Trapped in the Val Booth Chapter 1


Six o’clock in the evenin’
I’m stretchin’ and eatin’
In a Val booth on my own
When a voice yells, “Can I sit here? You’re all alone.”

Then a girl sits across from me
Don’t know this person, can I get free?
But then her friends sit down
I move over, trying not ta frown

Like, what have I done?
I wish that I could run
Now I’ve got this dumb look on my face
How could I be so stupid to have sat in this place?

Must of lost track of time
Oh, what was on my mind?
When I entered the Val throng
Didn’t plan to stay this long

Now here I am tryin’ to put on my jacket
Searchin’ for my I.D., tryin’ not to make a racket
Then another girl slides in too
I say, “Sorry can I get pass you?”

She says, “Come on now, don’t be sour
I’ll be done in less than an hour”
Stared at her like she was crazy
Said, “Look, I know everyone’s lazy

“But I have a lot of stuff to do
So please just let me get through”
She says, “You can’t go this way
Look more of our friends are coming to stay!”

Still don’t know anyone at this table
Would leave if I was able
For now, I guess I’ll just keep quiet
Wait I’m still hungry—I hate this Val booth diet!

Maybe I can slide under?
Would these people notice, I wonder?

Shit! someone sees what I’m doing
I sit back up; pretend I’m still chewing
And then I think I can climb out on top
Nope, this orange covering makes me stop!

So now I’m in the booth, like man, what the fuck is going on?
Who are they even talking about?
Never even heard of this guy named Sean.

So sick of this dinner conversation
The inside of this booth is the worst location
Plus I feel like I’m dyin’ of starvation

Then the people next to me get up to look for Sriracha
This is my moment, freedom—I finally gotcha
And just when I think I can slip out
This big guy sits down; yep, he blocks my route

He starts arguing with a girl sitting across
I try to interrupt, but I’m at a loss
They’re a couple, havin’ a meetin’
The guy thinks the girl is cheatin’

And then he suddenly notices me
Oh god, now I have to flee
He says, “Have you been seein’ this one, too?”
She says, “No, I would never cheat on you.”

I say, “I’m sorry I don’t know you guys”
He says, “Don’t tell me all your stupid lies”
I say, “Look, I never even met her”
And I pull out my Beretta.

I say, “I really need to leave
Could you just stand up please!?”
He says, “This ain’t gon’ fly!
I gotta know the reason why
You’re sitting in this Val booth
And we’re not leaving ‘til I know the truth”

So, yeah I’m in this Val booth
Pretty much trapped in this this Val booth
Guess I’m never leaving this Val booth (Val booth…)

Point/Counterpoint: “I had coffee at Rao’s” vs. “We were on a date!”


“I had coffee at Rao’s.” by Rachel Black ‘15

It was finals week last semester, so Frost was super packed and I wanted to work somewhere else. Amherst Coffee was even more packed than Frost and Starbucks is trashy, so I settled on Rao’s. I ordered a Chai latte and then couldn’t find an open table, so I asked some guy who was sitting at a big table by himself if I could sit at the other end of it. Literally as far away from him as I could possibly be while still being “at” the table.

“We were on a date!” by Jamie McClansky ‘18

It was magical. I had been messing around on Facebook as a warm-up before I started working, and one of the profiles I was checking out was this super cute senior named Rachel Black. Sure enough, five minutes later, I looked up and there she was in the flesh! Then she said, “Do you mind if I sit here?” It felt like something out of a movie.

I was too nervous to say anything, so I just nodded. When she sat down and pulled out her laptop, I noticed that she had a Macbook too! I thought about how to bring up how much we had in common, then I started running through how an entire conversation between us would probably go. It went super well!

All that thinking got me really excited and I started to sweat a bit. That made me self-conscious, which made me nervous, which made me sweat even more. It was a little embarrassing. I still hadn’t said anything to her, but “Lose Yourself” by Eminem had just come on Shuffle so I felt pretty inspired. It was pretty loud in Rao’s so I kind of had to shout to make sure she could hear me. I said, “Do you have any towels?” She must have had an emergency, because she packed up pretty quickly and left without saying anything. Anyway, I’m super excited for our second date!

