Web Exclusives:

Inky Dinky Do

a PAW web exclusive column by Hugh O'Bleary

October 25, 2000:

A long campaign for a diehard Tiger

By Hugh O'Bleary


Dear Diary,

Golly. I'd never seen old Whitbridge in such a funk. Sure, there was that time last year after Princeton lost to Yale that he showed up on the train on Monday morning with a paper bag over his head, but that was really more for effect. Before we got to the Junction he had taken it off to drink his coffee .

But something had really gotten to him this time.

Whitbridge, you have to understand, is one of those hard-core sons of Old Nassau: class secretary, Princeton Club of New York, carries one of those gargantuan orange-and-black umbrellas - even when it's not raining; writes to PAW all the time to complain about... well, everything. For all I know, he has one of those George Schultz tigers tattooed on his, er, hip. He lives and dies by all things Princeton. A couple of months ago, when word got out that U.S. News and World Report had put Princeton atop its annual rankings of colleges, I got to the station the next morning and there was Whitbridge standing on the platform with one of those giant foam "We're No.1" hands. He taunted other passengers all the way to New York.

So I was alarmed when I saw him this morning. He was sitting alone, the first section of the Times clutched in his hands and he was muttering to himself. What could it be? Had Nassau Hall collapsed, the P-rade been canceled, President Shapiro caught in an ecstacy-smuggling scandal? I sat down beside him. He turned slowly and gave me a hollow stare.

"Nation's service," he croaked. "Hah!"

Before I could ask what he meant, he slapped the front page of the Times. "Bush. Gore." He practically spat the names out. "Yale. Harvard." He dropped his head into his hands. "Cheney, Lieberman. More Yalies." He turned and clutched me by the lapels. "Good God, man, don't you see what's happening?!"

Dear Diary, I don't need to tell you that I was shaken. I tried to catch the eye of the conductor, but he was playing with his hole-punch. I stared at Whitbridge.

"I'll tell you what's happening," he said. "We're being marginalized. The nation's most important moment, and where are the Princetonians? It's all Yale this and Harvard that. Harvard, Yale, Harvard, Yale, nyah, nyah...."

"Nader's running," I said, peeling his fingers from my jacket.

"Nader?" He goggled at me. "Nader? He's Ross Perot in a Corvair."

"Well, Bradley made a run for it," I said.

"Bradley?" He shook his head. "He'd have had a better shot at making a comeback with the Knicks."

"Forbes..." I started.

"Don't," he said, slumping in his seat. "Please don't...."

We rode for a while in silence. After a few minutes, I tried to cheer him up by pointing out that New York Governor George Pataki - who had that very week made a fool of himself after a debate between New York senate candidates Rick Lazio and Hilary Clinton by having no idea who E. B. White was - is a Yale man.

Whitbridge smirked and shook his head. "White went to Cornell, you know," he said and turned back to his paper, still muttering "Nation's service," under his breath.

Dear Diary, it's going to be a long campaign.


Hugh O'Bleary commutes to New York City from Princeton. He revels in his daily sojourn across campus to catch the Dinky. You can reach Hugh O'Bleary by writing him c/o paw@princeton.edu