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TRY FIFTY-THREE FOR LAUGHS
Tom Mayer
June 10, 1963
A Harvard sophomore, who has given up rowing to concentrate on writing, tells how it was when his crew went to Ithaca by bus to race against Cornell's lightweights in '62
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June 10, 1963

Try Fifty-three For Laughs

A Harvard sophomore, who has given up rowing to concentrate on writing, tells how it was when his crew went to Ithaca by bus to race against Cornell's lightweights in '62

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"No, 1 don't think he'll change that. Freddie likes the boy too much."

"Right. And all he really needs is seasoning. You know what I mean?"

"Sure."

"Who's gonna go then?" I ask.

"Four maybe. Or two."

"How do you figure?"

We exhaust all the reasonable possibilities. We get lost in Syracuse but finally find our way onto the turnpike. For a while there is only the motor noise and the gentle sway of the bus. Then, slowly at first, someone else begins a chant. "Waa, wa, waa, wa, wa—ugh!" A voice, unmistakably Richard's, shouts, "Driver beware! The natives are restless tonight." Maybe it's only my imagination, but I think I feel the bus swerve. The chant changes to "Ice cream, ice cream, we want ice cream!" The whole bus takes it up. Finally Coolidge stands up, gestures for silence. The chant grows. "At the next Howard Johnson's," he yells, "we'll stop at the next Howard Johnson's." A roar of approval.

Ten minutes later we stop and invade a Ho Jo's. Richard has three hamburgers, two malts, an ice-cream soda. He orders two more malts to go. Everyone is joking and talking, and even Freddie is smiling. The waitress looks haggard.

Back on the bus we begin to sing songs. "One-eyed Riley, two-eyed Riley, / Oh, for the life of one-eyed Riley." Never have I heard such unharmonious singing. Finally John Young decides to go to sleep, and pulls a coat around his head. I move back with Bob Russell.

After an hour or two we tire of singing, and Russell and I begin to talk girls. The Cliffie he was going with all fall is engaged to someone else, or about to be. He isn't sure. Cabot leans over from across the aisle to join us. I tease him about his girl. She is an immature little blonde in some ultraproper prep school. The girl talk finally fades away, and Russell and I talk shop. Then he falls asleep. Only my right leg is asleep. The night is very black, and there are no towns along this part of the turnpike. Occasionally the lights of a farmhouse glimmer at us from far off the road. It is midnight. Three more hours to Cambridge at the least. A long ride home.

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