Basics go brick hunting

Upon entering their senior year, most Bobcats create an Athens bucket list. It’s almost guaranteed that liberating an “Athens Block” brick from Court Street or College Green will be on that list.

Athens Block by Erin Nekervis
Athens Block” by Erin Nekervis is licensed under CC by 2.0.

This has been a tradition for years, and many alumni proudly display bricks in their offices or homes. Brick liberation generally occurs in the dark of night and as quickly as possible.

But what happens when two #basic best friends decide to get their own bricks? Erica Frank and I — the most basic of basics — were determined to find out.

But first, we need to discuss the basics of #basic. Most college students are both familiar with and annoyed with the term due to its recent spike in popularity.

When you think basic, picture a 20-something white girl wearing leggings, Uggs, a puffer vest and a Kate Spade cross-body while clutching a venti Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte with her perfectly manicured hand. But this “basic” image is used for stereotyping and demeaning insults. So I have to ask: What is so wrong with any of that? What is wrong with liking Starbucks or being comfortable in what are basically a giant hug for your feet (yes I’m talking about Uggs).

Quite frankly, I think the basic life is the best life to lead. Joining me in that belief is Erica, a Ohio University senior and my basic best friend.

When we began our journey to get Erica her senior year brick, we really didn’t think things through. From parking mishaps (which thankfully were not caught on video) to not being able to find a true Athens Block brick to forgetting any sort of tool that might have helped us extract the brick, we failed on every level. As a result, no bricks were liberated and we gave up to both escape the foul stench that plagued us all evening (Court Street will never smell like roses) and to meet our friends to play pool — poorly.

Despite the stereotype, basics take their homework and professional work very seriously so it was a few days before Erica and I could regroup to plan our next clandestine outing to search for bricks. But during that time, I had received some intriguing information from James Robinson, CEO of Athens Bricks LLC.

I had begun the interview thinking he would say it’s wrong to steal bricks and that you shouldn’t do it out of principle. Instead, he shared some hard facts that would make anyone (basic or otherwise) rethink carrying out this tradition.

“The only problem with this tradition is when they tear out one brick, it creates damage to the whole area,” Robinson said. “The bricks will shift even after just four days. You can’t just replace one brick with another. Each street is hand fitted together. You pull out one and pull out a string in a ball of yarn. The city has to tear up the entire area to replace even just one stolen brick. The whole area can begin to sag and it’s like a domino affect. The bricks will move to fill in the gap. The city has to spend a lot of money and man hours to fix all the areas it affects.”

His story opened our eyes to the damage even a small action could inflict. We were beginning to realize that maybe stealing a brick wasn’t a very basic thing to do …

Because in the end, basics don’t steal … they go shopping!

Guide To Brick Shopping
Athens Block Official Website
Featured product: Authentic Athens Block Brick – $30.00

Mountain Laurel Gifts
25 S. Court St., Athens
Featured product: Athens Block Brick Vase – $40.00

Ohio University Alumni Online Store
Featured product: Athens Block Key Chain – $15.00

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Sarah Rachul is a junior majoring in strategic communications and minoring in sports management and visual communications at Ohio University. She is a self-described basic who would die without always having a Starbucks within a 2-mile radius. Her other interests include Disney World, playing golf in all black (because it’s slimming) and trying new recipes she finds from hours of surfing through Pinterest. You can check out some of her other work on her website and professionally stalk her on LinkedIn

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