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Reeling and Peeling

Savoir-Faire on Bananas

By Michael K. Savit

It was simple case of revenge. Revenge for Cornell 9, Harvard 3, revenge for Brown 16, Harvard 14, revenge for anytime Cornell or Brown has ever beaten the Crimson in anything.

It was spring vacation in Florida and if you hadn't noticed that every other person is wearing a tan (mine's a Group III) these days then you probably bump into a lot of trees.

Specifically, it was The Button in Fort Lauderdale where last Wednesday afternoon an assorted group of Crimson undergraduates made Montezuma's revenge pale by comparison.

The Button was holding its daily post-beach college party (reservations required), and the participants this day were Harvard, Brown, Cornell, Delaware and Oswego State. The entrants take part in three competitions--a banana-eating contest (the Nat Sci), a beer-chugging relay (the Soc Sci), and a wet tee-shirt event (the Hum)--with one school emerging as the overall victor. Sort of like the Olympics, if you know what I mean.

Entering the competition, the Crimson was at a decided disadvantage, as it had left all of its wet tee-shirters in Cambridge. A Harvard triumph, then, would require mammoth efforts in the other two events, and this is where the story gets interesting.

First came the banana-eating contest, which, depending on your interpretation of the natural state, may or may not have little to do with bananas.

The rules are simple: each school is represented by two students and two sexes. They're given a banana, and the winner is that couple which uses the banana with as much imagination as possible.

Unfortunately for the Crimson, there was no Radcliffian to be found, so at the last minute, Joe Malone, a unanimous choice as the male representative because "they thought I had the natural talent for it," induced a Clarion State co-ed to represent Dear John. And did she ever.

The other four schools were left in a wake of peels as Malone and partner romped to an easy triumph. How did they imaginatively use the banana? Your guess is almost as good as mine, but as Malone stated last night while munching on a Chiquita, "I've only got a year and a quarter left of school excuses. If I ever did anything like that after college, they'd arrest me."

So with an early advantage and the momentum to boot, Mike Clasby, Bob MacGuire and Eileen King took center stage for Harvard to chug beer.

There were two heats (I told you it was like the Olympics), and after Cornell took the opener, the Crimson and Brown drew in the second round.

The final was thus an All-Ivy affair, one in which according to Bob McDermott, "We blew 'em off," and in so doing, Harvard clinched the overall team title.

"It was more the participation than the winning," McDermott said last night. For Malone, it was more the banana.

Of course, there was more going on in the state that houses Stokette's and Dollar Bill Stinson than simply bananas and beer chugging and wet tee-shirts and if this whole thing sounds sexist, well, then so be it.

For one thing, there was the Pirate's Table in Clearwater, where Boston Gentlemen get reduced prices and where the participation is also more important than the winning.

The real key thing to going to Florida, though, is being able to drive back and watch some lady go one-for-three at a Connecticut toll booth. She was obviously in a penalty situation.

Why mention these last two things? I had to take an alternate route for these last three inches because Harvard forfeited the wet tee-shirt contest.

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