David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
A Connecticut Husky in King's College Court

December 1, 2015

The University of Aberdeen has shared archival information about what it was like to be a student there in the 1600's (albeit at the time it was called King's College).  Needless to say, the archivists and the current students can't help but jest about the different lifestyle: starting the day at 5:00 am, being in bed at 9:00 pm, and following a bunch of rules laid down by the man.

I'm sure the current Aberdeen student association president's comment "it sounds hugely different" is causing King's College alumni to roll over in their graves.  After all, her dad went to Aberdeen in the 1970s and "his experience is completely different" to hers.  The project archivist doesn't want to be "bad-mouthing modern students," but I think all of us, given the events of the last few months at college campuses all across America (that even spurred one University President to publicly "blast" whiny students), could envison such a clash of cultures.

So with all due respect to Mark Twain, instead of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, I give you A Connecticut Husky in King's College Court.

The plotline:

Tank Morgan, a University of Connecticut undergraduate, drinks too much spiked bunch at a fraternity party, falls and hits his head on the famed U Conn "rock" and wakes up in 1633 Aberdeen, Scotland, at the base of King's College Chapel.  Upon being noticed by the King's College principal, he is first mocked for his hipster jeans and his Husky hoody, then told to hurry to his room as it is a quarter past 9:00 p.m.  His "what the fuck, dude?" response gets him a fine and a expulsion hearing with the principal in the morning. 

Realizing that expulsion means being set outside the city walls to wander the dank, unmodernized Scottish countryside, Tank remembers the only thing he ever learned about Aberdeen Scotland, from the cute international Scottish student he felt up one night at a fraternity kegger: that a storm in 1633 Aberdeen will blow away and destroy King's College Chapel's imperial crown.  He announces this to the principal, who, when it happens that night, removes the penalty of explusion and makes Tank his "hebdomader" (a superintendent of student discipline).*

Of course, this move to make Tank Hebdomader only angers William Thistlewhite, who had coveted that position.  As a result, Tank goes around trying to change the rules of conduct, while William follows trying to make Tank look foolish(er) and undermining every suggestion Tank makes. 

For instance, Tank suggests that the hour of prayer should be replaced by a hour of "shilling-bounce," and William quickly takes all the shillings he can find so that Tank has no suitable coins for his demonstration.  Later Tank recommends that the study of Latin be replaced by the study of Pig-Latin, but William counters with the study of latin pigs.  When Tank proposes the cosmography part of the curriculum be replaced with cosmetology, William produces a Tank effigy, paints the face, hangs him in effigy and publicly mocks Tank's sexuality.  Finally, as religious controversy grows regarding a Presbyterian and Espicopalian split at the college, Tank proposes a new unified religion, Prespicolian, with the motto "tasty waves and cool buzzes." Students are confused, the principal is torn, and William challenges Tank to a debate.

Tank, utilizing the only models he has ever seen, presidential debates, quickly elevates the debate from an attack simply on William to attacks on the audience, the principal, the town's peasants, and eventually the town cryer, who he makes cry so hard that he flees Aberdeen in disgrace. 

Tank eventually meets and beds a local chambermaid, Alisande a la Chauntreuse, whom he, because he can't pronounce her name, nicknames Elsie.  Because he has never gotten around to changing the rules and punishments for out-of-wedlock sex, Tank is forced to marry Elsie when she reveals that she is pregnant with his child (his demands for a blood test lead him to the door of the town barber, making him renounce his desire to be tested).  After their baby is born, Elsie hears Tank mutter "Calhoun rules" in his sleep, and she names their baby "Calhoun Rules Morgan." 

When Calhoun Rules gets ill, Tank is encouraged to go to Italy where the baby may recover in better climate.  This is merely a ploy by the still vengeful William, who in Tank's absence, publicizes the "Is A Dick," a diatribe that causes Tank to lose all of his supporters (even though Tank must admit that William has finally modernized his attacks).  Trapped in a cave, Tank and his few supporters decide to have one last party.  Tank, not surprisingly drinks too much, falls and hits his head on a rock and wakes up back in Storrs, Connecticut.  It is two weeks since he fell at the frat party and no one has noticed him missing. 

As ridiculous as this may seem, realize that as we speak, Princeton is embroiled in a new version of Twain's "Pudd'nhead Wilson."

*Hebdomader is referenced in the story about the archives.  All other references to historical facts about King's College come from Wikipedia. They must be correct, right?  Tank would say so.