The Game by Jack Stone
Back at Mower, Minehan was waiting. He shook me by the shoulders, breaking me out of my funk.
“We got too much ta do for ya to be moping. Tim’ll be back before ya knowed it.” Good thing the boy was straight.
He insisted he get another swim lesson from the girls. All of us were in the pool, cheering him on. He completed all four required laps. He was ready for his test. I told everyone about riding on Tim’s back as he played dolphin in Miami.
“He liked it even more,” I countered. The girls looked at each other and giggled.
“Can’t stop bein’ a perv,” David snarled.
“I’ll buy pizza, if you stop being a homophobe.”
“Deal,” since he had no idea what that word meant.
Off we went to ‘Noch’s.
The seven of us, including David, went to noon mass at St Paul’s on Monday. While eating lunch with Father John, Dr Marier sat with us, asking to see the golden tear drops. Minehan had several in his pocket, which he held out.
“Ya can’t touch ‘em,” he ordered.
“I just want to look,” the school director stated. “Cardinal Medeiros spoke with Cardinal Cooke. The ones from St Patrick’s are diamonds. Why did we get just gold.”
“Maybe ‘cause St Patrick’s a cathedral and St Paul’s just a parish,” David had a solid sense of values.
“Maybe because Tim was playing ‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond’, ” was my opinion.
“Just the same. The Archdiocese is treating yesterday as a possible miracle. You boys will be questioned as to what you saw.”
“Well, Tim’s the saint. He’s already in LA,” I explained.
“No one’s a saint yet. The boys are already worked up enough about it. What have you been telling them about ghosts and spirits?”
“Did Cardinal Cooke tell you about Teen Jesus?”
“Oh, Lord. What are you boys up to?”
“Since the gospel doesn’t speak about Christ in his youth, a policeman in Miami called us Teen Jesus after we were singing ‘Amazing Grace’ in the street. He wondered if Jesus had been a rowdy teenager. Previously we played at our bass player’s Baptist youth group. A girl thought she saw a spirit or ghost hovering above us.”
“Be ecumenical, Doctor. We all pray to the same God.”
“So you encourage kids to follow you like the pied piper due to their belief in Jesus.”
“That’s backwards. Jesus is in their hearts and they trust us because we all share him.”
“Why were the police involved?”
“You need to talk with Tim. I joined the band after his best friend Jace was killed. The spirit of Jace is Teen Jesus. I can attest that he continues to inspire us. I replaced him on guitar but it’s like he never left. He’s in my heart, even though I never met him in the flesh.” Little did I want to discuss how well I knew him.
“And Tim left town.”
“He starts a new job today in Los Angeles. What happened at Sunday mass was a shock to all of us. The boys played the same song as was played at St Patrick’s, ‘Wish You Were Here.’ We all want Jesus to return.
“So rock and roll is the new way to pray,” he was being sarcastic.
“When it is spiritual. It comes from gospel music. That’s why the Baptists are more attuned to it. The Church has only come around since Vatican II.”
“We need to speak with Tim when he returns. Cardinal Cooke said he purposely avoids him, as well.”
“He doesn’t want to be treated like a saint. He’s not Teen Jesus. Jace was not perfect, rowdy and promiscuous, smoking and drinking. I never met him because he always skipped school.”
“You’re not making a strong case for yesterday’s ‘miracle.’”
“We don’t promote Teen Jesus. We tell everyone that Jace’s mission was to make kids safe. Can we go help the boys with their guitar lesson now?”
“I think we need to investigate what happened yesterday more before allowing you to teach the boys,” Dr Marier was asserting his authority. I knew what that meant.
“Well, let us speak with Father John. He’s fully capable of doing the teaching. His heart is pure, unlike we rock sinners.”
“I’m not saying you’re sinners,” Dr Marier tried to seem reasonable. “I’ll go get Father John to meet you here.”
I realized I better not do my confessions at St Paul’s. I’d call Father Frank. Franciscans are much more tolerant.
“We’re no longer allowed to teach the boys,” I told Father John.
“I was afraid of that. What happened at Sunday mass was beautiful. How that can be prohibited makes me question my faith.”
“It is the elders who have lost faith, Father. You still have a trusting heart. Luckily, you learned all that is necessary for you to teach soul music from the heart.”
“I’m not Black. How can I teach soul music?”
“White soul, brother. White soul.”
He smiled and our mission here would continue. At least I didn’t need to attend daily mass anymore.
It was mid-term exam week in classes. I used my left hand to submit the exams for Tim. When the blue books were returned, several professors praised Tim’s improvement, as he finally got decent grades. I knew he didn’t care. We had been speaking nightly by phone. I related the test topics and argued with him, as he had his own contrarian views on the subjects. I argued that he needed to at least embrace what I had written for him. Otherwise, we both could be expelled for cheating. He complained I was cornering him into my lame regurgitation of the professor’s ideas. Three thousand miles away, he could care less if he was expelled. Minehan slapped me out of my dismay about Tim’s defection from our common cause. David yelled at Tim the next night, insisting we share the call. Tim just laughed and agreed to go along with me and my unoriginal ideas. David worried his grades on his midterms would be as dismal as Tim’s had been, but he was improving without copying me.
Minehan had contacted Joey at Rahar’s and The Neighborhoods were booked there the next weekend. Joan and Trudie were happy we were coming to Smith again, especially since we warned them in advance. Troy agreed to take the five 3D girls in the Dodge Dart after I assured him that none were lesbians stalking Smithies. I would ride in Jim’s parent’s car with the band. Carol asked to come with me. David beamed from the unexpected bump of his sex appeal. Carol told the other 3Ders she would out them as lesbians if they let anyone else know she was dating a high schooler. I told her to not call it dating, rather she was mentoring the poor boy. Good luck, Carol.
We all ate at Friendly’s. I begged Troy to go easy on the Awful Awfuls. He had no memory of their late night regurgitation. Because Minehan’s band had opened at Rehar’s previously, they were bumped up to second on the bill. He took advantage of the pitchers of beer Joey provided all the bands and was completely wasted when he went on stage. He alternated between leaning on the mic stand and draping himself all over his bassist Jim. They now had a ten-song set, but between Minehan’s slurring of the words and the speed of the songs, they pretty much blended all together.
He kept dedicating each song to Carol, slipping up only once and saying Roxanne by mistake. They finished up with ‘Roxanne,’ which left Carol confused. I told her that Roxanne had dumped David. She had nothing to worry about. She sighed, “High School.”
