HERRICK CHAPEL - Last Tuesday night, Grinnell College hosted two Grinnell Prize winners to speak in Harrick Chapel on their work in public welfare and education. The following night, President R.Nerdy Kington invited two former Grinnell Prize Losers to speak on how to cope with scraping by. They also spoke in the chapel to a packed audience, each speaker with their own podium.
“Yeah, I didn’t win the Grinnell Prize. Not by a long shot,” opened Frank Carrot ’82. “Ah, I had such big dreams as a college student. I wanted to open up a slingshot outlet; with really practical slingshots, like ones that can shoot paper airplanes with messages on them, or slingshots for tossing petals at a bride’s feet during a wedding. I was like, I figured it out. I’m a genius!” Slingshots were gonna be big…before the internet came along. I mean, nobody saw that coming. Hey! Don’t look at me like that! Most of you guys won’t win it either.”
The other speaker, Linda Murspy ‘66, had a different experience with the Grinnell Prize. “Back in my day, the Grinnell Prize went to anyone who could smoke a whole ounce of pot in one sitting. Then you had to count the corn in a nearby cornfield. You had from sun up till sun down to smoke and count. I trained and trained and trained and finally won it my senior year. Yup, 4,996 stalks of corn. The Grinnell Prize now is worth $100,000 — half goes to you and half to your project. But back then, it was a $100,000 pure-gold trophy. But I was really really high when I got it, and I… just…put it down and forgot where. The pub? Cleve 2nd fire escape?” she said, tapping her foot for a minute, lost in thought. Finally, as if remembering she was speaking in front of an audience of hundreds of students, she blushed and quickly piped back up, “And that’s how I lost it. At least I still have the ‘intramural champion’ T-shirts for every sport that came with the trophy.”
After semi-uproarious applause, it came time for question and answer. There was, however, some misunderstanding, in that the Grinnell Prize Losers, ecstatic at having finally received some sort of attention and relive their college lives, decided to prolong their 15 minutes of fame by being the ones to ask all the questions.
“Anyone here in Calc. 2?” Carrot ’82 asked, as he whipped out an old notebook. “What did you guys get for problem #34 in unit two…yeah the one about the basketball? I couldn’t get that one, and it turns out to be surprisingly relevant to my daily life.”
Murpsy ’66 raised both hands above her head, her countenance perplexed, “Where can I get some molly around here?” she announced. “The gardener this Friday looks groovy.”
“Does Main still have free laundry?” Carrot ’82 interrupted.
“Oh yeah!” Murpsy ’66 chimed in, excited. “I forgot; I was gonna ask about that! Yeah, I brought, like, an extra suitcase of my dirty laundry.” Murpsy turned to face Carrot and smiled.
Carrot ’82 turned to her slowly. “Wait, that’s so funny. I brought one too…” he said. He smiled back. The students, instinctually, rapidly filed out of the chapel.