As Meg and I mentioned during our Elephant in the Room fit of honesty last month, we’ve been invited to speak at Yale. Let me set the scene: we were working on the most recent book, which was, hands down, the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I can’t speak for Meg, but for her sake I hope it was the most difficult thing she’s ever done. As of Friday, I’m too old to be drafted unless the homeland is invaded, and barring unwelcome advances in technology I’m unlikely to give birth, so I think writing It Seemed Like A Good Idea… will stand for a while as the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
You know how when you have something unpleasant or draining ahead of you, you start doing everything in your power to avoid it? Well, unfortunately, I’d already done all the niggling little tasks I had to do while postponing writing my graduate thesis “Laughing at Hitler: Nancy Mitford in an Age of Extremism.” Actual title, and I got a good grade on it. Not only did I get a good grade, I’d been so reluctant to sit my ass down and finish it that I also had a clean refrigerator, resumes uploaded to multiple job websites, an organized recipe file, and my Christmas card list made. So with all that done, all I had to do to distract myself during the tearful orgy of obscure pop culture references that was the writing of It Seemed Like a Good Idea… was obsessively check my email and the Amazon sales rank of The Misanthrope’s Guide to Life, back and forth, over and over, like an epileptic terrier. I’d gotten no email in six hours and Misanthrope’s was persistently hanging out at a “respectable” level and so I was more or less doomed to start working when we got an email with the subject line “Possible Reading/Book Signing at Yale?” If you can imagine, this managed to distract us for a solid hour, for which I’m almost as grateful as I am for the invitation itself.
This started me thinking. Before I was officially the Other Bird and was just an occasionally recurring character, Meg, Ex-Co-Blogger Eddie, and I got together in Philadelphia and I may or may not have (but definitely did) streak a dorm at Penn. It was empty for the summer, so I’m fairly sure the only people who saw me were Meg and Ex-Co-Blogger Eddie, both out of the corners of their eyes, but still. With this head start, what if I just did a hijink, one single hijink, at each Ivy? I liked this idea so much I made myself a scorecard, with the seal of each Ivy, a check box, and a blank spot to write in a summary of the hijink. I couldn’t figure out how to do it in Paint or Photoshop, so presented here is your VERY OWN WORD DOCUMENT Ivy League Hijinx Checklist, so you can play along at home.