A Weekend Mystery

by Tanisha Keshava | 5/17/02 5:00am

There are some mysteries that are never meant to be solved, and I am now almost convinced that Green Key weekend is one of them. I have no clue what Green Key actually is and what, if any, purpose it fulfils. Homecoming, on the other hand, is almost a rite of passage for freshmen with the bonfire, the freshman sweep, rushing the field during the game and all such fun stuff. It's just an excuse for upperclassmen to bully freshmen and for freshmen to form that initial bond as a class. Really, what better way to bond with your fellow classmates than being herded with them around a gigantic bonfire which may or may not collapse at any time?

And then there's Winter Carnival, which is simply a paltry trick to make us all forget New Hampshire winter amidst beach-themed parties. I didn't think it could work; I mean just because a frat imports tons of sand and floods its dance floor doesn't mean its not five degrees outside. But all logic aside, such tactics seemed to work, if only for a while we all forgot the miseries of winter for one little weekend. But, finally, there's Green Key Weekend.

Now I don't really know the purpose of Green Key Weekend. I suppose it could be seen as sort of a celebration of spring, which would work very well if Hanover had springs. I don't know about you, but in my book, one week of sun and then six weeks of cold, rain and the occasional snow does not qualify as spring. And if my sources are correct, then such erratic weather isn't isolated to this spring; it happens year after year -- a few nice sunny days lull poor students into a false sense of anticipation for spring, and then there's rain. So, if we're not celebrating spring, then what exactly are we celebrating? I don't really know, but from what I've heard, this entire weekend is nothing more than a drunken haze for most people. I guess, then, what we're really celebrating is a common condition of sustained drunkenness and debauchery. Good times.

Green Key doesn't seem to have any peculiar traditions, or none that have survived the test of time anyway. While I am hazy as to the details of Green Key in its current form, I was able to unearth some traditions from the days past. It seems as though the weekend originally began in the early 1900s as a way to relieve the poor Dartmouth men from the doldrums of winter. Apparently in the grand tradition of all big weekends, Green Key was a big draw for women from neighboring all-girls schools. These women came in buses, trains and cars for the fabled weekend to partake in a variety of organized activities including balls and games and some not-so-organized activities like frat parties and general basement debauchery. I guess Dartmouth men didn't have any other options back then. I mean, really, being isolated for a long winter without any companionship must have been tough. Poor, deprived boys ...

This being my first Green Key, I'm not quite sure what to expect. Most people I've talked to seem to prefer this weekend to any other, but maybe that has to do with the fact that they don't actually remember the weekend, so they automatically assume that it must have been fun. I guess there's something to be said for that philosophy but that means I still have very little clue about what to expect. I've heard plenty of wild stories and I've begun to form some expectations. Four days of partying. Watching people stumble around Food Court at noon. Pong at 8 a.m. Bands. Lawn parties. Chilling all weekend long. Sitting out on the Green, weather permitting. Doing absolutely no work and not feeling the least bit guilty about it. Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn't it? Most things usually are.

I suspect that come Sunday afternoon, the weekend revelries will begin to catch up with us. Assuming we're capable of getting out of bed, we might have to try and get some work done. Evil, evil work that doesn't go away no matter how much you wish it would. You know what I've discovered? If you close your eyes and wish something would just go away, it doesn't usually work. Don't ask me why. It just doesn't. Well, it does on some rare, miraculous occasions, but don't count on it as a general rule. That 10-page paper you avoided all weekend won't magically disappear. Sorry to be the conduit for bad news, but there you have it. But there's no reason to despair. No matter how much work you have, you'll still have the weekend, assuming you can piece it together.

But then again, what do I really know? I'm still a miserable, little freshman. I haven't experienced any of this first hand, but I sure can't wait. Coincidentally, my birthday is this Thursday, a perfect kickoff for the weekend. I'm ready to explore this weekend myself. Discover its hidden traditions and particular idiosyncrasies. It can't be so many people's favorite weekend for no reason. Now all I have to do is discover what that reason is. So, I bid adios to everyone, wishing you all a safe and happy Green Key weekend and remember: if it seems like a good idea at the moment, it probably isn't, but you're going to do it anyway, so stop fighting the temptation.