Adam White's Column: Too Sweet For A Real Column
The editors of the Homecoming Issue of The Dartmouth have asked me to write a Homecoming column because this weekend is the one where everyone, you know, comes home. I am of course perfectly happy to do this, but a columnist can only write about the same weekend so many times in a career. This is why so many writers move on to subjects like politics when they get old. It's not that they become uninterested in the social hierarchy of a small college's Greek system, it's just that they've exhausted all possible words to describe it.
So I decided to cheat. Instead of writing a real column, I invited my idol, A.L. Prime, back to Hanover. A.L. was one of Dartmouth's first columnists. He wrote for The Dartmouth for four years, authoring a tangential and sarcastic column entitled, "A.L. Prime's Column." It was mostly ignored by the student body, but seven of his friends read it almost regularly.
I met A.L. in Murphy's, a bar in downtown Hanover. A.L. looked good for a man who is now 122 years old. He was dressed in a brown wool three-piece suit that probably fit him when he was 50 years old; but the past 72 years had shrunk his body; so his neck fit in his collar like Mary-Kate Olsen's waist in a hula hoop. We ordered Budweisers and began to chat.
AW: A.L., I was hoping you could share some of your memories from past Homecomings.
AL: You know, I don't remember very much.
AW: I suppose it has been a long time.
AL: No, no, no. It's not that. It's just that I was completely blacked out all the time.
(At this point, A.L. actually leaned across the table and tried to high-five me. I tentatively put my hand out and touched his bony palm.)
AL: You high-five like a pansy.
AW: So can you remember anything?
AL: Oh, sure. I didn't really black out. I just wanted you to think I was cool in college. The way Homecoming worked in my day is that busloads of girls would arrive in Hanover on Thursday. Do they still do that?
AW: No. Well, not usually. Sometimes Keene State sends up a sorority, but those girls are too smart and self-respecting to be much of a good time.
AL: That's too bad. So what do the men here do to get women?
AW: Actually, we have women that go to school here now. We're co-ed.
(A.L. clutched his chest and fell off his chair. I panicked, tried to remember how to give mouth-to-mouth to a heart attack victim, but couldn't remember anything from my sixth grade health class. So I counted to 10 and drank a glass of water. This helped calm me, down but it didn't seem to improve A.L's condition at all. Suddenly though, A.L. jumped up from behind the table and threw his arms up in the air.)
AL: Of course I knew we were co-ed now. Why do you think I'm here?
AW: Because it's your class's 100th reunion, and you're the only alum over the age of 120 who's still alive? And because I invited you?
AL: No, stupid. I'm here to get some action.
AW: No offense, but I highly doubt that you can still get it up.
AL: You think I'm impotent? With the number of erection drugs on the market right now? Let me tell you something: I've got the sex drive of a Siegfried and Roy tiger on ecstasy. I pop three Cialis, find a lucky lady, and head for the hill.
AW: The hill?
AL: Yes, the hill. I own a hill. And on top of the hill, I have a couple of bath tubs. They're side by side. I sit in one, and my woman sits in the other.
AW: Then what?
AL: Then we sit there. Sometimes she reaches across and touches my arm.
AW: So what's the point of the Cialis?
AL: To get an erection.
AW: But you don't have sex.
AL: Of course we don't have sex. We can't have sex. Not while we're in separate bathtubs.
AW: So why don't you sit in the same bathtub?
AL: Let's sing the alma mater.
AW: Okay, but it's different now.
AL: How so?
AW: Well, logically, they included a line for "the daughters of Dartmouth."
AL: Forget it. I'm not singing that. Let's just start a "Let's Go, Indians" chant.
AW: That's another thing. We're not the Indians anymore.
AL: What are we?
AW: The Big Green.
AL: That's not a mascot. That's a color. You can't just make yourself a color and call it "big." That's not intimidating.
AW: Some students wanted to change our mascot to the Moose.
AL: The Dartmouth Mooses? That's not bad.
AW: Actually, I think it's just the Dartmouth Moose.
AL: Only one of them?
AW: No. Or maybe. I'm not sure. Probably a lot of them. So did you build a bonfire for Homecoming when you were here?
AL: Yes. The financial aid students built it. Then we would light it on fire. Then we would make the financial aid students touch the fire.
AW: Oh my God. Didn't they get hurt?
AL: Who cares? They were poor anyway.
AW: That's a terrible thing to say, sir.
AL: Oh, you think you're better than me just because I'm old school.
AW: Uh, maybe, but it's just that a lot of things have changed around here, and most of what you're saying is considered very insensitive.
AL: Look. I'm not going to sit here and argue about which one of us is more sensitive. You can have that title. Dartmouth men used to be made out of granite, you know.
AW: I know: in our muscles and our veins.
AL: Hey. I'm sure you guys still have a good time. Finish your beer. We're only on our fifth round.
AW: A.L., is there anything else you'd like to say about Homecoming before I leave you in this bar?
AL: Happy Homecoming.
AW: That's it?
AL: That's it. What else can you say about Homecoming?
AW: Nothing, I guess.
AL: It doesn't lend itself very well to a column, you know.
AW: Yes, I know.
Adam White's column can also be found at www.adamwhitescolumn.com