don’t forget about the squidger

Posted: August 10, 2021 in Humorous Bits, Traskland
Tags: , , , , , ,

Word came down today that my nephew was admitted to the University of Cambridge. He will begin his studies in the fall. As a statement of fact, he is officially further along than I was at 18. Heck, he is further along than I am now. Okay, I realize his accomplishment is not about me, but I simply want to assuage any uneasiness he may have harbored about a direct comparison to his New Jersey uncle. I imagine this was his predominant concern over the past several months as he awaited news of his acceptance. How could it not be? Well, the results are in and you are on it like a car bonnet. Rest easy, good nephew.

Cambridge is, as you know, one’s of the world’s most British universities. Founded over 550 years before the United States was even a gleam in a suspicious Plantagenet’s eye, they have been in the education biz for a long, long time. Not University of Bologna long. Don’t get carried away. But definitely longer than Liberty University. Over these many centuries they have diligently worked to hone their mission, philosophy, curriculum, and dining services. The list of notable Cantabrigians is impressive. Stephen Hawking, Oliver Cromwell, and John Milton adorn the alumni rolls, along with hundreds of significant others. (Not that kind of significant others.) Three signatories of the American Declaration of Independence were also Cambridge grads, but in the interest of Anglo-American relations I see no reason to mention that, so I won’t. However, should it ever come up in a Tory-fueled lecture by an ill-tempered professor, my nephew’s dual citizenship should help him internally navigate those treacherous waters.

According to the latest QS Rating, Cambridge only ranks third in the world among institutes of higher education, despite 800 years of practice. Clearly, work must be done to strengthen their standing. An expansion of their athletics program may provide that boost. It’s not that they lack sporting opportunities for the future leaders of all the important stuff, with the notable exception of TikTok influencers. For one, rowing is immensely popular. As a bonus, it does not require a knowledge of quantum physics, although it certainly couldn’t hurt. The annual Boat Race against the University of Oxford scallywags offers a great competitive shot of adrenaline, as do regular cricket and rugby matches. Naturally, there is a chess team and one for…what’s this? Tiddlywinks? Okay, there is room for improvement. I see no mention of American football. It could be the university is hesitant to support an activity which demands students bash helmets, especially when the student heads in those helmets hold exceptional promise. However, I suspect the exclusion is directly related to 1776 and the three traitorous independence-minded rabble rousers. You don’t survive for eight centuries without learning a little something about betrayal and revenge. Still, a nice Rose Bowl victory might be all that is needed to wash away any lingering resentment and move them to the top of the pops.

So congratulations from this side of the pond, young man. May your days be filled with equations, theorems, postulations, and academic adventures. And since it is Cambridge, may your nights also be filled with equations, theorems, postulations, and academic adventures. If you find the time, squeeze in a rousing game of tiddlywinks now and then. Remember, as a Fresher it’s not just about your lessons. Tradition must be upheld, even if it consists of a squidger, pot, and a handful of winks.

Comments
  1. rangewriter says:

    What a marvelous homage to higher education and to your brilliant nephew. There must be some fine gray matter in those genes of yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Esther Erman says:

    Thank you for pointing out the glorious opportunities that await your lovely and talented nephew as he embarks on his Cambridge career! I’m sure he will treasure his uncle’s rousing salute!

    Liked by 2 people

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