Foolish Pride: A Fable

Elliott P. Willoughby '52 was a proud man. But at 8:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 8, 1952, he lay stretched out across his Winthrop House bed, weeping bitterly, silently. His pride had done him in.

Hot tears dribbled down his pillow as he remembered the acrid exchange of words with his roommate. He regretted those scornful words now. His roommate had slammed the door, and gone the Class of '52 reunion anyway.

Senior Class reunion? Eliot House Courtyard? Bah," he heard himself saying. "Probably just a bunch of dried-up speeches."

"Oh, no," pleaded his roommate earnestly, "Band music mostly. They say its going to be mostly band music and they're giving away free beer, too."

But Elliott wasn't going to be led anywhere by anyone.

"Awk!" he exclaimed, doing his derisive imitation of a parrot, "Awk...Band Music...Free Beer...Awk, Awk...Free Beer...Awk..."

"No, please, Elliott," insisted his roommate undaunted. "Fifteen hundred cups of free beer, and they're going to tell us what happens to us during Class Week, and after graduation...and...and...everything." He ended rather weakly because he saw Elliott was going into his parrot routine again.

And so his roommate had departed for the reunion at 8:30, leaving Elliott P. Willoughby seated unhappily on his bed facing the open window, making victorious little Awk noises to himself.

But soon it was different. He was tired from the afternoon's set of General Examinations. He wanted to relax in the warm, spring air. He was tired...Call up Joe...That's it...Call up Joe...see if he has anything doing...No answer...Maybe he's at the class reunion too...Maybe...

But it was too late now. He could never bear facing his roommate and admitting he was wrong. Oh, pride. Foolish pride!

Shouts of comradely laughter wafted into the room on the evening breeze. Above it all occasionally rose the strains of "Das Drunkenschpeil" or some other merry tune by Schneider's Silver Cornet Band. From the sound of it, there was a pretty big crowd. About six hundred, Elliott guessed. People who hadn't seen each other since freshman year...

He stretched out across the bed and just lay there, the hot tears dribbling down onto his pillow. Stubbornness was the master of Elliott P. Willoughby '52.