Editor's note: Another of the disillusioned boys rears back on his haunches and looses
a baleful howl that like its predecessors is probably doomed to arise all unheeded to the adamant dome of heaven.
Nothing can jar this institution out of its lethargic rut. It's really no use trying, but "The Stumble Bum"
is an optimist, and so we'll let the column out to him today.
By the Stumble Bum
Staid buildings and staid students, verily this is a staid institution.
The Quadrangle is quiet, between classes no one goes along the cracked cement walks save a vagrant Scotch janitor or an orderly from the Military Department, spruce and supremely military (Show these ROTC students what a REAL soldier looks like...haven't soldiered like this since Moses wuz a Corporal).
Twisted brown leaves are blown by the bitter wind from 55th Street, yes, all winds from 55th Street are bitter, and they pile up in little quivering stacks to mock that earnest soul who tries to keep each leaf in its proper place. Hot dog men lean against ivy covered walls and ponder on those things known only to hot dog men. How they make a living God alone knows. They stand by their little carts all through the long day and never seem to sell one of their vicious concoctions.
Have you ever noticed how vague a Professor is? No one ever knows his name or what he does or when -- damned by apathy, they wander bleakly about the campus nodding in a determinedly cheery manner to everyone they think might be in one of their courses. Pray for them at night. Professoria is a dismal land.
The college spirit so noticeably lacking on the campus -- seems to be transferred en masse to the children of "Back of the Yards." They begin to gather in the early morning every game and spend interminable hours parading the streets inquiring earnestly of one and all "Hey Mister! Who ya yellin' for?"
Few of the Chicago women (reference: Style Sheet, The Daily Maroon) are at all unconventional. Some of the newest Freshmen give vent to their college feeling by shrill screams when an acquaintance, female only, is recognized. The toilette of a couquette and the demeanor of a nun seems to be the spirit of the day. None of them know just why they are at college and none of them seem to have any real reason for acquiring an education. Possibly their search is something too sacred for prying masculine minds but to the casual observor it seems like nothing but the postponement of an issue. Four years at the University is simply four more years of freedom before marriage. The sophisticated circle is banal and the literary circle is less. The average conception of a gorgeous evening is to dine somewhere where there are deal tables covered with spilled grease, go to the proper show that so-and-so thought was lovely, dance awhile at an inexpensive cabaret or Chinese joint and then return to their over decorated, slightly perfumed rooms. The schedule is inflexible.
Fraternities are organizations devoted to giving a front lawn for six young men to stand upon in the early evening. No more, no less. Why there are only six is a question that can be settled only by the Inter-Fraternity Council. Wend your philisophical way down University Avenue some afternoon and count them. House by house, they must be detailed there. No six men could ever have the courage to just stand there night after night. They probably give letters for it. The Standing Team of Sigi Nogo Sigi or something like that. It's a good idea in its way. Fraternity men must have some uses, hidden no doubt but nevertheless exquisitely essential. Lawn standers for instance. Oh Well! Chicago is co-educational they say. We shall see, we shall see.
Copyright © 2001, Mary S. Van Deusen