New J Goes Skiing

A catchy title is all it takes to get the reader hooked. If you know any good ones, please let me know.

All night dancing, outrageous theme nights, risqu‚ pub crawls, just one happening party after another-that’s probably another section. Instead let us share with you just one example of our wild approach to fun.

“ID” developed by AJ Plotkin, Mary Hable, Peter Stavros, and Derek Adams is a powerful game which should be attempted only when drunk or just following anaesthesia. A bunch of friends get together, each person writes down their nine-digit Harvard ID number on a piece of paper, everyone drops their paper into a hat, the papers are mixed about, and then each person randomly selects a piece of paper from the hat. The objective, and this is the best bit, is to guess the identity of the person whose ID number you are now holding. If only fun was a four-letter word.

Australians Tim Robertson, Ian Gow, Michael Starkey, and Paul Carter have added a fierce new twist to the game-a reflection of their national obsession with competitive sport. They propose that under Australian Rules ID, everything is the same as before but no one writes their ID number on the paper. So you simply drop blank strips of paper into a hat, pick a piece out at random, and try and guess the identity of the person whose paper you are now holding. (They wanted me to end the preceding sentence with a series of exclamation marks to emphasise the magnitude of their sporting breakthrough, but I refused-even for us hypercompetitivites this game is perhaps going too far, say some)

A smiling cat appeared quite unexpectedly during TOM. The whole class went completely quiet as the cat jumped onto the table and all of sudden disappeared into the overhead projector. Only to appear moments later as a squirming mauve silhouette projected onto the screen, somehow perfectly overlaid onto the process flow diagram. Ah the joys of sleep-deprived hallucinations.

The Swiss, represented by Xavier Paternot (pronounce X as in Xerox, not X as in the Kunshan Xiang Feng Plastic Products Co), have always been one for neutrality. Play under Swiss rules and you and your friends will simply sit around a hat for twenty minutes, do nothing, and then go home content with the fact that no one took sides, no one got hurt, and whoa…where did all this gold come from?

Under our Federal Republic of Tanzania rules, Section NJ plays the ID game as follows-you send out an email arranging to play ID with your friends, and that’s it. This is because we have no Tanzanians in our class, and so under Tanzanian rules there is effectively no game. There is no better tribute than to hear Laurent Amiel, a Frenchman, describe this version of ID as “the best fun I had since I phoned 1-800-FASBE.”

However, there is always a deviant, and he is usually English. John Hoffman has developed his own game entitled sleep. His is not a team sport, and hence no more discussion is warranted.
As the above clearly illustrates, our section’s obvious emotional stability and cohesive support system have made us the envy of the rest of the cohort. Add to this the fact that we have Dobbin Bookman (jazz connoisseur), Cedric Canas (Daimler-Chrysler), Juan Carlos Pereira (Sprint Europe middle manager), and Mina Jiang (toothpaste engineer), and it seems obvious that next week’s contribution should be a medical advice column answering some of the many many letters of physical and emotional help we receive. If you have a problem, you should probably send an email to
[To the twelve of you that expected a mention in this article but did not get one, please try my QuickPay again.]