Sam's Little Larks

by Sam Van Wetter | 4/12/16 5:02pm

WING IT SAM and WINGMAN SAM are nestled among a lot of trash: cardboard, branches, packing tape, hot glue, cans, bottles and plastic bags. They are making letters, maybe. It’s supposed to spell “JUST TRANSITION.”

WING IT SAM: I don’t understand what your issue is.

WINGMAN SAM: You mean you don’t understand what the issue is.

WING IT: Sam, we’re promoting renewables. People will walk into Collis and their eyes will be drawn to this sentence in the sky that we’re making out of trash. It’s uncomplicated. It’s good work. I don’t think there’s an issue.

WINGMAN: Dude, your vision for this is unreasonable. Why did you choose long words? Why didn’t you collect better material? How are you going to hang this up? And how in the world do you imagine this would turn out if I weren’t here to help?

WING IT: It’s like The Beatles said.

WINGMAN: Picture yourself in a boat on a river?

WING IT: No — !

WINGMAN: Yesterday?

WING IT: I get by with a little help from my friends.

WINGMAN: I’m gonna die with a little help from my friends.

WING IT: I don’t think that’s actually —

WINGMAN: Close enough. So you’re saying that it’s okay to wing it completely as long as you have friends to pick up the slack?

WING IT: I don’t think it’s okay to “wing it,” Sam. I mean, I don’t think it’s okay to plan on winging anything. But then again, I am very rarely ever not winging it. So winging it is okay if it works. And how do we know if it’ll work? We don’t. Which is why it is so terrifying to me that people — people in charge — are willing and comfortable to just give me responsibilities. How am I in any way qualified to be making these decisions? Or any decisions! I need my hand held! I need instructions written out! Turns out, however, that people — some wildly misinformed, optimistic people — think I’m capable. And so they let me come up an idea and then I live with my decision. So yes, I’m gonna ask my friends for help. And I’m not sorry for that.

WINGMAN: No, of course. No need to be sorry. It’s just funny. People trust us and we have no idea what we’re doing.

WING IT: Like, we’re supposed to be gaining experience for some sort of real world, right? But when am I ever going to be tasked with something like this? Only in college. Only at Dartmouth. Only in Collis! This will literally never be relevant again. I’m learning one-time skills.

WINGMAN: Alright! So what! You only live once you decide to start living! YOLOYDTSL! So let’s do it. We’ll make a good project. Trash won’t rain down on people’s heads due to our poor hot gluing, and if it does, we can tell them it is a metaphor. It’ll be fine. Don’t worry about it.

WING IT: Okay. Thanks for your help.

WINGMAN: It’s a pleasure. A year from now I’ll be wishing to spend a Sunday with you and a bunch of garbage.

WING IT: If we’re lucky we’ll still be doing it.

WINGMAN: True. But what if someone asks us to do something impossible?

WING IT: They wouldn’t.

WINGMAN: But if they did.

WING IT: A wise man once told me that if the assigned project seems unreasonably difficult to do, you’re probably doing it wrong. You’re probably doing too much.

WINGMAN: So if it seems too hard we should just give up?

WING IT: We should clarify with whoever assigned it. Before you pull up the entire carpet you should make sure they weren’t talking about a rug.

WINGMAN: But what if it is a big project and they think you can just handle it? What if it’s Bartlett Tower?

WING IT: What if it’s what?

WINGMAN: Bartlett Tower, that funny stacked stone tower near the BEMA. It was dedicated after President Bartlett’s death and it’s near the actual Lone Pine. Very poetic. But an impossible project. Someone tells you to build a 70-foot-tall tower out of brick and mortar and you’d just be like, “OK, better see if my friends are free to help?”

WING IT: I might like, consult an architect, too.

WINGMAN: It took students 10 years to finish the tower. And they got help. The plaque says local stonemasons assisted but they must have carried that project. Can you imagine being a freshman and some senior tells you to finish up the tower? I’d give up, probably, and if that’s not an option I’d sure as hell ask a professional for help.

WING IT: So you think we should get help?

WINGMAN: For this lobby display? Naw, we’ll be fine. It’s not a permanent structure. But I suppose the risk of collapse and/or death is still present.

WING IT: That doesn’t help. This is my project. I’m liable, probably.

WINGMAN: If only we had a decade…

WING IT: But we don’t! Shoot, I need to get to class. Can you hang these?

WINGMAN: Like, in Collis?

WING IT: Please. Here’s the clothesline. The letters are done. I’m so sorry. Where did the day go? It’s supposed to be up by noon.

WINGMAN: Whatever. I got it. Have fun in class.

WING IT: You’re the best. I couldn’t do it without you.

WINGMAN: Obviously.

Later that day. WING IT and WINGMAN are standing in Collis, admiring their handiwork.


WING IT: You know that I appreciate you beyond words.

WINGMAN: Of course.

WING IT: Your humor, intelligence and willingness to play make me enormously happy and grateful to be your friend.

WINGMAN: I know.

WING IT: But did you have to do this?

WINGMAN: You asked me to!

WING IT: I asked you to install it like we planned! It’s supposed to say “Just Transition”.

WINGMAN: Yeah, I didn’t love that. I know it’s supposed to be a play on words or whatever, something about justice and transitioning to renewables? Anywhoo, I thought it could use some spice. I anagrammed.

WING IT: That’s what it is? Spice?

WINGMAN: It’s not inappropriate.


WINGMAN: It’s kind of like a tagline.

WING IT: I guess.

WINGMAN: A silent, fishy do-er of good.

WING IT: Made out of trash.

WINGMAN: Exactly. I can already picture the mascot.

WING IT: Maybe we can get some freshman to work on that.

WINGMAN: Obviously.

WING IT: I’m gonna fix it soon.

WINGMAN: That’s unnecessary.

WING IT: Thanks for the help.They walk away together. Behind them, a Caliban-esque fish-human creature ziplines across the Collis atrium. He wears all black. Theme music begins to play.

THEME MUSIC: It’s… Trout Ninja!Blackout.