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The Poison Ivy League Part 7-Interlude at Harvard College

May 3, 2011

Readers might be curious about Kimel’s life beyond debate, at least for the sake of additional context to the main narrative. When aspects of his non-debate career are essential to the story, they will be brought up. But in addition to these passing mentions, there will also be four interludes following each of Kimel’s seasons on APDA to fill in any thematic gaps. This is the first of these interludes.

Kimel did not get along with his freshman year roommate, a rail-thin, nasally fellow whose mid-western wholesomeness he offended with his off-color jokes and contentious conversation. Kimel soon made friends with a boy across the hall who had a slight nervous tic. Since this was also true of the historical Emperor Claudius, he thought that they would make a good team. Later, though, he asked out a girl in their dorm, Cynara, whom Kimel also liked, and their relationship was never the same afterwards. Still, Kimel chose to room with him for his sophomore year, which ultimately turned out to be a disaster, but that’s a story for the next interlude. At least they were randomly assigned to one of the best dormitories—Eliot House on the Charles River. Some complained that the dormitories lost their character due to randomization. An older tradition of applying in person to live in specific dorms still survives to some degree at Princeton, though most of the other schools of the Ivy League have wisely decided to faze it out. No amount of good intentions could eliminate fraternities, however, which although technically banned from Harvard, operated as a network of selective gentlemen’s clubs (“finals clubs”) just off campus which always let women into their parties but never, as many a socially frustrated freshman discovered, other men unlucky enough not to have been born rich or athletic.

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