I walked Joan and Trudie back to their dorm so they could make the ten o’clock curfew. The house-mother, Mrs. Battle-axe, noted the time as we stood on the old dorm’s porch. I hugged Trudie, who was missing Tim. Joan and I frenched until we both were squirming. Mrs. Battle-axe flipped the porch lights on and off, as curfew was being exceeded. I totally understood the girls’ desire to follow the rules. My dick was completely confused. It was ready and able after having resolved sexual identity issues.
When I got back to Rahar’s, Minehan was passed out on the front steps. He mumbled that they had thrown him out when the headline band refused to let him join them onstage. Wise move.
“It’s not as friendly as the Rat,” I consoled him.
“Fuckin’ hicks in the sticks,” he complained.
I deposited him in the back of Jim’s parents’ station wagon, where he completely passed out. I removed the sports coat he wore as an homage to the Modern Lovers and laid it under his head to catch any vomit from ruining Jim’s car.
Joey cornered me when I went inside.
“Where’s Tim? I expected him to keep that kid under control,” Joey complained.
“He’s in LA. He’s got a job on a movie there. He’ll be back in the Spring.”
Joey got a faraway look in his eyes when I said LA. You can take the boy outta the gutter but not the gutter outta….
“Com’n and meet the 3D girls. They’re our groupies,” I encouraged him to forget about Hollywood.
“I thought they were all lesbians.”
“They’re totally into Tim. They know we’re boyfriends but they don’t care.”
“Hah. That boy’s learned all my tricks.”
“And a few more along the way.”
The headline band was still pissed about Minehan trying to upstage them. The 3D girls had all sat back and ignored them. The band blamed Minehan, for upsetting the groupies.
“Ya never should have let him drink. He’s 17 and too skinny to drink, even beer.”
“Now ya tell us.”
“Sorry. I wasn’t paying attention, having to keep my girlfriend and my roommate’s girlfriend entertained.” I was such a hetero-stud.
“We’re telling all the bands out here to never let The Neighborhoods go on before them. They’re show-stoppers.”
“I think they’ve graduated from opening act.”
“You need to play the Rat,” I advised.
“No way. That’s a pit.”
“Ya gotta staht somewayah,” I fell into New English. Just hanging with the locals.
We loaded the equipment into the station wagon, moving Minehan into the middle bench seat. Carol looked anxiously at the senseless boy, realizing the pitfalls of dating a high schooler. Perhaps they had had further plans for the evening. The Irish curse trumped those plans. I actually missed him when Jim drove off to Waltham. The six of us piled into the Dart. Joey had continued Troy’s access to free liquor. He had to be propped up in the back while I drove. Jill and Carol sat with me while Trixie and Jean were squeezed into the back with Troy. We chatted up front, while the back seat slept. I never knew that girls snored before. Jill and I sympathized with Carol’s dilemma; I missed Tim; Jill missed him too but was not saying so. Finally kidding her for still crushing on him, I told her that Tim had no problem sharing his love. I explained that Trudie and he accommodated my being his only boyfriend. We had a long bull session about the differences between straight and gay affairs. It came down to possessiveness. I couldn’t believe I was defending open relationships when I was so jealous of Tommy, the junior high kid.
“Tim was dating a junior high kid?” she was shocked.
“They escaped from juvie together and lived in the swamp for four months. The boy was so horny for Tim that anytime Tim was even slightly nice to him, the boy had involuntary orgasms.”
She got wide-eyed, and then accused me of making it up.
“Jace is satisfying Tommy’s gay needs and he has a girlfriend now. He’s in 9th grade.”
“What was sick was my being so possessive that I made Tim throw him under the bus last Christmas. I had to escape from Switzerland and move to Iowa. I almost died in a Baptist snake ritual.”
She just laughed, sure that it was all made up. “Just like you claimed to be surfers from Malibu when you got to Harvard.”
“That was a joke. We stopped lying when we saw that some people actually believed us.”
“I don’t believe Tim would date a little kid.”
“You’re right. Tim’s way too mature for 14-year-olds.”
She just shook her head. I put my arm around her and she snuggled in. Now I felt guilty. I believed there was something in the Northampton water that made girls hypersexual. No wonder they have a lesbian reputation. Too much Kool-Aid.
I parked Troy’s Dart and with the girls’ help got him safely to his dorm. No Awful Awful Offal this week. Even Troy was more mature.
Jill and I continued working together in order to complete the Barbarella of Boston article for the Lampoon’s The Game issue. Minehan was pushing to get the 100th Anniversary Playing Card set done and printed, so he could start pocketing the cash from sales. A proof set had been printed, but we kept changing the faces around, never agreeing on who was Stubby, Limpy, Minuteman, and the other derogatory names. Fatty Terry was assigned to be the Joker. We worked hard on these projects, no longer needing to attend intern duties at the Lampoon Castle.
Mid-term grades came back. Minehan was stunned to find he had joined me on the honor roll. The girls accused him of copying my work. I knew better. He gained praise for his original thought on assigned topics. Whereas Tim came across as arrogant, David was too insecure about being exposed as still in high school and presented the same points of view in a more respectful manner. I felt like I was his manners mentor.
The Boy’s Choir project was entirely in Father John’s hands. We honored Dr Marier’s prohibition against working with the boys. It was a surprise when they showed up at our door in Mower. I was taken aback at the sight of them. It was bad enough having a high schooler secretly living there, but two junior highers visiting was too much. I would ask Mick to keep the kids out of the Yard.
“Have Father John come with you,” I told them.
“We don’t know why you stopped giving us lessons,” Kevin explained. “Father John is just learning with us. You’re already a rock star.”
“Hardly,” I demurred. I was able to feel the loss and the yearning in their hearts. They were so innocent. “Once Dr Marier decides we aren’t a bad influence, we’ll come back. You played the Processional so beautifully, it overwhelmed him.”
“We still have our golden snowflakes,” they pulled out their souvenirs. Jace appeared and the tear drops/snowflakes started to glow.
“Make sure no one else touches them. Unbelievers make them dissolve.”
“We feel so blessed just being with you,” they gushed. I knew from the yearning in their hearts that they wanted to be hugged. My heart let them know I wanted to hug them, leaving it at that. I knew that I was acting perverted.
