tonight,” we could feel blood rush to our ears. Oh, sweet baby Jesus. This was really happening. The passersby giving us weird looks had grown more frequent, as though the organism of MSU’s campus was sending antibodies to attack a rogue agent. Nevertheless, we persisted.






Ever the strict rationalists, we define handstands as the elevation of both feet, meaning the lifting of one foot equates to half the battle. As we raised our left heel high, we could feel the handstand’s magic working on us. The vague, arbitrary impetus behind existence suddenly snapped into focus, as though we were peering through a trippy kaleidoscope. Drunk on this half-epiphany, we turned all our energy into the full Monty: go big handstand, or go home handstand.





To quote George Harrison: “My sweet Lord.” Both our feet had left the ground, constituting a technical standing on hands. A swirl of flashing light and color engulfed our vision, as though the entire universe was sucked through a pinhole and reemerged anew. The colors of autumn’s beginning shone brighter than the sun, and my our was filled to the brim with love. Some people trek atop the highest mountain peaks and dedicate their lives to meditation to achieve this bliss. We had done it in two minutes and 51 seconds outside MSU’s Union building.




The ecstasy of our existential epiphany was too great to bear. We had to release ourselves from the clasp of our kinda-handstand to spread our spiritual gratefulness across the surrounding environment, increasing the weird looks tenfold. In the throes of psilocybic passion, we embraced the near light pole, for it too had participated in our monastic growth.




Our body began acting separately from our mind, and launched into the hot late-2000s trend of planking. This beautiful and surprisingly painful pose somehow conveyed our pure joy to the Union entrance’s railings, and showed the world that we had achieved enlightenment.





In a delicious and strange twist, our head found its naturally favored place: a trash can. As our heart rate lowered and our body cooled, we came back to our senses while inside this garbage container, and it felt more right than anything we’d experienced before. It was as though our head was the key, the trash can, the lock, and we had cracked open the safe of belonging and security lacking in our life previous.


Who knew that failing to do a handstand for 20 minutes outside the Union would lead to us discovering our life’s purpose: sticking our head in trash cans. Since this adventure, we’ve eaten all our meals in trash cans, we’ve slept in trash cans, and at this very moment, we’re writing this article within the confines of our smelly new home. We are who we are, and we’re proud to say it: we are a trash can dweller, and were it not for our misadventures in human research on MSU’s campus, we would never have discovered our true passion and calling.


[Thanks to Helena Narowski for the photos.]




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