Let me start by giving credit where it’s due. This article was inspired by the 2009 Disney masterpiece “Old Dogs,” starring Robin Williams and John Travolta, in which our washed-up leading men have to babysit a ninja, or switch lives with a turtle, or dismantle a bomb while in full scuba gear, or birth a child or something. I can’t remember, but I’m sure it’s comedic gold. Anyways, this article is not about that movie. Is it bad form to start with a tangent? Harold Bloom, I know you’re reading this. Sorry about the utter shit that is my prose. Also, we still on for Froyo, Thursday? K cool. <3 Now, here goes my article, fo’ real, fo’ real:
When campus celebrity Coco Pannell ’11 tells you Bulldog Days Late Night at SAE (with prefrosh!) is “gonna be the bomb, y’all,” you don’t argue. You accompany her. And then you leave when you realize you talked about Yorkside with someone for 10 minutes longer than you’d ever wanted to talk about Yorkside. This is how I spent my Thursday night.
On the walk home from the most depressing experience of my life, I was struck by a profound empathy with old dogs around America (which surpassed my standard baseline of empathy for old dogs around America). I now understood the ambivalence of my 9-year-old Rottweiler, Satchmo Mario Costantini, when we brought home a tiny pug puppy a few years ago. Satchmo knew it. We knew it: The new puppy was a replacement.
And now, I can see that Satchmo’s reality has become my own. Last week, Master Yale walked through the front door with our (hotter, dumber) replacements. At first, surely, these bulldog pups were endearing. Look what big paws, what floppy ears, what nice cargo shorts! Patiently, we let the eager pups nip at our faces and romp in our personal space, answering questions about improv comedy and the residential college system until our ears bled. (“I hear Ezra Stiles has a loom for sustainable weaving?”) But before too long, after one too many ear tugs, this old dog snapped.
“Really?! THAT is my replacement?”, I thought to myself/yelled to a confused homeless New Havener on my walk home. “But! Come on! He still thinks it’s cool to jump on the furniture and attend UOFC-sponsored dances! He doesn’t even know where to pee yet and won’t be able find Lynwood for another two years!” (NOTE TO ANY UNDERCLASSMEN WHO HAVEN’T FIGURED THIS OUT: LYNWOOD AND WHERE TO PEE ARE ONE AND THE SAME.)
But, mid-thought/yell, it occurred to me that my angst and jealousy for the class of 2015 is nonsense. Despite all of the apprehension and ambivalence I channel into my assiduous loom-weaving in Ezra Stiles College, the real world awaits me. And I’ve decided that I’m going to embrace it with open paws (see what I did there?).
The old dog eventually outgrows his pen. Once we’ve stopped caring about the residential college dining hall rankings, and we’ve grown tired of the gossip of the IvyGateRumpusJuicyCampusBullBlogs, maybe it’s our time to move on and make room for a new (hotter, dumber) class. But, class of 2011, what I realized in that moment is, these old dogs aren’t dying; we’re being taken to the farm. Not just any farm, but the “he’ll have more space to run and lots of dog friends, our apartment is too small for a Rottweiler, he’ll be so much happier there” kind of farm. Now I realize that Satchmo didn’t really die, but was just doing a Fulbright in Argentina or Teaching for America in New Orleans. This is not really our end, Old Dogs, this is a happier beginning.
But, before our imminent rebirth as farm animals, let us take a page from the John Travolta/Robin Williams book and romp around with the kids in the few wondrous weeks we have left at Yale. #swuglyfe