Getting Cozy at Cambridge Common

Jabulani R. Barber

“We had a flag but it was taken in an absolute massacre—six men came at us from all sides. The mast broke,” said Guy Mendilow, Longy School of Music ’07, as he prepared to re-enter the fluff-filled fray seven feet to his left.

“I’ve trained for many years in the comfort of my own home,” Mendilow commented. He made the voyage from Jamaica Plain to Cambridge Common last Saturday morning to continue the cycle of violence that has recently plagued Harvard Square. His and roughly a thousand others’ weapons of choice? Pillows. Despite the ferocity of his battle cries (“Ahoy! Avast!”), this was Mendilow’s first time participating in International Pillow Fight Day.

Banditos Misteriosos, the organization that coordinated the Boston branch of the event, began in 2007 as the brainchild of three college students who all attended the same Boston-area institution, whose name they’d rather keep a secret.

“We wanted to bring a sense of fun and adventure, and elements of the emerging playground movement, to what we saw as a somewhat-stuffy city,” said one Bandito who referred to himself as "Bandito T."

Newbies and veterans alike gathered to engage in the peculiar happiness that only comes from mercilessly batting randos with bedding. Katherine W. Schenot, a sophomore at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, arrived with a large group, all sporting orange t-shirts labeled “Tuff Fluff.” A three-year veteran, she prefers to intimidate opponents through slogans like, “You’re just mad because this is the closest you’re going to get to our beds!”

“It really disarms them,” she said.

Samuel B. Novey ’11, a.k.a. Burgerman, considered the pillow fight a type of training for the Boston Marathon, which he plans to run wearing a b.good burger costume for charity.

“You have to have mixed training methods,” said Novey. “Cross-training, if you will. My trainers recommended I do this to be grilled to perfection for the marathon.” When asked about the victor of an earlier tussle with a banana-clad opponent, Novey replied, “Everyone’s a winner on World Pillow Fight Day.” Now that’s some sweet pillow talk.

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