The Vagabond

Musingly, Vag turned the page of his new gray course catalogue, and began to cross Harvard Square. An indignant honking from two sides made him look up, and he took a quick jump to the middle of the road, where he shrunk to avoid the passing cars. A booming amplified voice reached his cars; it seemed to be asking questions of someone. "Where do you think you're running to? Can't you wait for the lights? Are you stupid?" Vag looked around him, and realized in terror that the odd catechism was directed at himself. But now the lights had changed, and the voice went on, "All right, move along. And wait for the light in future." Vag turned in the direction of the voice and nodded cheerfully, but all he saw was a rather hostile policeman in a booth, so he walked on, reading the descriptions of the General Education courses.

The new advanced courses looked like a good deal. From what this football player had said, there weren't any facts to learn, easy exams, and somehow you ended with a fabulous knowledge of our heritage. Heritage was the word the guy had used. The description of Humanities 18 sounded promising: "This course attempts to sum up Western culture through the reading of three short French poems. They may be read in translation. Attention will be paid to the philosophical and sociological implications of the reading in the weekly lecture. Enrollment is limited to 600." Satisfied, Vag closed the book and ambled over to Holyoke House; he had always told himself that he ought to pick himself up culturally.

The General Education office was jammed, and Vag waited ahead of a heavy-set fellow in gray flannels, who also was clutching a course book tightly. "What are you signing up for?" he asked Vag. "Humanities 18." "Good course," the fellow said. "Culturally, I mean." When Vag got to the head of the line, the secretary said, "I'm sorry. Humanities 18 is closed. There's no point in even putting you on the waiting list." The other fellow's jaw dropped. "What can I take now?" he asked. Vag smiled, and opened his catalogue at random. "Here's a terrific course in the history of the drama that I think I'll take," he replied. "You read 75 plays, but it's worth your while." The fellow walked away without a word, and Vag, grinning broadly, leafed through the little book until he came to geography. "The topography of Boston Harbor," he read. "A car is desirable, but not..." Vag tossed the catalogue into the gutter and knifed his way through the premature football air.