Tap night approaches, and with it, the BIGGEST SINGLE DECISION that this year’s juniors will make during their time at Yale: What kind of alcohol to bring to pre-tap the week before. Oh and also which society they want to join. WKND knows that you will be expending most of your mental energy on the first question (hint: Scotch), so we’ve pulled together a quick questionnaire to help you make the second decision — provided, that is, that you’ve been tapped for all five of Yale’s most prestigious Secret Societies: Skull and Bones, Scroll and Key, Book and Snake, Wolf’s Head and Porn’ n’ Chicken.
1. How many generations of your family have gone to Yale?
a. Two or fewer
b. Three or more
c. My last name is Yale.
2. Has anyone in your family been elected to the Federal government? (No judges, they’re boring.)
3. If you answered Yes to #2: How many terms has your family collectively served in office?
a. Two or fewer
b. Three or more
c. My last name is Bush and/or Clinton.
4. Do you enjoy drinking rum?
5. Do you enjoy pirate-themed activities other than drinking rum?
6. When I say “Jolly…” you say…
a. …nothing, and just stare at me quizzically.
7. How much did you like the film “Dead Poets Society”?
b. Pretty good
8. How crystallized are your plans for world domination?
a. Rough outline. Includes a giant drill and a nuclear warhead. Seemed to work pretty well for Dr. Evil.
b. First draft. Settled on manipulation of global capital markets using complex financial instrument to short the Mongolian Tugrik currency and set off a worldwide financial panic. Sketchy beyond that.
c. Quadruple-checked. Can’t tell you?
9. How WASP-y are you?
a. Not very.
b. My dad has blond hair and blue eyes, makes us dress up on Easter and is afraid of showing affection.
c. My family came over on the Mayflower and all of my female ancestors born prior to 1850 were named “Prudence.” We now own a 10% stake in Vineyard Vines.
d. I literally have a stinger.
10. What activities would you like to do with your society?
a. Drink vodka and howl at the moon.
b. Talk about politics, make fun of Scroll and Key and Skull and Bones.
c. Talk about politics, make fun of Skull and Bones.
d. Sit in a circle for hours without smiling.
11. Which do you prefer, pornography or fried chicken?
c. I love them both like children and could never be forced to decide.
TO “TAP-ULATE” YOUR SCORE: Add up the numbers of your answers to each question: For each question, answer #1 is worth one point, answer #2 is worth two points, and so on. All the questions total 32 points.
11-17 Points: Wolf’s Head. Sure, you talk the elite-society talk, but can you walk the corresponding walk? WKND isn’t so sure. The most telling walk that we’ve ever seen a member of Wolf’s Head take was around the back of the tomb to take a midday leak during a barbecue. That experience has in turn colored our entire perception of Wolf’s Head, which we now view as the drunken fratboy of the elite societies. It doesn’t help that, given William Harkness’ membership in the society, we also blame Wolf’s Head for the Harkness Bells. But this is all just our opinion. And besides, the bells are OK. Wolf’s Head boasts among its other alumni Erastus Corning the 2nd, former Mayor of Albany and current contender for the Most Medieval Sounding Name award, as well as former Yale president A. Whitney Griswold, whose membership adds context to his famous dismissal of “Bonesy bullshit.” A little jealous, Whit? Current Wolf’s Head members deal with their inferiority complex by drinking a lot and then urinating on their own tomb.
18-22 Points: Book and Snake. Welcome to Yale’s fourth-oldest society. Before we discuss anything else, let’s be honest about one thing: The name sucks. OK, “book” is just a less interesting version of “scroll,” but “snake?” Where the hell did that come from? Is this the Amazon rainforest? Have you ever seen a snake in New Haven? And what does the combination of books and snakes even signify? Are you trying to kill the snake by hitting it with the book? Is it a book about snakes? Anyways, we’re sure you’ll do all sorts of interesting things with your fellow Bookworms.
23-26 Points: Scroll and Key. So close — yet so far! You should join Yale’s second-oldest, second-most illustrious society. We know you’re happy to be a member anyway, right? Being snubbed by the Bonesmen doesn’t hurt one bit! Anyway, God knows their pirate theme is getting old. Notable Scroll and Key alumni include Doonesbury cartoonist Gary Trudeau and the famed American mineralogist Edward Salisbury Dana. According to an authoritative source (Wikipedia), Scroll and Key is also the destination of choice for the descendants of Mayflower passengers. Your tomb’s proximity to Woodbridge Hall makes you look like a society of suck-ups, but that’s OK, because you are. At least you can take solace in knowing that your name, while not as cool as “Skull and Bones,” is at least cooler than “Book and Snake.” Who the hell came up with that? Oh, right, somebody in Book and Snake.
27-31 Points: Skull and Bones. Congratulations! You should join Yale’s oldest and most illustrious pirate-themed society. Each member gets a nickname like “Magog,” “Sancho Panza,” or “Blackbeard.” If no one from your tap year ever filibusters a bill he or she doesn’t like, your year will have been a dud. Skull and Bones has given us FedEx, American football and the Iraq War. It’s a tradition you should be proud to join. You can look forward to lots of pirate jokes despite a conspicuous lack of rum. If you ever worry that the hooligans at Wolf’s Head or Book and Snake are having more fun than you, just remember that you have the coolest name by far. Work on your scowl- it’s a necessary accessory. Along with a parrot, of course
32 Points (Perfect Score): Porn ‘n’ Chicken. In fact, “Dead Poet’s Society” is only the second-best movie about an illustrious Yale society: Comedy Central’s made-for-TV “Porn ’n Chicken,” a 2002 release about the eponymous society, boasts a stellar 4.8 rating on IMDB. It tells the true story of how, against all odds, a group of Yale students came together to eat fried chicken and watch porn in the hopes of one day making a film of their own, which they would call “The StaXXX.” Although founder James Ponsoldt ’01, who went by “Sweet Jimmy the Benevolent Pimp,” would later say in a New Yorker profile (!) that Yale administrators were “pretty cool” about the entire project, the film was never completed. The fate of Yale’s greatest secret society thus lies in your hands. We are not making this up.