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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

Intimations of Crimson Munificence

By G.k. Wenceslas

Poor Santa just called us with news you won't like:

Elves' Union #240 decided to strike.

But don't you despair--to the rescue we go,

Delivering gifts to the people we know.

Before we embark on much-needed vacation,

We offer some loot to the administration.

To Jeremy Knowles, now a British commander,

We wish that your budget could be a bit grander.

To Jerry Green, provost, good luck with your plans

To get all the turf-fighting deans to hold hands.

A unified Harvard? One dean we can't snub:

John McArthur receives his own platinum tub.

To dear President Neil, our fundraiser deluxe,

We hope you can round up a few billion bucks.

O Captain! Our Captain! We don't intend spite,

But in just a few years, your hair, too, will turn white.

To Skip Gates' department, you'll soon be the best

When you're hit with a gust of fresh air from the West.

To embattled Linguistics, how this shall we say...

Das vedanya? Kaput? Sayonara? Good-day?

For Lawrence E. Stager we've picked up a sack

Of goodies that came off the Spies-R-Us rack:

Some telephone taps, a tape player or two,

And a new fax machine you can quickly undo.

For our vocal friend Mansfield, who's good for some laughs,

We'll print just one more of his newsworthy gaffes,

Without his offensive an hidebound remarks,

Life here would be dull, with no food for us sharks.

In Dunster, we gladly spread holiday glee

To His Majesty Liem and the two brothers Li.

We pledge to create countless new tutor jobs

For their cousins, step-uncles, godmothers and dogs.

To dejected first-years whose "Assassins" got dissed,

We offer a keg and some lessons in whist.

To Marius, our favorite, a furlough in Nome.

We hope that he stays, leaving Expos alone.

To the misguided males who produce Inside Edge,

May each "babe" you seduce take a chastity pledge.

Peninsula's men prefer housewives instead,

So date Abigail Adams--oops, sorry, she's dead.

And while we discuss our Buchananite friends,

Their electoral savvy we'd like to commend.

Since they've stacked the Republican Club with their chums,

We'll get twice the hot air--and we'll really need Tums.

They've taken the pool, they've taken the 'shrooms

Now they've negged Adams' coeducational rooms.

Have they no pride in their stylish house?

Tutor Mike gets a wig and a silk see-through blouse.

To the reworked U.C., we sing Anchors Aweigh!

It's a brand-new regime under Carey Gabay!

But we have to confess that we'll miss old Mike Beys,

His haircut, his scheming, the general malaise.

And just when the U.C. had gotten us bored,

Along came two champions: Chaz Lee and Dave Sword.

For those two, alleged young Eliot felons,

Some tickets to hear the fine tunes of Blind Melon.

To those feminist WACoes, who angrily coo,

"We want to be part of the ruling class, too!"

Not the Fly Club's traditional brandy, cigar,

But some work-study jobs and books by de Beauvoir.

While the Fly bravely enters the Medieval Ages

The Pudding's still run by stiletto-clad sages.

For them, a warm, happy, safe present we push:

A gift-wrapped, Winthropian Holiday Bush.

Bill Clinton has had a year tougher than most,

We offer him nothing, just LBJ's ghost.

To our buddy H. Ross, for the airtime he'll get,

We wish him a purpose, a new raison d'etre.

To Yasser and Yitzhak, we send our best wishes,

We hope that you don't wind up sleeping with fishes.

Making peace amidst strife is a lot of hard work,

But miracles happen--just look at DeKlerk.

The nation's top lawyer, that firebrand Reno,

Has been busy this year fighting Bam-Bam and Dino.

She gets a vacation, and, merely to please us,

She'll take those two demons, young Butt-head and Beavis.

Three cheers for Jay Leno (someone should take pity)

Even Chevy could make The Tonight Show look witty

To Conan, we offer some tips for his show:

It's been done, it's passe, go to law school pronto.

Well, we've finished our business as scabs for the elves,

Now it's time to give some of these gifts to ourselves.

Paul, Brian and Liz deserve holiday breaks,

And to Pat, some Havanas--whatever it takes.

To our loving successors, the 121st guard,

We'll buy gifts for you soon at the Shops by the Yard.

Surely there we'll find items that everyone needs:

Some pepper. A kite. Or a clock made of tweed.

The 120th guard's glory-days are near done,

Who cares about friendly? We're not here for fun.

To the incoming pups, we bestow this advice:

At four in the morning, it's tough to be nice.

We hope you enjoy a tail-end of the year

Filled with fun-loving secular holiday cheer.

Our gift-giving's done; now, we bid you adieu,

We'll see you next month, when our papers are due.

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