“Have Father John contact me. He’s your ally. We want all the choir to love the music as you do.”
“Okay, Jack,” Liam said, turning to leave. “I love you.”
We all turned bright red.
Once they left, Minehan started laughing. “Guess ya got new boyfriends, Gaybo.”
“You can call Tim that, but call me Jack-off, Gumby.”
That broke the tension and we laughed all the way to ‘Noch’s. Pizza solves all dilemmas.
“Don’t your folks keep track of you? You’re seldom home,” I quizzed him while we scarfed a large pepperoni and onion.
“They just think I’m at school or working with the band. They don’t really want to know unless I get into trouble, as is usual. I’ve been ‘good’ for two months now. It’s a record.”
“What about your friends, other than Jim and Mike? Don’t they miss you?”
“I ain’t got no friends.”
“’My troubles never end,’” I quoted the Ramones.
“’Daddy don’t like men,” he misquoted.
“That explains the homophobia,” I laughed.
“What the fuck does that mean?” he really didn’t see his own behavior.
“Phobia is a Greek word for fear, so you fear homos.”
“I ain’t afraid of you, Jack-Off.”
“You make fun of me because underneath you feel uncomfortable.”
“So claustrophobia is fear of being in the closet?”
I choked on half a slice of pizza. David jumped up and slapped my back until the pasta regurgitated, landing in the middle of the pie.
“Pizza Pizza Projectile,” he pointed at the mess. Our dinner was ruined. Off to commons for cafeteria food.
Jill’s article was ready for the mockup.
‘Some people call me Bossy, just because I’m a woman. I prefer Boston Barbarella. I am the new Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Lampoon. 1976 is our 100th anniversary. In 100 years there has never been a female editor. The day I first walked in, I took charge. The previous editor laughed when I announced I was replacing him. I flashed my boobs at him, reducing him to ashes. The staff took note. There was a new sheriff in town. Tetas trump cajones.
Time for changes to reverse 100 years of sexism. One staffer jumped up and proclaimed he already had a feminist perspective. I called him a pussy and made him clean up the bathroom with his feminist perspective. Another staffer gave me ‘the eye.’ I knew what he needed, leading him into my office, strapping on my dildo, and giving his love canal a thorough cleaning. There would be no more come hither looks from the staff after they heard him crying and begging for mercy. By the time I got off, he was begging for more. The way to settle all sexual harassment suits is to make sure all parties are fully satisfied.
The next day I posted new rules for the reign of Boston Barbarella:
1. The dress code for males requires tight jeans that accent butts and packages.
2. No more standing up in the bathroom to pee.
3. Leaving the seat up was cause for termination.
4. Female staffers are to be addressed as ‘Yes, my mistress.’
5. Males are to be addressed as ‘honey, or ‘sweetness.’
6. Casual Friday means all male staffers work shirtless.
7. Hygiene for males means clipped toenails, shaved underarms, and bikini waxes.
8. Male staffers are required to stay in the dorm when it is that time of the month.
9. Sexual relations between staffers end only when the woman is satisfied.
10. The Ibis on the masthead is replaced by a nesting bird.
11. Accusing a female of being a lesbian for refusing to date a male staffer is subject to the lash.
As I proclaimed the new rules, a foolish male staffer complained. I bent him over and told him to take it like a female and ‘woman up.’ His voice permanently rose two octaves. Staffer Terry went missing after being sent to Radcliffe and was harassed by chubby chasers. ` I refused to pay the ransom demand. No one stood up for him. His miniscule penis was delivered in a cardboard box. Previous editor Kurt and I went to Radcliffe to negotiate for Dickless Terry’s release. After Kurt failed to sexually satisfy all the chubby chasers by going down on them, both boys were executed for failing to perform cunnilingus. They were barbeque’d on a spit on the spot. The Amazons of Arlington, as they called themselves, were hired to replace the two boys, promising to instill a real feminine mystique at the Lampoon. Female staffers were allowed cuts in line to the one bathroom. All male staffers were required to attend sensitivity and self-esteem classes at Radcliffe. They never returned. I marched into Dean Epps office and demanded Harvard be merged into Radcliffe. All Lampoon staffers will be female for the next 100 years. Male staffers will be permanent interns. Thus I became known as Barbarella the Beneficient, Ruler of the Yard. The stork mascot was replaced by a bloody Tampon.
Long live Women’s rights, equality for women and slavery for men.’
Kurt laughed several times while reading our copy.
“You realize I was killed twice in this story,” he noted.
“Just proves how hard it is to take down a tyrant,” Jill answered.
He glared, and we changed his first death from reduced to ashes by Barbarella’s boobs to reduced to a blubbering bowl of Jello. Barbecuing him on a spit was too delicious to remove.
His glare softened as he looked at the playing cards with caricatures on the face cards. David whooped when Kurt approved the full printing of the 100th anniversary set, already counting his profits. Kurt also approved using the face cards with graffiti scrawled across the caricatures. Our first Lampoon assignment was complete – no reverting back to intern status. Kurt pressed us on an inside story of the 3D girls’ Mower dorm exploits. We needed their permission to lampoon them. The cat was out of the bag on that project, as the 3D girls refused to be exploited. We suggested a fictional version at another dorm.
“After The Game issue comes out. We don’t want to be seen as the defender of Harvard women,” Kurt demurred.
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because officially, there are no women at Harvard. Jill and all your girlfriends are still Radcliffe girls.”
“One step forward, another one back,” Jill complained.
We left it at that. Time for cheer squad practice.
We had found an ally with the Cheer squad’s advisor, Chuck. A younger faculty member, he had been a college gymnast and was enthusiastic about incorporating music with the squad’s field routines. Once the male cheerleaders got over their jealousy about the ‘hot’ outfits that Mummy had funded, they appreciated the reception the fans in the stands gave to their joint efforts to inspire the football players as their spirited 12th man. Victory over Princeton also raised their morale. Chuck suggested I participate in their practices with the aid of my MOOG. I became a regular up in the press box improvising music to make the cheering into dance routines, as Harvard Stadium rocked out to my MOOG. The Boston Herald heard about our practices and photos appeared regularly in their sports section. My ego loved that I was back in the news, no longer on Page Six but in Section C – Sports. I was even given a cheer squad sweater. Mummy was proud. Dad amused.
