The Lost Wednesday


I DON'T KNOW who Paul Cowan is, or was, but I do know that on November 25, 1959, he wrote an editorial in The Crimson.

Cowan's piece told the tale of an apocryphal Harvard student named Gene Robertson. The story went like this: After losing a game of checkers, Gene decided to spend a few months in his room--not because he was sick, but because he wanted to do something daring. So he read all of Marlowe's plays, and Jane Eyre, and a book by Erich Fromm. He stayed in bed, emerging only to touch his toes 10 times, do seven push-ups and eat Chinese, Armenian, French and Greek food.

Eventually, after a faculty meeting, four of Gene's professors, who sounded like television announcers, came to visit him. They urged him to attend their lectures. Gene agreed. And "for the rest of the term, Gene was the best checkers player in his Houses."

It's the day before Thanksgiving why are you still here?

Get it?


I don't. Maybe there was a moral to Mr. Cowan's story--"Read Erich Fromm," or "Play checkers," or "Eat Armenian food," perhaps--but for the life of me, I couldn't find it.

But I must say, I wasn't surprised that Mr. Cowan's saga made so little sense. November 25 was the fourth Wednesday of 1959. And on the day before Thanksgiving, The Crimson's editorial page always sucks.

BY THE TIME you read this, I hope to be sitting at home in Long Island, sleeping, blowing off work, dealing with pre-Thanksgiving relatives. Then again, you probably won't read this. I mean, you obviously will read it, but there will be very few of you. Most of you--OK, probably not you--will be sitting at home, too.

I am writing this editorial with great reluctance, not to mention great speed. To tell the truth, I want out of here as soon as possible. My classes are getting annoying, I'm a bit stressed about my future plans, I'm down to my last few pairs of under-wear--I need to get home to Mommy.

But it's my job to make sure this page gets filled with superlative prose and, quite frankly, nobody else would agree to slap together 30 column inches for today's issue. I was going to co-write this piece with Associate Editorial Chair Tara A. Nayak '92, who often makes snide, irritating comments about my social life even though SHE HAS NO SOCIAL LIFE OF HER OWN, but Tara was too busy. No hard feelings, of course.

So I had to come up with something myself. I didn't need something witty, or something well researched, or something intelligible. I needed something, period. Here were a few of my ideas:

1. What The Fuck Did The Phillippines Ever Do to God? Volcanos, tonados, hurricanes, mudsliders--it seems like this place gets hit by a new, original natural disaster every week. Why? Is it the shoes?

PROS: Timely. Focuses on rarely--discussed region of the world. Uses curse word in headline.

CONS: Possibly insensitive to Filipinos. Definitely insensitive to the deeply religious. Headline could get me Ad Boarded.

2. Strange Bedfellows. I just returned from the IOP debate between the Straight White Men of the Left and the Straight White Men of Peninsula. I must admit, I was rather surprised to hear Guardians Brady and McDonald insist that "Sex is great--inherently great," except when the participants are members of the same sex. How do they know? Have they tried it both ways?