A Crossett Christmas Carol

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“Please could you tell me, have you seen a Northface?
I’ve looked up and down and all over the place.
I attended the party in Crossett last night;
When I woke up without it I had quite a fright.”

“Well where was it placed? When was it last worn?
If these are not known, its loss you must mourn.
You need it if you want to survive this December.
For this reason, please, I implore you, remember.”

“The whole night is hazy, my headache is splitting.
I’ll take an Advil so the room will stop spinning.
Please fetch me some water to drink from the faucet.
Ahh that hits the spot. Here’s what happened at Crossett.

The athletes in Crossett were throwing a party
With camaraderie and booze and singing quite hearty,
But people from UMASS heard it might be fun
To crash into Crossett and our stairs overrun.

‘They love to be rowdy and revel and fight’,
Said the athletes who planned this most ambitious night.
‘They ruined it last year; they’ll do it again.
They’ll make our poor party a one out of ten.’

‘But why do they come?’ I wondered aloud.
I now have a theory, of which I’m quite proud.
Their alcohol policy’s now very strict;
They come here to avoid Subbaswamy’s edict.

Staring out from their campus, dry as a bone,
They knew it’d be awkward to come here alone.
From Facebook to Twitter and back went the news:
At Amherst you practically swim in the booze.

They put on their Ugliest Christmassy sweaters,
And don’t forget hats; the more matching the better.
With leggings all wrapped up in stripes red and green,
They planned to enliven Amherst’s party scene.

But some of them plotted nefarious plans:
They gathered around, then their evil began.
“When Crossett’s doors open at half past eleven,
We’ll find ourselves smack-dab in jacket thief heaven.

To the tune of Swift, Trainor, Grande and Shmurda
We’ll take and we’ll rage ‘til they scream bloody murder!
When we get inside, oh! The things we will do!
We’ll take Northface and Southpole! Patagonia too!

The doors will stay open, the alarms will start ringing
We’ll stand in the way, And the cans we’ll start flinging!
We’ll throw things at windows and climb on the walls
Our shouting will echo through Amherst’s dull halls!”

The athletes got wind of this sinister plot
It happened last year; they had not forgot.
They tried to prevent word from spreading too far,
But it was posted on Facebook; these things always are.

They came here on car, bike, and every which way,
But by far the most popular was PVTA
They packed in the buses from driver to rear:
The sound of their rumbling shook Amherst with fear.

They spilled onto campus like froth from a stein,
And took it as quickly as the Reich did the Rhine.
They swarmed onto campus: a great plague of locusts.”
“And what happened then? Come on, you must focus!”

“I’ll finish the story; don’t rush me dear friend.
Like all things this fable must come to an end.
The alarms were set off, the police gathered round;
They discussed what to do when they heard klaxons sound.

‘Always have we waited and longed for this day
To show Biddy Martin we deserve better pay.
All this shouting and nonsense we must stop at once
We’ll get rid of these squealing intolerable runts.’

A small voice spoke out, I like to imagine.
“Must we ruin their party in such ruthless fashion?”
They considered a while, rapt in brief contemplation
But then the chief spoke to end all rumination.

“First of all Jim, no-one’s talking to you.
Secondly Jim, this is why we wear blue.
There’re no other outlets to exercise power;
Don’t do this now Jim, not in our finest hour.”

They sent out an email and rushed to the Quad,
Got a glimpse of the crowd and exclaimed “Oh My God!”
To be heard above hubbub and din they did shout
“Students of UMASS go home, GET OUT!”

The socials were emptied, the Powerhouse filled;
The event was no more: Crossett Christmas was killed.
But who bore the blade and the brunt of the blame?
Were the athletes playing a dangerous game,
When they tried their darndest to earn campus-wide fame?
The UMASS kids just wanted fun; so they claim,
Their only crime: thinking their campus was lame,
‘Til rabble rousers arrived to kindled the flame.
Or maybe the cops, though just doing their job,
Didn’t need to disperse the still-massive mob.

All I know’s that they made an intolerable racket,
And after all this, alas, still no jacket!
I think I saw some UMASS girl wearing it then.
Or maybe a guy, perhaps it could be a ‘Ben’.”