The next football game was at Penn. My phone calls with Tim had changed from daily to sporadic. I spoke more often with Tony than Tim when I called Doug’s house. He explained that Tim was working day and night as the movie ‘Animal House’ neared the beginning of its shoot. He suggested I call Jimmy at Larrabee Studios to catch Tim. Jimmy was helping Tim round-up talent for the movie’s sound track. He got Tim calling me more often. My immediate hope was that Tim would meet us at Penn. That was not possible with Tim’s busy weekends in Hollywood.
“The twins are coming out from Iowa. I have to be there. Also, Kurt wants my first hand report on the movie’s progress. I’ll be there,” he reassured me.
It made me miss him even more. I hadn’t had a chance to tell him about the fallout from Jace’s apparition at St Paul’s. I had been speaking with Father John who brought Kevin and Liam to several band practices at the Mower boiler room. David’s Neighborhoods were also coming regularly. It was like a three band jam. Father John had obtained permission for the choir boy’s band to perform at the annual Christmas celebration. It helped that I was dragging everyone to morning mass. The Christmas performance meant I’d be staying in Cambridge for the first week of Christmas break. Finals were coming up, so the extra time from not teaching rock to the choir meant more preparation for my and David’s grades. Carol had taken over as David’s tutor, much to his glee. Everyone still relied on my lecture notes. I agreed with Tim that the subject matter in freshman classes was not ground-breaking, but I certainly was learning time management skills.
With David sitting in Tim’s seats for lectures, the teaching assistants kept Tim in good standing on attendance. David had high hopes to pay for his tuition with the profit on the Lampoon anniversary playing cards . His backup plan was to prove his commitment to Harvard by making a substantial contribution toward the $3000 bill his parents would soon receive. He had joined the girls as a new member of the cheer leading squad. After they refused to provide him with the male uniform, he appeared for practice in a short skirt and a tight sweater. His long bony legs and no tits didn’t do justice to Mummy’s uniform. The boys relented when they realized that Carol was now his girlfriend and he wasn’t another ‘gay’ like Tim and me. He wore his cheer leading sweater all the time. He was working his official admission to Harvard in reverse order, piling up good grades in actual Harvard courses and adding extracurricular activities in Harvard organizations – the Lampoon, the cheer leading squad, and of course, the semi-official Harvard Sitting Band. He had avoided trouble with the Campus Police and even got a commendation from his friend Mick. From dropout to overachiever, he proved that a Harvard education was worth it. We settled into a normal roommate relationship as I didn’t need private time to be with Tim. He seldom went home to Waltham, continuing to eat at commons on Tim’s meal ticket, complaining that the food was below his mom’s standards. We were typical Harvard freshmen.
The trip to Penn for the Saturday football game: Good manners got me into the press box and the MOOG on their stadium PA system. We had devised a boxing skit between William Penn and John Harvard which required a ragtime sound track to go along with the pratfalls of the boxing and a Keystone Cop routine as our females chased the male Penn cheerleaders around at halftime and their females harassed our male cheerleaders.
It was an easy 20-8 victory for the footballers. The many Harvard fans from Philadelphia greeted us after the game, claiming they had never cheered so hard at football. They also had not known there were women students at Harvard now. I spoke with Dean Epps, who was observing our interactions with the alums.
“You seem to be the leading advocate for Harvard going co-ed,” he observed.
“Just standing up for the Mower girls.”
“I hear you refer to them as 3D girls.”
“That’s the room number where we all hang out. They are at Harvard, not some two-dimensional image. They are real. Get used to it.”
“Have you thought about a career in public relations and advertising.”
“Dad would not be pleased. The career I’m concentrating on is my career at Harvard.”
“You’re doing better at that than I had expected after your multiple visits to my office in September.”
“You were a good influence on Tim and me,” my good manners took over.
“About Tim, why is he taking 24 credits this semester? At this rate he’ll graduate in two years.”
“The Lampoon wanted us separated. He’s on work-study in LA. I send him class notes and submit his assignments. He comes back for exams.”
“Maybe Tim was the problem. Without him, you’re thriving. I even got a call from Cardinal Medeiros about your activity at St Paul’s Choir School.”
My heart sunk that Tim was seen as a bad influence. I bit my lip to keep from complaining.
“Dean Epps, Tim is a wonderful boy. The Church is watching him for possible sainthood.”
“I find that hard to believe. You’re the one who has done so much for Cardinal Cooke and the New York Archdiocese’s homelessness project,” the Dean seemed to know everything. “Maybe Tim’s an instigator and you’re the one who gets things done.”
“We’re a good team, but don’t underrate Tim. I would still be at home playing D&D if he hadn’t come into my life.”
“What’s D&D?” he asked, worried it was related to S&M or B&D (Bondage and Domination).
He stopped listening about ten seconds into my explanation. I would always be a nerd.
I tagged along with the 3D girls as the male cheerleaders dragged us to various frat parties at Penn. The guys appreciated the welcome they got, arriving with five beautiful co-eds. Minehan had to be on his game to defend Carol. Jill attached herself to me, which I played up. Dean Epps would be pleased to see how straight I could act. I reflected that, like Tim, we defied the stereotype that college was the place to be your real self . I was a gay rock star in high school and now a straight frat boy in college. David was a high school ditcher who had to prove himself in college by actually being a good student. Lessons in irony.
It was a long bus ride back to Cambridge. As we drove across the George Washington Bridge, I kicked myself for not taking the 3D girls and David to meet Mummy, our costume patron, at the Dakota. Next time. As we got close to Boston, I missed my room in Mower. It was the first place that was just my place, except of course for roommates, Tim and David. I liked that I was just a college student, maturing at the normal pace. Tim had faced so many challenges already. He was ready to face anything. I’d follow him anywhere, but it was nice to be going in my own direction. I teared up that we were on separate paths. Jill noticed. We spent the rest of the bus ride discussing Tim.
“You really are a nerd,” she concluded, as we pulled into Harvard Square.
“Let’s get pizza,” David shouted as we disembarked. My BankAmericard took a thirty dollar hit. No time to be an introvert.
