They’ve trudged through 16 inches of snow, variously clad in snow boots and stilettos. The destination: an annual FM event that gathers interesting folk from the senior class to reminisce and to speak with false modesty about future plans. Nothing can stop these seniors—with the exception of Alasdair MacLean-Foreman, who despite holding the enviable distinction of being the only Harvard student to be selected for both FM’s fifteen hottest freshmen and notable seniors groups, is otherwise occupied with an Ec10 unit test. Under the Christmas finery of Sandrine’s, there are formals to be attended and questions about next year to be evaded.
A bit of self-consciousness arising from being chosen to attend this event hangs over the room, before copious wine provided by Sandrine’s loosens tongues. Mary R. Ziegler wearily recounts the “endless revision stage” of her novel with her agent, before heading off. Aaron C.M. Barth concedes, “Yeah, I’m pretty ridiculous.” This devout son of a Christian missionary-turned-diplomat has been strategically seated beside fellow world traveler—and well-known feminist—Natalia A.J. Truszkowska so they can share harrowing travel stories.
Barth also has something in common with man-about-town Rudi G. Patitucci, despite the latter’s known indulgence in the sin of gambling: both hold aspirations to work in professional baseball. The same topic has even managed to bridge the gap between Patitucci and infamous conservative Gladden J. Pappin, though it takes a combination of psychobabble and reverence: “Baseball would be more self-actualizing than basically being a gambler,” says Patitucci. “It’s the national pastime and the most beautiful game I’ve ever seen.”
For early presenters, telling humiliating stories about themselves is the preferred coping technique. “I think the only thing that’s interesting about me is that I’m really boring,” says newly-named Rhodes Scholar Rachael A. Wagner, adding that she comes in last in every ski race, “except when someone falls. Then I’m ahead by a few seconds.”
Before running off early, Texan belle Jennifer N. Hawkins tells more face-in-the-snow tales, and Shaka J. Bahadu charms the crowd with accounts of first-year Primal Scream embarrassment. “I was real skinny, and self-conscious. And black, which meant that when my friends pushed me to the front, everyone knew who I was.” The relationship between his freshman performance and his current status as first class marshal remains up for interpretation.
Pappin, who arrived with unerring punctuality decked out in a tuxedo and a red bow tie, is having none of this faux modesty. After disappointing the crowd by announcing that he isn’t planning to come out of the closet tonight, he regales them with the ironic story of his longtime family friendship with former President Bill Clinton. “I don’t know if he’s so aware of the irony—he’s probably not as updated on me as I am on him,” Pappin comments, referring no doubt to his status as campus conservative crusader. “Just don’t tell the staff of William Jefferson Clinton to Google me.”
One change President Clinton will have no trouble noticing is Pappin’s hair, once long, it’s now cropped. Was it a bohemian phase? “It was a conservative thing about resistance to change,” he claims.
An attempt is made to secure kosher food for Blaine G. Saito, the token Asian-American Hawaiian Jew. Berenika D. Zakrzewski remarks that despite being a New Yorker with many Jewish friends, she’s never had matzoh ball soup, so she’s looking forward to attending a Passover seder.
Saito is more concerned with the seder’s ritual wine drinking. “I’m Asian, and we just don’t have the enzyme,” he says. “So I got trashed at the last seder.”
It’s not the only time the topic will come up tonight. For the presentation he was asked to prepare, Saito delivers an impressive lesson on Jewish scripture. Sample line: “God created Adam in his image—oh gosh, I am so drunk. One should never teach when drunk.”
Barth is also thankful to God and Fung Wah. “I didn’t think I was going to make it from New York tonight,” he tells the crowd, spinning his white hat over the walking stick he’s brought, “but the Chinatown bus is faithful.”
The piety quotient in the room is raised when Paul F. Niehaus blesses those present with a selection from Deuteronomy, and then proves his belief that his Maker will protect him when he puts his life in the hands of a very cheerful Thenjiwe N. Nkosi to demonstrate her favorite Kung Fu moves on him.
“This is how you break his nose,” she says, smiling sweetly. “And his back...and his knees...”
Clearly, the women in the crowd aren’t afraid to play rough. Truszkowska presents the tip of a bull’s horn, a souvenir of her stint in Spain studying female bullfighters. “It’s very random. I don’t really believe in killing animals,” she insists.
Petite basketball star Beverly C. Moore has no such qualms. She narrates a graphic account of alligator hunting in the bayou. This is after conceding that when she first transferred from Louisiana Tech, Moore may have freaked out her roommates by putting up hunting ritual photos of her smeared with deer’s blood.
Madeleine S. Elfenbein is awaiting trial after an arrest at anti-globalization protests in Miami last week. “I was trapped like a pig for slaughter, herded into a van stinking of pepper spray, handcuffed in plastic,” she says nonchalantly, nonetheless managing to induce nonstop laughter with descriptions of her botched attempts to practice “jail solidarity,” or refusing to divulge one’s identity when arrested.
Needless to say, now that these seniors have been noticed in these pages, anonymity is no longer an option.