The Revolution is Not a Dinner Party

It's Just Lunch....or IS IT??

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Harvard and Me

Any Tufts student or grad that denies having a tortured relationship with our neighbor to the South is fooling herself. What starts as slight envy and curiosity seethes and burns over 4 years, blossoming into outright hatred. They have the Gore girls and various European royalty; we have Jessica Biel. They have Harvard Square; we have Davis Square (note: this used to be a real edge for Harvard when I was a Freshman, now Harvard Square is a big mall and the punk kids left…and Davis is kind of cool). They have jobs; we have bongs. The list goes on.

This is all an introduction to my one single, disastrous experience at a Harvard party. Remember, readers, that yours truly does not hide his jealousy/righteous indignation/rage very well.

Anyway, during Fall of freshman year a really good friend of mine from high school was in town with some new friends from his summer-camp-for-liberal-rich-kids-of-a-college located in Waterville, Maine. These new friends had friends at Harvard. Apparently there was some huge rager going down that night at the Harvard friends' suite. We pre-partied in the new friends’ suite at a fancy downtown hotel, my friend and I downed an entire liter of vodka between the two of us. At 18, it was probably more than I’d ever drunk before. I was shit-canned, loaded, and mangled…all at the same time.

We get to the Harvard suite, and I’m not really making much for conversation…just swaying back and forth in the corner and turning to people asking where the Gore girl was. I’m pretty sure I was actually embarrassed to say I was from Tufts. Nobody is talking to me, and the girls we knew were already hanging over a bunch of douchebags in polo shirts who were probably all named Chad.

I remember going to the bathroom, noticing that they actually had spare rolls of toilet paper out in the open (never would have happened at Tufts, lest us irresponsible scallywags toss the tp all over campus). I grab a roll….my memory gets really hazy at this point….I get back to the suite and go up to my friend and loudly yell:

“Look, these Harvard kids wipe their asses with the same shit we do.”

Music stops, people turn bright red in embarrassment for me. Apparently everyone is aghast and such a blatant display of Harvard-envy. Murmuring ensues. I sort of imagine little girls in tennis outfits exclaiming, “well I never!”

The sad part is that I was somehow escorted out, as if I was going to “cause problems” (even though I probably weighed140 pounds at the time). My friend who was there constantly tells this story, usually ending with something like, “that’s when I realized you were really cool.” The problem is that, even though I now look back at the whole incident with a certain degree of smug satisfaction, at the time I was profoundly embarrassed.

Happily, I’ve managed to hold my own with the East Coast snobs since then. I’ve also learned that Yale is actually much more impressive than Harvard (and Princeton is a joke). Just to stay true to my roots, however, I would definitely pull the same sort of embarrassing self-immolation if I ever happened to be partying at Yale Law School. Wait. Party?…Yale Law School?….never mind.


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