The following weekend was The Game, against Yale. Football frenzy gripped the campus. Harvard’s football team was 3 and 2 in the race for Ivy League Championship. Yale was undefeated. They even had a graduate playing quarterback in the NFL, unheard of in wimpy Ivy League football lore. He was also the star of the Doonesbury comic strip. Harvard players felt intimidated. The only hope was tradition. The Game, as it was called, had a history of unlikely upsets. It was a Harvard home game. I would have full access to the stadium PA system. The innovations by the Cheer leading squad – girls in short skirts, musical skits and constant pop music to pump up the home team and deflate the visitors – raised the student body’s expectations. All students, except for the most dedicated Widener Library recluses, were planning on being in the end zone seats. Any lingering animosity between the guys and girls on the cheer squad was lost as we came together to inspire the footballers. I asked Father John to have the St Paul’s Boy Choir sing the national anthem. The Band’s director reluctantly agreed it was a good idea to set ‘a tone’ for The Game. I credited Dean Epps for putting in a good word for me. My emotional high came from anticipating the return of Tim from LA, the girls from Smith, and the Twins first visit from Ames. Nothing could stop me. The Cheer Squad and the Band held our final rehearsal on Friday afternoon. I had Jill and David sing the Tom Lehrer mash-up of ‘Fight Fiercely, Harvard.’ Everyone loved it but the Band Director nixed it being played during The Game. I figured we’d hold it back for dire emergencies.
The Smith girls arrived and we all went to Logan Airport to meet the twins. Tim’s flight was not arriving until much later. After settling all the girls into the Mower third floor, we all dressed up for the 100th anniversary publication party at the Lampoon Castle. Jill was especially excited about the reception of her article on reverse misogyny, featured in The Game issue being released. Joan and Trudie had taken the twins under their wings as outsiders to Harvard tomfoolery. With free beer and an open bar, the Castle was throbbing with cocktail party excitement. Many alumni Lampooners were attending, as well as the usual Harvard ‘swells’ who always knew where to find free drinks. The Castle roof was populated by pot smokers who disdained the older alcohol consumers. Everyone was reading the anniversary issue, laughing at the articles. My and David’s caricatures of the older staff members
created a stir as everyone ran around trying to identify the staffers in the sketches.
David took charge of sales of the anniversary playing cards. I had paid for the printing of a five hundred decks, way more than I figured we could sell. David set the astronomical price of $6 a set. He planned to sell all of them. The profit would completely cover his potential tuition bill. It took all of us to carry the boxes to the Castle. David had set up a booth as his sales headquarters, manned by Jim and Mike from The Neighborhoods. David’s irresistible sales technique was to meet each and every guest, remind them that they were drinking free, and their ‘donation’ for the cards would assist Lampoon interns to afford the astronomical Harvard tuition. He was quite successful with the older alums, who loved being hustled by a teenager. It all came to a screeching halt when one of the abused staffers actually opened his pack and recognized himself as the Queen of Clubs. He ran around and rallied his fellow staffers, who were equally outraged.
They cornered David at his sales booth. Jim and Mike were not up to facing abused college seniors. It was Bossy (Boston Barbarella) to the rescue. She gathered all 9 of the 3D girls (including visitors) and formed a phalanx in front of David. Reprising her role from the lampoon, at her signal, all nine removed their tops and flashed the males. The men were reduced to ashes and slunk away whimpering. The guests applauded at our live reproduction of Jill’s article they had just read. David immediately was back in super-salesman mode. The entire run of cards was sold. Kurt stood there shaking his head. He looked at his card, the King of Spades, making an identical facial expression to that on the card.
“That boy knows how to sell his wares,” Kurt walked over and remarked.
“Wait until you hear his band,” I responded. “He sells himself in their performances.”
“When can I do that?”
“You’ll have to go to the Rat in Kenmore Square, if you want to really see him in his environment. But tomorrow we’re all playing a spirit rally in the Yard.””
“You’re saying he’s a rat?”
“No. The Rats-killer.”
“Oh, in that foreign country; you’re our correspondent from there.”
“Yeah, the fiefdom of South Boston.”
“You think he’ll share some of the profits with the Lampoon?”
“Highly unlikely. It’s his tuition money. Why not send a solicitation to my dad. He’s a soft touch.”
“Really? Most businessmen are tight with their money.”
“I’ll put in a word. The Lampoon has been good for me. They expected I’d join Hasty Pudding.”
“You’re a natural here. Still upset we separated Tim and you?”
“He’s flying in at ten tonight.”
“Will we see you both before he leaves?”
“Not if I have any say about it,” I joked. My heart skipped a beat at his mention of Tim.
The party was at full roar when I left alone to meet Tim’s flight. I was being selfish, wanting him all to myself.
The flight was on time at ten o’clock. I was at the head of the jet way, anxiously searching for his face among the arrivals. I knew he wouldn’t fly first class, but as the stragglers started coming out, I panicked.
“Is that everyone?” I asked the gate agent as he shut the jet way door.
“Sorry. Maybe you missed them. Check at baggage claim,” he suggested.
I half-ran the concourse and took two steps at a time down the escalator but he was not at baggage claim.
I got on a pay phone and called Doug’s in West Hollywood. It was still early in LA. Doug answered. The boys were working already.
“Where’s Tim?” I asked. “He wasn’t on his flight.”
“Oh. I didn’t know he was going back to the City.’
“He was coming to Boston. His sisters are here for the weekend’s football game.”
“I don’t know. He hasn’t been staying here the last few nights. I think he’s with his new friends.”
“What new friends? Those punk friends we met last time?”
“I’m sure he’s okay. Tony would have told me.”
New friends? I was in a panic. I called Jimmy at Larrabee Studios.
“Yeah. He’s been around. Some movie deal he’s working on. I think he’s staying with Joan’s friends in Hollywood. They’re looking for a house band to play in the movie.”
My heart sunk. He couldn’t have just forgotten this was the weekend of The Game.
“Thanks, Jimmy. Tell him to call me if you see him.”
I took the T back to Harvard Square. I wouldn’t cry on the T. I wanted to just mope back to my dorm, but I returned to the Lampoon Castle. The party was still going strong. It was mostly older Lampoon alums. The younger ones were up on the roof in the pot garden. The current staffers had been routed by ‘Bossy and the nine pairs of boobs.’ Legend had been made for the 100th Anniversary.
“Where’s Tim?” the twins ran up, followed by the others. Minehan was still counting his profits.
“He missed his flight,” I supposed.
“What?” everyone shouted. “When’s he getting here?”
“I don’t know,” and I broke down crying.
The 3D girls were in shock. Joan came over and was comforting me. Trudie looked stunned.
The twins were angry, “We flew a thousand miles and he’s a no-show?” Angie was the most upset. Amy looked confused.
