Sam's Little Larks

by Sam Van Wetter | 11/5/15 6:58pm

STAY HERE FOREVER SAM and LET’S BLOW THIS POPSICLE STAND SAM are watching an impossibly early sunset from next to Shattuck Observatory

STAY HERE FOREVER SAM: Man, only 11 days until classes are over. Where has this term gone? I don’t want to go home. I could stay here forever.

LET’S BLOW THIS POPSICLE STAND SAM: Seriously? I’m so 15Finished with this ish. I’m ready to blow this popsicle stand.

STAY: I can’t stand that attitude.

POPSICLE STAND: It’s not an attitude. It’s a fact of being a Dartmouth student. We work our tuchus off for 10 weeks, constantly on call, constantly working and engaging and organizing and attending. It feels so good to finish, to check everything off your to-do list and not add anything to it. And winterim is the best — I mean seven weeks to just chill? So chill.

STAY: I’d never leave if I didn’t have to.

POPSICLE STAND: No way.

STAY: I mean, it wouldn’t be particularly fun to stay here without anyone else, but if we could just stay, wouldn’t you? I feel like I’m just figuring out my routine by week 10, why would I want to just end it?

POPSICLE STAND: You’re not ending it. It’s a hiatus.

STAY: Yeah, and we get back and everything is different! There’s snow! There are people I haven’t seen in four terms! There’s no patio furniture outside of Collis!

POPSICLE STAND: The only reason I can get excited for each new term is because I’ve had a rest. All work and no play makes Jack blucking neurotic. So we get to go home and see family, see our pets, sleep in our own beds, hell, just sleep in! And then we get refreshed, get reinvigorated and can come back and do it all again.

STAY: But you’re wishing it away! Do you realize how few times we get to do it all again?

POPSICLE STAND: Oh, don’t play that senior sentimentalism song again.

STAY: It’s stuck in my head! Every time I leave to go home I can’t help but think about when, eventually, we won’t come back. We’ll be banished out of the kingdom and only be welcomed back at homecoming! We’ll be crusty!

POPSICLE STAND: That’s only natural.

STAY: I don’t want to be natural! I want to stay here forever!

ROBERT FROST: You can!

STAY: But you were only a student here for two months!

ROBERT FROST: More or less.

STAY: And you never really came back, right?

ROBERT FROST: I’ll have you know I received two honorary degrees from Dartmouth.

POPSICLE STAND: Okay?

ROBERT FROST: I’m the only one who’s ever done that. I think it was because I was a TDX.

POPSICLE STAND: I think it’s actually because they really want to claim you as an alum.

ROBERT FROST: Whatever. I got a statue.

STAY: Is that how you do it? Stay here forever?

ROBERT FROST: That and I have a lotta manuscripts in Rauner.

STAY: So I should drop out, get famous, become a notable alum and hope they build a monument?

SPACE FLAG: There are other ways.

STAY: Like what?

SPACE FLAG: I’m a Dartmouth pennant that was flown on the spaceship Columbia for a couple of months. Now I’m hanging in Collis and I’m pretty sure I’ll be there for a while.

POPSICLE STAND: Sounds like a passive presence.

SPACE FLAG: Yeah obviously. I’m a flag. But I get to chill behind glass and watch students walk by, read my plaque, get older and get smarter. And then disappear.

STAY: Forever?

SPACE FLAG: Usually. Unless you come back with kids.

STAY: Well, I don’t know how to become a pennant. But maybe you have a point.

SPACE FLAG: I’m a triangle. I have three.

STAY: No, I mean maybe the way to stay around forever is by having kids and getting them to come here. Not forcing them, obviously, but strongly suggesting and upselling and indoctrinating.

POPSICLE STAND: That’s scary.

STAY: No, you know what’s scary? Never coming back here. Dartmouth losing its relevancy as soon as you’re done with classes. You have to keep it alive, somehow.

POPSICLE STAND: Why not just become a professor?

STAY: That’s a thought.

POPSICLE STAND: I don’t think they would hire you.

STAY: Probably true.

POPSICLE STAND: Maybe you should fail.

STAY: What do you mean?

POPSICLE STAND: Stop going to classes. Don’t turn in any homework. They can’t make you leave if you can’t graduate.

STAY: That’s another thought. It could be expensive.

POPSICLE STAND: Yeah. Not worth it.

STAY: How do you know?

POPSICLE STAND: I know because that’s not the point of Dartmouth. It’s not the point of any education. We’ve had a good run here, I know. We’ve figured it out pretty well. Between now and June it will only get harder to leave for breaks, but then it will be ultimate break and it will be impossible to come back and make it all feel the same as it does now. But the point is that we learn things, we learn facts and skills and we learn about ourselves and we take that into the rest of the world and make these years count, make our hard work pay off to something greater.

STAY: Something greater than Dartmouth?

POPSICLE STAND: I hope so.

STAY: I still think I want a street named after me.

POPSICLE STAND: I think they’re all already named.

STAY: Okay, then a dorm. Or a lab. Or one of those newfangled housing clustery things.

POPSICLE STAND: Yeah, “School House” could definitely be improved.

STAY: “Van Wetter House?”

POPSICLE STAND: Maybe not. But you have time to think about it. While you make money and make a difference and give Dartmouth a reason to name something after you.

STAY: I think I’ll just move into the clock tower. They can’t make me leave if they don’t know I’m there.

POPSICLE STAND: That’s an option.

They stand for a moment watching the sunset.

POPSICLE STAND: F**kin’ daylight savings. Midnight at six o’clock.

STAY: It’s a metaphor, isn’t it? Our own midnight is fast approaching.

POPSICLE STAND: No, it’s just dark. Let’s go back to the library. I gotta finish this paper if I ever want to see my mom again.