Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"THE 301 TIGERS"

In August of 1972 I entered college as a freshman at Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio. I lived in a suite of four rooms with a bathroom at the end of the hall. There were eight people in this suite 301 at Parsons Hall dormitory. Jim Byrne, Kelly Brezger,Hassan Al Utabi,Hussein Bondaji, Kurt Pritz, Rickey D. Irvin, Christopher Grover, and Rick Shaw (that's me), comprised the students that lived in 301 Parsons.

Jim Byrne, Chris Grover, and I decided that it would be fun to establish a "brand name" for ourselves so we decided to call ourselves "The 301 Tigers" thus giving ourselves an identity. We noted as new students that there was a free college newspaper called "The Marcolian" which was distributed daily at the cafeteria. The Marcolian had a letters to the editor column and seemed to print about anything that was sent in so we "Tigers" thought it would be fun to send in a series of letters and sign them as the "301 Tigers" and then put all eight names of the suite 301 residents so that we would start to create a little exposure for ourselves.

One letter was about Barbara Billingsley, the mother of "Wally and the Beave" on the Leave it to Beaver" television show. Another letter I believe was about Annette Funicello of the Beach movies that she was in with Frankie Avalon.

One letter was called "Take a Tiger to Lunch Week" where we encouraged other students to invite and take us out for some free food and get to know the "Tigers" and our "sparkling" personalities.

An additional letter involved a "Jackie and Peter" joke which I will now attempt to recreate:

Jackie and Peter were walking down the street one day. Their friend was David. It was a sunny afternoon and the weather report said that there was a very slight chance of rain. Jackie noticed a couple of birds playing in the bird bath in Mr. Smith's yard as it had rained a couple of days ago and the bird bath was full of water. There was a red bike in Mr. Smith's driveway.

As they continued their walk, Jackie noticed a small stub of a pencil lying by the side of the road. Jackie said to Peter, "look Peter, there is a small pencil here, I'm going to pick it up." Peter replied, "that's a good idea Jackie, you never know when we might need a pencil to wrote a note to someone, perhaps our friend David."

Jackie then said,"this little pencil reminds me of something. Peter, what's the biggest pencil in the world?" Peter had paused and bent down to tie his sneakers as the laces had come untied. Peter replied to Jackie, "Gee Jackie, I don't know. What is the biggest pencil in the world?" Jackie adjusted her sunhat and swatted away with her right hand at a pesky horsefly that was bothering her. Jackie replied to Peter, " the biggest pencil in the world is Pennsylvania!!" Peter laughed real hard and said, "that's a good one Jackie, we'll have to tell that one to David."

We told this "Jackie and Peter joke" to another student, Brad Nance, and he didn't think it was too funny. He said, "That's stupid, I don't think that's funny. Who's this David?"

After the above set of letters, our next letter that we wrote to the Marcolian newspaper went something like this:

What's with all these letters from the "301 Tigers" I've been seeing in the Marcolian recently. Who are these guys? I find their letters to be stupid and not funny at all. Who cares about Barbara Billingsley and Annette Funicello. I'm not taking these guys to lunch. Why don't they just grow up.

We then signed that letter "Brad Nance". When this letter was published in the student newspaper the next afternoon people were coming up to Brad Nance and saying "Brad, how could you write that letter? Those 301 Tiger letters were funny." Brad would then deny that he wrote the critical letter about the 301 Tigers.

So, we accomplished our mission of creating a little "buzz" around the Marietta College with our letters to the editor and then our own self-critical "sting" letter which we signed Brad Nance and left poor Brad trying to explain that he hadn't written the critical letter even though his name was printed below that letter.