“Maybe he’ll be here in the morning,” Jill tried to rescue us.
Even Minehan had come over to our little pity party. “We don’t need him. We’re ready for this weekend, with or without him.”
I was crying again.
Minehan rolled his eyes. I knew what he was thinking, ‘Fags.’
“How about more pizza?” I gulped. No one objected. We went around the block to ‘Noch’s and spent the time waiting for our order by ragging on Tim, mostly for my benefit. I barely smiled. I wasn’t giving up on him so easily.
Minehan slept over that night, sending the rest of his band home. He gave them one hundred dollars each for helping. The $2800 from that night plus the $200 from Rahar’s meant he had earned his tuition. I had to forgive the printing costs. I guess it meant we really were roommates. He was unlikely to tell his friends that he was rooming with the gay enemy. I decided that if Tim failed to show up the next day, I’d turn straight. Watch out, Joan. My maturity took a hit.
The approved football rally was scheduled for 11 o’clock in front of Mower. Minehan posted a ‘Check your Pot at the Door’ sign with a bowl for discarded joints by the entrance to the Mower Quad. An arrow pointed the potheads to a location behind Mower where they would be out-of-sight, out-of-mind to the campus police. David said it was his friend Mick’s idea.
By the time we were ready to start, the lawn was jammed with students, dates, and lookie-loos. We turned the amps up so even those unable to get into the courtyard could at least hear us. I kept a watchful eye out for Tim. My hopes were fading as the time to start approached. We decided to have The Neighborhoods open the set, to get everyone a’goin’. Just thinking like a hick made me more depressed. Joan and Jill cornered me.
“If he shows up, it’ll be a big lift. If he doesn’t, we’ll still be a hit. Think about the fans and how great it is that Harvard has embraced rock n roll,” Jill claimed.
“Yer right,” I fell into Country Speech. “We gots ta put on a show that gits ‘em a’movin’ and a’groovin’ across to that there Stadium.”
The girls stared at me in wonder, finally breaking up and slapping me on the back. I ran up to the mic.
“Wake up Harvard. It’s time to start The Game, right here in the Quad. If you don’t leave ready to make noise at the Stadium, then please go home and die. Any Boola Boolas out there?” I asked. There were a few hurrahs. “Ya might as well go Crimson, ‘cause we know how to party.”
That got a loud cheer. I waved The Neighborhoods to come up and get ready to open the show.
“Y’all knows Minehan ‘cause he’s so friendly at Hahvahd – like a pig in shit.” That got a laugh. “He’s brought his band The Neighborhoods from across the River where they play at The Rat. He’s gonna show y’all that Rock n Roll Never Dies.”
David had taught his boys the new Neil Young cover, ‘Hey Hey My My.’
I pulled out my harmonica and did my best Dylan impression as David kept the rhythm going, coming back with the vocals
‘Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
It’s better to burn out
Than to fade away
Hey hey, my my.
Out of the blue
and into the black
They give you this,
but you pay for that
And once you’re gone,
you can never come back
When you’re out of the blue
and into the black….
The king is gone
but he’s not forgotten
This is the story
of a Johnny Rotten
It’s better to burn out
than it is to fade away….’
SILVER FIDDLE MUSIC
As he finished the cover, Minehan turned up the energy, jumping up and down and cranking old rock with maximum distortion, making some obscure joke about Arrowsmith.
The crowd was hopping up and down, thinking more about Johnny Rotten than Stephen Tyler. The 3D girls were all in front, doing their strutting and sashaying like they expected ‘Walk this Way.’ Instead, David surprised the girls with a love song, “Prettiest Girl’, which he dedicated to Carol. She about swooned as the other 3Ders teased her.
Minehan grabbed a beer from the front row, poured it over his head, spiking his hair and did his version of Sid Vicious voodoo doll mania.
The crowd was in shock at the energy and antics. The girls turned around and charged into the crowd, scattering hippies and half-asleep Deadheads, circling back to the front, bouncing and shaking their tits at the shocked students. First one, then several bold boys joined them bouncing as the girls shimmied for them. The band turned their amps up and never stopped playing between songs.
Finally I grabbed the mic from Minehan.
“Ya ready for them Yale Boola Boys now?’ I challenged the crowd.
I pulled Jill up and she sang our mashup of the Tom Lehrer ‘Fight Fiercely, Harvard.’
The students recognized their song and were singing along. Once she finished, Steve gave her his bass. I went to the MOOG and yelled at David, ‘False Gods.’
I set the tempo on my keyboard, with the moody electronic sound backed by the bass and David on rhythm guitar. He stepped up to the mic.
“This song is for Tim – gone but promising to return in 20 years or more.’
‘Where others feared to tread,
they gave us up for dead,
memories linger eternally,
as Lucifer’s proud plea,
a world of our own,
on high a black throne,
sing to make them see,
happy for eternity
…we are False Gods, we are False Gods…
a world so meek and blind,
we laugh at all of mankind,
we’re Satan’s band,
a world of endless flaws,
facades and miracles applause,
eulogized but despised,
shed your false disguise,
fall to your knees,
utter useless pleas,
…we are False Gods, we are False Gods…
pray in foreign tongues,
shoot your useless guns,
sacrifice hallowed sheep,
shun cold, dark streets,
you’re just nasty fleas,
Set your minds at ease
…False Gods, False Gods…
we live eternally,
we hear your painful screams,
Just wait 20 years or more,
You’ll know just what we mean
….We are False Gods, False Gods..
… False Gods”
“Tim will return,” I screamed. “Then he can claim
“This is our life,
our pride alive
Its our times
Lost our minds
Stupid rules rule
Demand we act
Just like fools
To be like you.
Look at me, you havta scream.
You think we be freakin’
You gotta be fast to not be seen.
No wonder we’re always sneakin’
Then we went right into:
Never been caught
All over town
Better than not.
Thrill’s in the chase
No time to waste
Folks on my case
All is in haste.
Waiting’s the worst
You were my first
I need you now
We’re on the prowl.
Back of an alley
Sprawled in the dirt
No time to dally
Who will cum first.
shaka shaka love?
‘shaka shaka love shaka shaka
Shaka shaka love shaka shaka.”
The girls turned around and were shimmying to the shaka’s. The boys were hopped up on testosterone and were all bouncing to the vibrating boobies. David called them out with
‘“I say, …you…
You’re such a fool
You’re just a tool
But I love…you
I say…. you…
What can we do?
