Friday, November 16, 2007


It was in late October, of '01 that we received the following e-mail from Jamin--a real classic. I had the opportunity to re-read it the other day, and thought I would share some excerpts...

"So, the past few weeks here have been "Wow, I'm at Harvard" weeks. I think it all began when I was sitting there in my Physics class, just listening or doodling or whatever I usually do, and my teacher was talking about the elemental forces in the universe (electromagnetic, nuclear weak, nuclear strong, and gravitational, if you were interested) and how many of them are caused by relationships between quarks (which are sub-particles of atoms). So I was kind of like, "hmm, that's cool." Then she started to tell us about the quarks, and it went something like this:

"There are three pairs of quarks.
Up, down.
Strange, charm.
Top, bottom.
I found this one..."
(as she points at Top quark)

So I was just sitting there, waiting for her to finish her sentence, because she has this habit of pausing in her sentences from time to time, as many of us do... You know, perhaps, "I found this one... particularly cool," or "I found this one... to be the most interesting," or something along those lines. But that was it. That was the end of the sentence. She found the top quark. Wow. I'm at Harvard.

Hmm, so since that wasn't enough, I went to see the installation of President Summers (the new president of Harvard) this past weekend. Oh man, did they have the yard decked out. Chairs, banners, stage, speakers, big tent over the stage... It was very cool. But then the ceremony started, and that was even better. The band played, and the choir sang, and the band played some more, and then all the important people started filing in. There were a lot of important people. And they came in with other, less important, people carrying little signs in front of them, so that everyone could tell who they were. My favorite part was seeing all the delegates that came from other universities all over the world, because they had these totally crazy outfits. Oh, but the very best part was when the President of Yale University got up to give a welcome on behalf of the delegates, and he told us this story about how all these other people from Yale who had spoken here had avoided conceding that Harvard was the better university. But the best part was when he admitted that we really were the best. I was like, Wow. I'm at Harvard.

Then I was sitting in the dining hall the other day, and I realized that I was eating fish for the second time in one day, and that I actually liked the stuff now. And it was sort of like, Wow, I'm at Harvard.

And then there was this other time I was sitting in the Dining Hall (it's a pretty great place to sit, you see), and I got to talking with the guy across from me about worker's wages, which turned into a discussion af absolute morality and the nature of truth and the possibility of the existence of truth and other such topics of light conversation, and I was thinking, Wow. I'm at Harvard.

Then, this other time, I went to a celebration for the 100th anniversary of one of the buildings in Adams House, and this guy told us about all the famous people who have lived here, like Franklin D. Roosevelt and such, and there were pastries and champagne and Earl Gray tea, and everyone was standing around socializing in the masters' house, which has been perfectly restored to its 17th Century style, and eating chocolate fondue and sipping their tea and listening to a trio playing classical music in the music room, and I was sort of thinking -- you know -- Wow. I'm at Harvard.

Oh, yes. Then there was this other time... I was sitting at my desk this past week, reading like mad and working on a problem set for one of my classes, which was after I had spent the previous weekend working on a briefing for ROTC, having just finished a paper for English, studying for an Economics test, trying to come up with some intelligent question to ask in my English section and a topic for the paper that I now have to write for my History and Literature tutorial, and being thankful that my TF had moved one of my problem sets' due date to next week because I knew that there was no way I could possibly finish it this week... and I fell asleep at my desk. No! Not that! Yes. That. Because, after all... Wow. I'm at Harvard."

I can hear Jamin perfectly as I read this...the way he talked really fast when he was excited. And I can't help but think about who he was, and what he was--brilliance, wrapped up in bright cotton candy. Not pink though-green.

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