“Ben or some girl, two fantastic clues,
with your faulty recall I’m surprised you have shoes.
Lets look around for it; forget about Crossett.
Just where might it be? Have you checked your closet?”

“Of course I have checked it! Are you calling me dumb?
Or did I? Remember, my mind is still numb.
Let’s look inside now, and, oh! Just my luck!
It was here all along!”

“Of course, you dumb fuck.”

Yet Again, Hitchcock Hannukkah Overshadowed by Crossett Christmas

Chief Amherst Correspondent reporting from on the scene in the Hitchcock ballroom


The lights in the common room are dim, as 90’s pop hits resonate from speakers at a (quite reasonable) 40% volume. Drops and splotches of keystone speckle the floor surrounding a central table. There, densely huddled around the table’s edge, a dozen or so students, their expressions stern, play yet another game of slap-cup. Few speak, and when they do so, it is in hushed tones. Slap, slap, slap go the red solo cups. The game is over, the bitch cup solemnly had, and another game set up. Hitchcock Hannukkah is here again.

“Sure, Crossett Christmas may get all the attention from Amherst Students,” explains Matthew Fletcher, ’15, “but Hitchcock Hannukkah is an ancient and important tradition. It’s been a sacred part of Hitchcock house for longer than anyone can remember. In fact, many say that the man who threw the first Crossett Christmas party was himself a Hitchcock Hannukkah party-goer.”

“It all started on one frosty December’s eve,” regales Jerry Tao, ’15E, one of the houses most elderly members. “I wasn’t there, but my buddy Mike was. Anyway, him and a bunch of his friends wanted to play slap-cup to blow off some steam before finals. But, alas, there was only enough beer to last for one game. How could the party go on? But then, a miracle happened. The beer didn’t last just one game. It lasted eight games. Eight! not six, not seven! Eight!”

Tao pauses, a single tear rolling slowly down his cheek.

“And now, to celebrate–to celebrate, but also to remember– that glorious night, we play slapcup every year, eight nights in a row. We play one game the first night, two games the second, and so on, until the eighth night,” Tao says, nodding solemnly.

“I converted last year,” says Erica Fields, ’16. “I was just so fed up with the commercialism of Crossett Christmas. Everything got so crazy last time – it just lost touch with its roots. Cops and broken windows and fire alarms? That’s not what the holidays should be about. They should be about friends. Friends and dangerous amounts of alcohol.”

Fields walks outside, as if to remind herself for a moment of the cold world beyond Hitchcock Hanukkah. She sighs. “The one thing that gives me hope is that we are not alone in resisting Crossett Christmas.” She whispers, “Somewhere in the night, Coolidge Kwanzaa rages on.”

New Student Life Initiative: Social Clubs


AMHERST, Ma. – The administration has unveiled their plan to introduce social clubs, a tool meant to return to students their power to form small, exclusive groups.

“Social cups are a way for students to indicate their willingness to meet others,” said Provost Peter Uvin. “But what if you don’t want to meet others? Well, now we’ve got just the thing for you.”

“Clubs will come in many different forms,” said Chief Student Affairs Officer Suzanne Coffey. ” Your club will depend on your preferred method of attack,” she continued. “We’ll have small cudgels, old police batons, truncheons, baseball bats, and tire irons. And we’re looking into golf clubs for 2016. What we get next will depend on a variety of factors, including student feedback, death toll, and long-term considerations about effects on campus life.”

The school will test the new social clubs with a trial run next semester. “Students interested in athletics will have their first meeting in the gym,” Coffey said. “Incidentally, we have scheduled students interested in Dungeons and Dragons for their first meeting in the gym at the exact same time! While they’re all together in the same room, we’ll hand out some bludgeons and baseball bats, and just let the kids bleed out all the bad blood.”

Many students have applauded the move, calling it a sensible option after the decision to ban fraternities. “Social clubs will be great for when we throw parties in our suite and Melvins start crowding in,” said Crossett resident Teddy Donaldson ’17, twirling a 6-foot long club with thick, metal spikes on each side. “This is a honest attempt to resolve the crisis of student rights we’ve experienced over the past year or so. Plus, the design has the sleek Amherst ‘A’ on it, which matches my sweater!”