You said we’re through
What can I….. do
I say,…. you…
We break the rules
We act real cruel
I really need…. you…
I say, …you..”
He collapsed into Carol’s outstretched arms. Jill went to the mic.
“Time for football gentlemen. And no better way to start it off then with Jimi Hendrix’
I used the MOOG to start the Star Spangled Banner. Minehan abandoned Carol, grabbed his guitar and ripped into the distorted psychedelic riffs. Jill sang the actual words. Half the crowd moaned and whined the words as Minehan went off on guitar. He even did the teeth slide move. I was afraid he was about to make the Pete Townsend smashing guitar finale. I played the final crashing chord, ending our set.
“Time to kick ass at the Stadium,” I yelled into the mic.
The crowd roared back and charged out of the Quad across the Charles to football. Minehan was on his back. Jim threw himself into Mike’s drum set. Jill kept playing the bass lines, until everyone was gone.
“Not bad,” was Minehan’s critique. “Ya don’t need Tim. We’ll keep this lineup as the new Neighborhoods.”
Steve and Mike looked upset.
“No way. This was rock n roll history. You go out and make new history with The Neighborhoods,” I told him. “Anyway, time to be cheerleaders.”
David and the 3D girls went to change into their cheer outfits. I told Joan and Trudie I needed to go to the Lampoon Castle to use a phone to find Tim. Jim and Mike joined us as we walked across Mass Avenue. I tried to find Tim in my heart but he was closed off. I got really worried and started signing with Jace. He also couldn’t reach Tim. Post-performance blues descended on me.
“What were you doing?” Jim asked about my signing with Jace.
“I asked that band spirit I told you about to contact Tim, but he wasn’t able to.”
“You can talk to each other like reading each other’s minds?”
“Sort of. I can ask a question and my heart will tell me what he would say. Not today. We’re cut off.”
“I’ll bet he’s on drugs,” Jim surmised.
“When I do downers, it’s like I can’t feel anything. My feelings are numb.”
“Fuck,” I said. “Tim’s been hanging around junkies in Hollywood. I can’t believe he’d do it. It really messed up his cousin.”
“Sounds like a family gene,” Jim obviously knew his drugs.
I was really in a funk. We walked into the Lampoon Castle. The older staffers were cleaning up. They hoped we were there to help.
“Just need to use the phone,” I asked Kurt.
“Go ahead, use my office,” as Kurt corralled the others for clean-up. Teens are easy to boss around.
I called Doug’s, letting it ring until Jimmy finally picked up. It was only 10 am in LA.
“S’up?” he asked once I told him who I was.
“Know where Tim is. He was supposed to fly to Boston last night.”
“He’s been working during the day, some movie job,” Jimmy burped, barely awake. “He doesn’t always come here at night. Hanging out with Hollywood punks. They stay up all night.”
Now I was worried. “He with Joan Jett?”
“Mostly some rich bitches from West LA. Joan’s friends with them when they’re holding.”
“Is he doing drugs, you think?”
“Everyone’s doing drugs in Hollywood.”
“Anyway to get ahold of him?”
“If you wanna drive around and find him, we’ll just ask some punks on the Boulevard.”
“I’m in Boston.”
“Oh, well, I can get Tony to drive around, but no one’s up this early, especially junkies.”
“Could you? I’m really worried about him.”
“He’s my hero, too. Call back in six hours or so. I’ll leave a message with Doug if we find him.”
“Ask him to call me.”
“Good luck on that one.” He was used to runaways hiding from their families and/or the cops.
“We’ll find him. Be patient.”
“I can’t,” I sniffed.
“Hey, drugs ain’t that bad,” he tried to make it seem better.
One look and Joan came running over, followed by the others.
“Looks like he’s doing hardcore drugs and doesn’t care,” I explained. I burst into tears. Kurt and the other staffers looked embarrassed for me. Fuck ‘em. Gay rights to be wimpy.
“There’s nothing we can do,” Trudie was practical. “You have to get to the stadium. The Game will start soon. You need to get your MOOG there.”
I felt like I was slogging through mud, barely able to move my feet. Jim ran back to Mower for my MOOG while the rest of the group dragged me to the stadium. Ralph the Stadium announcer was relieved to see me walk into the press box. He told my minders they couldn’t stay – university rules. I set up just in time to participate with the Marching Band’s pre-game performance.. The Band Director looked up at the press box when it was time to introduce the cheerleaders with fanfares. He raised his baton and I played the organ part, followed by the horn section’s response. The cheerleaders ran out, to much cheering from the students in the end zone. Even the old alums were clapping, having heard that Harvard now featured female cheerleaders. They ran onto the field and built a pyramid with Jill at the apex. I played the fanfare organ part and the trumpets heralded her flip off the pyramid’s top into waiting arms on the field. I felt better with so much to do. The cheer squad was running through their regular tumbling routines. I played background chords to keep their rhythm up. Except I kept slowing down and had to up the tempo. The 3D girls cast looks in my direction. I had to concentrate on the performance and forget about Tim. It was hard.
Ralph took over to announce the starting players for both teams. As he announced the Yale side, I played their Boola Boola fight song.
The Band Director was not pleased that I was welcoming the opponents. I let him lead the Marching Band in playing the Harvard fight song
I turned on my mic and sang the fight song’s words, getting the crowd to join in. There was a big cheer. My nemesis, the Band Director, cast another nasty look my way. I was obliged to counter the fight song with our version of Tom Lehrer’s ‘Fight fiercely, Harvard,’ tuning the Moog to sound like a honky-tonk piano. I sang Jill’s version
Fight on Harvard, fight, fiercely, fight!
Impress them with our prowess, do!
Make Crimson bright,
Stout heart and true.
Come on, chaps, fight for Harvard
Peachy if we win the game?
Not to shame them, (But, for fame!)
Fight, fiercely, fight!
Don’t be rough, though!
Fight, fight, fight!
Do fight fiercely!
Fight, Fiercely, fight!
Original © Tom Lehrer (1953).
The students erupted with cheering, as the old alums sat glumly on their hands at the desecration of Crimson tradition. The Band Leader looked apoplectic.
Luckily, the St Paul’s Boys Choir marched on the field at that moment. They were ready to sing the National Anthem. Mr. Band Director had to settle down his band to accompany the boys.
