Final Fantasy: An Imaginative History

Let’s imagine (briefly, briefly) that there comes a month reeking of better weather when the graduate boards of all the ...
By Mark J. Chiusano

Let’s imagine (briefly, briefly) that there comes a month reeking of better weather when the graduate boards of all the final clubs at Harvard University come together for a bit of a pow-wow. It will be held at the restaurant that does fresh fish in the North End, not the famous one where there’s always a line outside but the one a block away, with a back door for the boats to unload from the dock. They will rent the place out, and all come in tuxedos, except for the youngest ones—in khakis—and they will all know how to shake each others’ hands. They will discuss their new watches, the protests in the Middle East, the economy (“Not like it used to be. Terrible, terrible”), and most of all reactions to the movie, “The Social Network.” This will be the point of the pow-wow and a bone of contention between older members—who secretly wished the clubs had been like that in their days but because they weren’t,  come out as totally against it—and the younger ones, all of whom have had personal conversations with Eduardo Saverin. By the time the calamari is finished and the waiter, Manuel, is bringing out the linguine with clams, the older members of the grad boards will have pushed a decision down the throats of the younger ones in order to Preserve And Uphold The Continued Existence And Dignity Of These Aforementioned Clubs: no more open parties at any club, ever. Except for once or twice a year—they had always liked the sherry parties; and who could resist a little rowdiness after Easter.

Dismayed, the final club presidents will rail at their ancient arthritic overlords. This isn’t what they were in it for, that’s for sure, they’ll say. Seven members of the A.D. will secede from the union and start their own club, called the Yours Trulys, out of a bit of an apartment they’ll rent in Porter Square. But other than that the cause will die quietly because the first thing the older members of the grad boards will do is fire the stewards, and Lord knows no one’s cleaning up after these things on Sundays.

It will be the dawn of a new era in Cambridge. No one will be getting laid. For the first few weeks, people will hold candlelight vigils outside the Fly. A legion will lie in the street in front of the Delphic as means of protest, but the cops will come, and the news media won’t (the grad boards control that too), and then they’ll dust themselves off and get their khakis ironed again. There will be a flowering of room parties, and the Quad will shine like the middle section of a Ferris wheel, while the world spins around it, in an amusement park next to the water. The three empty walk-throughs in Dunster where no one was living once Jeanine and company went abroad will become constant hot spots, and people will invent a new drinking game there called Bleach Boys. Bleach Boys will sweep the country.

Administrators will be perplexed, and against all odds alcohol related admissions to UHS will increase tenfold, and President Faust will be overheard suggesting to the Undergraduate Council that it’s quite possible that the third floor of Sever could be turned into a dance club. The basketball team will offer Lavietes. Social Studies concentrators will march for the lowering of the drinking age. It will be decided to reinstate hot breakfast, but this is no longer what the masses want. They are tired, hungry, poorly dressed. Something will be about to change. There will be talk of breaking points.

Two months in and the Advocate will be in ascendancy, the Crimson charging admission. WHRB and the lacrosse team will co-host ragers in the basement of Pennypacker. That blocking group in Adams will become celebrities. The Harvard Band, in their secret room in the SOCH, will let freshmen sip on a musky mystic brew made of Wild Turkey and valve oil. Romance will flower, people will go on real dates to Celtics games and the Franklin Park Zoo, and someone will start a beach football league. There will be the girl who drinks alone, also the boy strumming a guitar softly in the neighboring room. Many parties will suck, and nearly everyone will wish the grad boards weren’t full of a bunch of d-bags, and political correctness (P.C., get it?) so salient, and the media the way the media is, always complaining about things like final clubs for exclusivity and everything else, when on the whole, besides the vague race and class things and less vague homophobic things, they’re just a nice bunch of guys looking to have a good time (especially Frem. God, Frem’s the man)—and people will think wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could just pile into the Fox basement again, already. But it will be too late, for there will be a New World Order.

By this time the Oak Club will have become a flash-mob performance-art group, holding impromptu keggers, in the cold, sometimes in the middle of streets. On warm nights people will take out barbecues that they’ll begin to stock in CVS, and HUHDs will provide hot dogs, but only hot dogs. There will be a CS50 final project used to coordinate the bicycle carriages that will run back and forth to MIT, until four in the morning. Brandeis will welcome all visitors. Someone will invent a system that will text you when your grill order is ready, even in Quincy. Fuerza will host soccer classes taught by Lionel Messi. La Vie and Pleiades will start accepting boys, until one day, their grad boards will say enough is enough, when Natalie Portman’s next tell-all tear-jerker hits the screen. Eventually everything’s grad boards, or senior student leadership—WHRB’s, Fuerza’s the lacrosse team’s—will decide that things have to be toned down, and the freshmen will stage a 30-hour dance-marathon-protest in Wigglesworth to no avail, and campus will be silent. Then there will just be lots of people, in a field somewhere or something, and someone will shout, “but this party still sucks!”  But it will be far, far too late to turn back.  In this end, there will be fire and darkness, like some of the books say, and there will be milk and honey, and though the Roots will break up the Beatles will be back together, and finally, finally, they will make society out of us all.

In The Meantime