"Say Hi to Pete," He Who Hath Sinned

Harvard, I have failed you. In your moment of greatest need, just as the clocks are turning back and Boston descends into a state of permanent midnight, a pleasant hello and the wattage of your high-powered sun lamp may offer the only sunshine in your day. Despite reaching such salutatory heights as the six-way hello, the multilingual hello and the rare 180-degree back-turn hello, I admit that I have fallen short on occasion. I am only a man. These are my sins:

10/8/03—While disembarking the shuttle, an anonymous female approached me and uttered the phrase “eye meat.” Confused, I proceeded without acknowledging her. Moments later, I realized she might have actually said “Hi Pete” and, so, I chased down the shuttle, briefly catching up to it. However, I was not able to say hi so much as discharge a gasping wail, which I grudgingly concede is not a proper hello.

10/15/03—Exiting Au Bon Pain while consuming the remainder of my lunch, I was greeted by an anonymous male. Though I did in fact say hello to him through a mouthful of half-chewed foccacia bread, the hello was perhaps nullified by the large, saliva-sodden chunks of bread matter that landed on his coat and face.

10/17/03—Upon leaving Daedalus at last call, an anonymous couple said hello as they were making their way down Mt. Auburn. I stopped and engaged them in rambling banter, which reached various emotional piques over the course of the 15 minute exchange, culminating in a proclamation of my undying love for them both and a proposal of group marriage. Though I believe the numerous bear hugs I gave them both together and individually captured the same friendly feeling conveyed by a good hello, technically I did not reciprocate their greeting in kind.

10/18/03—Upon returning from a day outing of the Boston chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) to the Pink Floyd Laser Light Show, I was greeted by a pair of tutors in he Quincy courtyard. Again, I did not return the hello but I did expound, at length, on my theory of universal origins.

10/26/03—Around 3 a.m. on Plympton Street, believing I saw a friend walking up the block, I charged toward her with arms outstretched only to realize when I was within arms-length that she was in fact a 70 year-old woman, now clutching for the can of mace stored in her hand bag. Making a quick detour to the woman’s left, I proceeded to play off the mis-fired hello by pretending it was actually intended for the only figure on the street—a parking meter.