Ralph gave them an introduction. “Everyone rise, please, for the National Anthem, sung by Cambridge’s St Paul’s Boys Choir, and led by Director Dr Ted Marier.
As a cheers rose up at the last line, ‘.. home of the brave,’ the choir decided to take an encore with ‘America the Beautiful.’ The band was unprepared. I saw my opportunity and came in on the Moog at the second bar.
The older alums were mollified with the patriotic moment, after years of student dissent. They failed to observe the contra temps between me and the band director. The cheerleaders ran back and forth in front of the Harvard stands, getting everyone to cheer, ‘Go, Harvard; Go, Harvard.’ The choir and then the band marched off the field. The coin-toss was held and Harvard, winning, elected to receive. Ralph proceeded to announce his play-by-play. I waited for the cheer leading skits to come.
Suddenly there was a pounding on the locked press box door.
“Let me in,” shouted the irate Band Director.
“No one’s allowed in,” Ralph shouted back, winking at me.
“Send that student out, then. He has no right to interfere with the Band’s performance.”
“Looks to me like he saved your asses on ‘America, the Beautiful,” Ralph was enjoying tweaking our mutual nemesis.
“Let me in,” he reiterated.
“No way, you Nazi creep. You’re interfering with my play-by-play. Go away or I’ll have you removed.”
That shut him up. It was the highlight of my day. Ralph high-fived me, the old goat. Meanwhile the football team had jumped out to a 7-0 lead, inspired by the student antics and alumni cheers. The Yale team had been disorganized and dispirited as Harvard marched down the field to score. Our announcing and adding MOOG music to the cheer skits, kept the stands cheering. Yale tightened their defense and the Harvard lead held until half-time.
The band marched onto the field. The cheerleaders brought out the bulldog-costumed boys on their hands and knees, snapping bull whips at them as they scurried to avoid the lash. They circled the band as the musicians set up for their half-time show. Several over-excited Yalies ran onto the field to rescue their bulldog mascots. An over-zealous Harvard cheerleader used his whip to actually strike an intruder who fell to the ground. The bulldog-costumed squad rescued him, dragging him to the Yale side of the stadium. I played Keystone Cops organ music as these antics played out.
The cheerleaders ran back to the Harvard side. Yale cheerleaders ‘captured’ their mascots, to protect them from the Harvard cheer squad. Caught up in the moment the mascots instantly changed sides, exhorting the Yale fans to cheer for their team.
I stopped playing as the Band tuned up to begin their performance. Jace appeared, looking very perturbed.
“What’s up, gay ghost,” I joked, still amused by the mock battles on the field.
“Yer not gonna like it,” Jace murmured. “I finally got Tim to open up to me.”
I looked in my heart, but Tim was not there. “What’s he doing?”
“He’s on a two-day drug bender in LA. He has new friends and they’ve been in a one room apartment in Hollywood doing dope.”
My heart gave a sharp start. Tim woke up to me in my heart.”
“What do ya want?” he complained. I felt a coldness from him, like never before. It was worse than just missing him.
“Well?” he asked.
“I thought you hated heroin?” I knew what was making him shut down.
“Don’t get yer panties in a twist.”
“What do you expect. You were supposed to be here. It’s halftime at the Yale game.”
“Yeah, The Game,” he remarked sarcastically.
I started to sniffle.
“Jesus, stop crying. Ya gots a girlfriend. Man-up, fer Christ’s sake.”
The coldness of his tone enveloped me. He faded from my heart. I couldn’t tell if I shut him out or if he just cut me off. Tears were streaming down my cheeks. Ralph was busy announcing the band’s movements and their obscure meaning. I was alone.
Not for long. Jace summoned all my friends into my heart, as I sat locked into the press box. They knew what had happened. Their sympathy pushed me over the edge. I was sobbing uncontrollably. Ralph looked over, concerned, but caught in the middle of his announcing, he was unable to help. I knew I had to stop sobbing. I hardened my heart as best I could. It felt like it would shatter. All my feelings shut down. Jace was holding me as clouds of darkness swirled. I forgot about football, about Harvard, about Tim. I just needed to play my MOOG. I reverted to dirges and chants , not caring who was listening (about 35,000 football fans), playing to myself, maybe to Tim if he could listen. It felt like I was in the Mower boiler room, playing to make the dorm’s brick walls moan and groan. I started in with ‘Knights of White Satin.’
I didn’t really sing, just mumbling the words, unaware I had a live mic. Ralph never turned me off.
‘Just what the truth is
I can’t say any more
‘Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you
Gazing at people some hand in hand
Just what I’m going through they can’t understand
…. Nights in white satin
Never reaching the end
Letters I’ve written
Never meaning to send
… Just what the truth is
I can’t say any more
‘Cause I love you
Yes I love you
Oh how I love you
Oh how I love you’
Songwriters: JUSTIN HAYWARD
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group
I continued to riff on these English blues. The Moog created eyrie, soulful, moody sobs that echoed my heart and its longing for Tim. I was unaware of what was happening in the Stadium. Football played on. My friends and fellow students performed as my dark music cast a pall over the playing field. I ended with Procol Harem’s ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale
‘We skipped the light fandango
Turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
But the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
The waiter brought a tray
And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale
She said, ‘There is no reason
And the truth is plain to see.’
But I wandered through my playing cards
And would not let her be
One of sixteen vestal virgins
Who were leaving for the coast
And although my eyes were open
They might have just as well’ve been closed
And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale
And so it was that later’
Songwriters: GARY BROOKER, KEITH REID, MATTHEW FISHER
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, T.R.O. INC.
I played on with the MOOG, running up and down the keyboard. Descending into minor chords and recovering with up tempo finger notes. I finally collapsed on top of the keyboard creating a dissonance of mashed notes pulsing to the rhythm machine. Ralph pulled me away. I first heard, then saw that the game had ended. The main stands had emptied but the student end zone was still filled. They were cheering and calling for more. Ralph opened the box’s window, holding me up so the crowd could see me. The cheers of ten thousand students rang back at me. I sat down fast, the darkness returning. I played Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Sounds of Silence.’ It was my final encore. I never sang again.
‘Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
“Fools” said I
“You do not know, silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
In the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the signs said
“The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whisper’d in the sounds of silence’
Songwriters: PAUL SIMON
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group
Final score – Yale 21 Harvard 7