Let me dish about something of very little interest to anyone else for a minute.
Do you remember the last season of “Saved by the Bell,” before the college years, when they tried to phase in a younger class, when Zach’s head was clearly elsewhere (perhaps on the set of NYPD Blue), when Mr. Belding became merely a caricature and when Lark Voorhies just kind of … disappeared? Think hard. Do you also remember — I have a point, and this is it — how A.C. Slater began to suddenly look MUCH older than everyone else? As if Marty McFly had taken a trip in time and then come back and found that Slater was like 60 years old?
That is how I feel.
How did I get so old?
True story: A friend of mine, also a senior, made the half-mistake, half-Yatzhee of becoming extremely close friends with a female high schooler. I’m not positive that she ever bothered to unsubscribe to Tiger Beat. She’s young. She’s a looker, but none of my friends are quite sure that makes it all right.
Anyway, this guy, let’s call him Ken, was chilling with this girl and one of her friends. They were talking about something, probably the latest “rap” video or this new World Wide Web — the kids love it! — and he said something was “dope.” So this girl’s friend is like, “Oh my GOD, no one says ‘dope’ anymore!” As if Ken had just dropped acid and thought he was back in the late 90s, or perhaps the 40s.
At Toad’s, ever since, I’ve been scared to talk to anyone for fear that they’re freshmen and won’t approve of my lexicon. All you hear when you’re a freshmen or a sophomore is that being a senior, and especially a senior guy, is the greatest time of your life. And there are a few perks — society is great, I can drink anywhere I like, and I get credit for a “class” called the senior essay. I haven’t been to that class yet. Suddenly, all of the bouncers seem like a joke. You want six forms of backup? Sure! Why not! Here’s a letter from my mother and an utility bill! My birth certificate! A picture of my dog and me!
Though I pick on President Levin a lot, I’m beginning to understand that he’s probably just senile. All those times I thought he was leading the anti-student wave at Yale, he was probably just tired or forgot to go to work. I’ve been forgetting to go to a lot of classes. I’m also starting to remember a lot of things that no one else remembers. The freshmen, I realized with a wave of nausea, were born in 1984. Maybe one or two of them were born in 1985. Think about all of the things they don’t remember! Don Mattingly’s 1988 campaign, Silver Spoons, A-Ha, Crystal Pepsi, the Popple craze of ’86, and so on.
Writing this, I’m feeling a little depressed. So I’ll turn to a fellow aged one for solace: Danny Almonte. More specifically, I’ll turn to the Danny Almonte drinking game. For those of you who don’t know, Almonte was the phenom southpaw who tossed a perfect game followed by a 16-strikeout (in a six-inning game) performance in the Little League World Series. He turned out to be like 26. Everyone acted surprised when this came out, which means that I’m only the one who noticed that he was 9 inches taller than the tallest player on the Yale baseball team and had a deep, rich baritone.
The game is this: when Danny throws a strikeout, drink a beer. We tested it on the 16-strikeout game against the Florida pony leaguers, and what resulted was hours of glassy-eyed sickness. Good times, good times. And all in the distant past, as I mount the Ararat of — gasp! — my 20s.
I hate to be all gather-ye-rosebuds, but gather ye rosebuds. Gather ye nights at Naples with your friends. Gather ye matches of the Danny Almonte drinking game (also works with Randy Johnson). Skip Science Fact, Science Fiction. It passes quickly; and maybe we’re all feeling a little bit older, as I do, after what happened last Tuesday. It’s hard not to think that Yale will be one of the truly good times, the good and great times, that we remember 20 years from now. Make it worth remembering.
There’s a great moment at the end of “Rushmore,” my favorite movie, after the play (Adios, Esposito) when you just know that Max will never be the same, but that it’s all right. That song comes on and the curtains close and he’s dancing with Olivia Williams, the hottie teacher, and all of a sudden the movie has this entire other meaning. Well, I feel like the seniors are all having their Max moments now. Me included. Though I’m sure I won’t remember writing this when I’m at Beta, watching some kid dance around and fall down Saturday, I hope some people know what I mean.
I know, I know. I sound very wise and all, but that’s just because I’ve had all these years to build up to this level of sageness. Maybe in a few years, killing time at Lazard, I’ll be reading some freshman’s lament about getting old and having only a year of BAR left to chill in the Bru Room. As my friend would say, that’d be dope.
Charles Finch is a senior in Berkeley.