Riding the Pine: With Joe Clyne '16 and Henry Arndt '16

by Henry Arndt and Joe Clyne | 2/3/16 6:17pm

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by Eliza McDonough / The Dartmouth

The boys at Riding the Pine have already started their countdown to 2017. The parties are over. The confetti has been swept up off the street. A third Thai restaurant has opened in Hanover, giving the home of the College on the Hill the highest Thai restaurant to person ratio outside of Bangkok. You can lie on your back, fall asleep and snore so loudly you shake the walls in “Meditation and Relaxation” once a year and get a free pass. Now that Henry’s fallen asleep a second time in as many classes, he’ll have to start searching for more creative ways to get his P.E. credit.

We’ve quickly fallen into a familiar trap. After comforting our 2015 selves with the hope that 2016 would provide a newfound solace, it took less than 50 days for us to realize that 2016 is nothing but a mirage. The pot of gold actually lies ahead, just 315 days away, in 2017. However, we still have more than ten months of 2016 to go. Ten months of struggle. Ten months of misery. Ten months of pushing the rock up the mountain. Ten months of reaching for the grapes that will forever remain out of reach. Ten long months.

The only things keeping 2016 remotely interesting are the trials and travails of the only man who shares our burden, the only man who understands how we feel. Jeb Bush. Like us, Jeb has taken his fair share of shots across the bow. After entering the Republican primaries as a surefire favorite, Jeb Bush has fallen from the sky like a lead zeppelin as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz soar on eagle’s wings toward the political heavens. We went to Jeb Bush’s town hall at the Hanover Inn on Tuesday. We looked deeply into his eyes and saw nothing but mirror images of ourselves.

As our core readers know all too well, Riding the Pine has two major themes: perseverance through even the most trying of circumstances and the profound transformative power of romantic love. Only one candidate embodies both of these principles. That is why we here at Riding the Pine are endorsing Jeb Bush. This is not the endorsement anyone asked us to make. We are not in the pocket of the super PACs, the Koch brothers or the goddamn NRA. We are just two boys standing here in front of a former governor, asking him to lead us.

We never intended to be political columnists, but when we are called by our Muse, we have no choice but to follow wherever she may lead. The only other story in the news this week that can do anything to raise us from our persistent malaise is Super Bowl 50. The first ever Super Bowl clash of two number one pick quarterbacks also features a pair of quarterbacks at the opposite ends of their sterling careers. Even after the Denver Broncos quieted some of the naysayers with their close win over the New England Patriots, the money continues to stack up against Denver as bets pile up on the Carolina Panthers. The smart money is on the Panthers. Needless to say, we have bet the house on Denver.

As a match-fixing scandal rocks the tennis world, all eyes are turned to that sport once known for chivalry and courtesy. With eyes averted from his devious acts, there is little doubt that the NFL’s wily, whiny, slick and slimy commissioner Roger Goodell will do everything in his power to award the Super Bowl to Babylon’s corrupted golden idol, Peyton Manning. Call us crazy, but we’re betting on Denver to take home the Lombardi trophy because the outcome of the big game has already been decided by the suits behind closed doors.

Plain and simple, the League is getting that Nationwide Insurance kickback. While the admittedly catchy Nationwide jingle may seem purely innocent, it rattles in our mind like the shriek of a screaming banshee, representing the deathly corrupted stench at the heart of the National Football League.

Manning’s story this year seems too good to be true. It unfortunately is. With the puppeteers in the League office determining the intricacies of each and every game, it is simply too easy for Goodell to achieve his preferred outcome. Eighty-five percent of money bet on the Patriots-Broncos game was bet on the Patriots. Eighty-five percent of the money bet on the Panthers-Broncos game has been bet on the Panthers. Between the Vegas casino thugs and the Nationwide Insurance pencil-pushers, the pressure on the NFL is far too great. There is simply no way that the Panthers can win.

Nothing has any meaning anymore. Even the Super Bowl is a joke this year. But when we’re feeling constrained by the surly bonds of Earth, beaten down and all but conquered by the petty demands of the flesh or even of the heart, we’re reminded of a quote from a man who inspires us daily, whose eye for the fantastical has never failed him, even in his lowest moments.

“Who among us has never looked up into the heavens on a starlit night, lost in wonder at the vastness of space and the beauty of the stars?”

Keep pushing the rock, Jeb. Don’t give up the ship.