a PAW web exclusive column
by Hugh O'Bleary
long campaign for a diehard Tiger
By Hugh O'Bleary
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
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,
I said, peeling his fingers from my jacket.
goggled at me. "Nader? He's Ross Perot in a Corvair."
"Well, Bradley made
a run for it," I said.
He shook his head. "He'd have had a better shot at making a
comeback with the Knicks."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org