The Eighth Page

Clem Wood: A Journey in Three Parts

From bowl-cut freshman News lackey to tall, dark, and handsome Editor-in-Chief, my career with The Phillipian has included many experiences, things, and people characteristic of a night out with Derrick Kuan ’04, namely: moments out of a bad comedy starring former “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) cast members; rank food; loose women; hard work; and incredible memories. Except for the loose women (some unnamed Irish Catholic former board members owe me for that retraction). Seriously, though, I can organize my reflections on my three years with the paper into those four convenient categories. Below are some of my accounts of what really went on in the basements of Evans and Morse on that night that Olivia and I yelled at each other before submitting to our fiery passion…and by “fiery passion” I mean “fiery passion for upholding high standards of journalistic ethics.” And by “that night” I mean “those nights,” since we fought every time either of us set foot in the newsroom. So consider the following an overarching retrospective with a selective memory. If I were a Rampell, I’d probably serve this up to you in a multi-part series/exposé/audition for editor of the 11th edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, but since I sustained a severe concussion while sailing without protective headgear, I can’t organize my thoughts coherently enough to do so. SNL Movie Moments Brought about by Derrick Kuan’s interest in “A Night at the Roxbury,” starring Chris Kattan of SNL fame, last spring’s on-campus Haddaway revival paved the way for the popularization of both “What Is Love?” and Robodome, an as-yet unrealized revolution in science that remains mysterious and misunderstood even today. Also that May, Phillipian board members witnessed the spilling of a 5-gallon Poland Springs tank on the floor of Evans and the destructive use of the Features Section hammers. But come autumn, staffers from outside Features joined in on the fun too, whether by frightening Peter Nelson ’05, then a News Associate with nerves of steel, or by receiving unexpected massages/harassment from Fan Wang ’04 and Steve Travierso ’04. At the end of the term, at the home of JJ Feigenbaum ’04, a guest appearance by Kuan’s friend Gary helped Olivia Oran ’04 to sigh with relief and McKee Floyd ’04 just to sigh. This winter, the Features section maintained its traditional “aff-lete” obsession and pants-less Monday nights (see photo on next page) besides concocting a random story about how “evile” [sic] I am. In response to that label, I’d just like to state for the record that I have nothing against the weight resistance bands that populate the gym, only something against that headband Jasper “Jerone” Perkins ’04 chooses to wear while erging. That Jasper is so hot right now. Bad Food Evans was gross, Morse was clean, but no matter the setting, The Phillipian always had a stockpile of rancid, week-old Chinese food, most of it stuck permanently to either the table in the middle of the office or to a plastic spoon held by the obese JJ. Only the thought-fullness/manipulative tactics of Jeremy Beecher ’04, combined with the driving capabilities of Cassie Tognoni ’05, saved me from culinary hell. That, and the time when Ms. Scott, faculty advisor and mother extraordinaire, made lunch for me, her adopted younger son (yes, Nate Scott ’05 is older than I am), stopped me from both eating stale leftovers and using too many subordinate clauses, all of which are in a single sentence, which I wrote. Loose Wom Hard Work More stressful and time-consuming than putting together the 56-page Commencement issue and dealing with an upset administration or a subscription-less parent, deleting references to my sister in the Features section constituted a large part of my job as Editor-in-Chief. Other challenges included restraining my temper when Katie Folkman ’04 got out of line and yelling at Olivia to get out of the shower and spend more time editing in the newsroom. Incredible Memories On a more sentimental note, working for The Phillipian has changed me more than any other experience in my life, and I will never be able to put its meaning into words, especially not in Features. And to those who wonder: no, Olivia and I have never consummated our painfully apparent love for each other – at least not outside the Phillipian room. Interested in details? You’ll have to wait until for the second part of this ongoing series, appearing next week in these pages.