Grinnell is a place full of incredibly ticklish things. By that, I obviously mean things that are amusing, exciting, pleasing, enchanting. In casual conversation, groups of Grinnell students have even been known to bestow the honor of “tickle city” on the most extraordinary. Starting today, I’ll be performing an exhaustive ongoing search for ticklishness in all the nooks and crannies of Grinnell, selecting the most impressive and reporting about them here.

But what can win the Grinnell Tickle City Award, you ask? In short, just about anything. It could be a student band that puts on a ticklish show or a spectacular play in intramural flag football. It might be an unlikely study spot where some students get their most ticklish work done. It could even be a student who puts away 20 cod nuggets at lunch or earns the first ever free Spencer Grill panini after purchasing ten with their sandwich card. Or a heroic campus bike that just won’t give up even after losing both handlebars.

Most often it is these little things that combine to make Grinnell a truly ticklish place. Each week I will focus on one or two of them and explain why I’ve chosen them for the Grinnell Tickle City Award. If you think someone or something you know is deserving, don’t hesitate to tell [walshand] why. It could even be you!

This week we’ll get going by introducing a couple candidates for my next column, the first official Grinnell Tickle City Award.
Authentic Mexican food, for one, is strong out of the gate and is presenting a good case why it may prove to be tickle city this fall. We already know and love Casa Margaritas, serving up big plates and gigante margaritas. When the restaurant opened back in 2004 complete with a 12 piece mariachi band, it satisfied a Mexican craving that had been driving some Grinnell students mad. But like a TV sitcom in desperate need of new characters, the Mexican food market is looking at an injection of new drama this upcoming season.

Two new restaurants, La Cabaña and Lasfajitas, comically situated less than a block from each other on Main Street, approach their own grand openings. The three restaurants will fight hard to claim the spotlight. Which will succeed and which will get pushed into the background or dropped entirely? Will restaurant goers become flustered and rush to familiar Taco Bell for bacon cheesy potato burritos? Stay tuned to find out. Authentic Mexican food—definitely looking ticklish so far…

Heading back to campus, Phase 2 of the Athletic and Fitness Center looks like it’s been getting pretty ticklish since we all left it alone a few months ago. Not to be confused with the Phase 2 Consignment Shop on 912 Main St., the new natatorium and fieldhouse are really starting to take shape after looking like little more than holes in the ground when we last checked in. According to Grinnell’s online update, these facilities are an integral part of the liberal arts tradition and even inspire the human spirit.

In addition to looking forward to the 50-meter pool, indoor track and tennis courts, student excitement has also been reaching a fever pitch over the 132-well geothermal field. When the project is finally done in 2010, Grinnell is expected to never lose another Midwest Conference title in any sport. Phase 2—looking pretty ticklish so far…

Be sure to check back next time when we’ll see who has won the Grinnell Tickle City Award. And if you have a good idea, be sure to let [walshand] know.

Grinnell, you are tickle city!