Still, some students have voiced opposition to the idea. “I just feel like this puts more power in the hands of the powerful on campus,” said Karla Samson ’15. “I mean, the cool kids on campus already exclude people. I don’t see why they’ll distribute heavy wooden clubs with sharp spikes on all sides, designed to bludgeon people into a bloody pulp, which will only further the sense of alienation on this campus.”

“Especially when we have the Powerhouse,” she added.

ResLife: New West African Theme House “NOT A Quarantine”


CONVERSE HALL, Amherst, MA — Representatives today responded to backlash coming in the wake of the recent creation of a West African Theme House, to take up the entirety of Seligman Dormitory.

“We felt that embracing the rich culture of the West African people was long overdue. Charles Drew House is a crucial part of residential life at Amherst, but it falls short of our goal of providing theme housing to students from ALL walks of life,” a Residential Life spokesperson told reporters.

The decision ends the 1-year run of the Chinese-Japanese Language House at Amherst’s most recently renovated dorm.

“There are numerous advantages to this change. Seligman’s security is unparalleled, and as the dorm most distant from campus, it offers unparalleled isolation. Not to mention it’s the closest to the UMass Health Center, making it perfect for establishing a tight-knit, closely monitored theme house community.”

ResLife added that creating the theme house shortly after growing Ebola cases exceeded 10,000 in West Africa, with disparate infections occurring in the U.S., was purely coincidental, and not a crass public health ploy, as student organizations have alleged.

“I want to stress that this is NOT some kind of racial quarantine. In fact, I encourage anyone who is interested in West Africa, or who has visited the region within the last 4-6 months, to apply.”

ResLife concluded by saying that plans are also in the works to open the second floor of Seligman to students from Atlanta, “particularly those who live near or around the CDC.”

Two Die in “Tragic Misunderstanding” at Cougar Formal

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HITCHCOCK DORMITORY, Amherst, MA – Two students are dead, and three more are in critical condition after, in what has been called a “tragic misunderstanding,” one senior invited a live cougar to last night’s cougar formal.

The annual event typically involves senior girls inviting a freshman boy to a formal dance. Things took a turn for the worse, however, when Amy Edmonson ’15—a frequent volunteer at the nearby large cat sanctuary—brought in a cougar, variously known as a “puma” or “mountain lion.”

“He was so well behaved at Panda, but…well, you know how we all get after one too many scorpion bowls,” Edmonson related to press shortly after the incident. “A little touchy-feely,” she added, while making smooching noises.

Other formal-goers were surprisingly understanding about the casualties.

“Honestly, we all have bad days. I think the cougar was just a little intimidated by all the upperclass girls,” noted fellow senior Crystal Koh ’15. “Plus, she dressed him up in a nice bowtie and taught him some dance movies. Here, I’ll show you the snaps.”

Senior girls were mostly upset to hear that the cougar, since incapacitated by animal control, was actually a female who, in cat years, was roughly twice Amy’s age.

“Major buzzkill hearing that,” said Miranda Bostaph ’15. “It’s like, ok, stopping the party [by causing the deaths of two people] is one thing, but disrespecting the tradition? You’re supposed to bring a guy who’s younger than you. Not a girl who’s twice your age. C’mon now. Cindy and Jen didn’t die for this.”

“I thought [the cougar] was growling because he was a little hungry,” Edmonson ’15 said. “Actually, on second thought, I guess he really was,” she chuckled.

Investment Club Reincorporates to Cayman Islands


Amherst, MA — Amherst College’s investment club recently announced that it had completed the steps necessary to undergo a corporate inversion, reincorporating itself offshore to the Cayman Islands. Primary operations of the club will remain in the United States.

“It just seemed like the right move,” said investment club spokesperson Trent Blackstone ’15. “Big corporations and hedge funds do it all the time. We just wanted to insure that, at Amherst, we have the best balance sheet moving forward.”

When asked what, if any, taxes were being avoided in the move, Blackstone had already been hired by Bain, and was gone.