Friday, June 1, 2012

Shhh...

There seem to be secret societies at all of the Ivies with the exception of Princeton, who banned them although one wonders about the abundance of "supper clubs."  I wouldn't exactly call these organizations secret societies since everyone seems to know of them.  They hardly qualify as even secretive considering that a freshman reporter at the university newspaper appears to have no problem "unveiling" the yearly induction lists.  Despite all of the cloak and dagger (sometimes literal) behavior it seems that anyone with the ability to use Google can find out whatever they want.  And the names!  Sphinx, Skull and Bones, Quill and Dagger, Seal and Serpent.  Skull and Bones has even had a movie made about them, starring that guy from the teen soap opera, Dawson's Creek.

One Spring day while I was at work in the Dean's office at Cornell, I looked out of the window onto the Arts Quad and saw a group of men standing in the middle, wearing khaki pants, blue sport coats, and white shirts.  On the perimeter of the quad stood several figures in black cloaks and hoods.  At certain intervals, the cloaked figures took one step toward the group of young men.  "Initiation," explained the accounts lady, "They do this every year.  Are there any muffins left over from the meeting?"  Meanwhile students continued walking across the quad, most of them typical and oblivious to whatever was going on around them.  A few who almost walked into the cloaked figures stopped to gape.  Eventually the cloaks reached the sport coats.  It was anti-climatic.  I don't know what I was expecting but they didn't even execute a group hug.  They just stood around, probably speechifying, and eventually wandered off.  I wonder if the inductees felt the same way that I did.  The heightened sense of drama, the handshakes, regalia, pomp and circumstance, and then...a long speech, probably followed by cheap champagne back at the windowless hut that everyone is referring to as "the tomb."  Maybe they were executing a crucial life lesson: all that preparation ultimately leads to disappointment.

2 comments:

Jennifer W said...

My computer has sucked for more than two years, hence my absence from writing and also from commenting anymore. Everything I do on the Internet I do from phone. Back to the point, although I never comment I read EVERY post you write and I must say Little C, you always were and remain to be one of the most interesting people I have ever had the pleasure to know. I love that I can still follow you even half a world away :)

architart said...

Awww...I'm glad that you still have time to read about little, old me! I am always happy when you are able to write on your blog. I feel like I've gotten to know Avelyn over the years. I haven't got a full read on Noah yet but he is still a baby. So far he likes smiling and food.