Darwin and the Tunnel of Love

by Stephen Morris
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:    17 February 2019   :    a PUBLIC SERVICE of The Public Press   :
The Plan

While the rest of Dartmouth threw Frisbees, boycotted classes in support of the Black Panthers, or boycotted classes in protest against the invasion of Cambodia, Darwin Hunter sat in the basement of Mascoma Library creating his plan. Earlier that same day, he had turned Jack Schnitt's Theories of Life Skills -- 302 into an adolescent revival meeting, and enjoyed every exuberant moment of it.

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan
By Darwin Hunter
I will graduate in June, 1970. I will spend the summer sowing my wild oats in Europe, cutting a wide swath across the continent with my penis as I make up for the dormancy I have experienced at Dartmouth. In September I will matriculate at Tufts University Medical School. During my freshman year I will meet a bohemian art student who has her own apartment in Somerville. We will fall in love and move in together. We will also make mad, passionate love at least every day. Torrid love! Rug-burns on the knees love. Pure animal passion. Cop-u-lation. But I digress.
After an impoverished, however impassioned, two years, my love will take a job at a chic Boston advertising agency. We will marry in a simple, yet movingly elegant, ceremony in a spectacular outdoor setting, surrounded by our many friends.
I will complete my internship and residency at one of the prestigious Boston medical centers. By now My Bohemian Love Machine will be making good money writing clever commercials for tampon companies. Plus, her family will probably be rich and will give us stuff, like cars and vacations. I will specialize in something obscure, maybe urology (whatever that is) or epidermiology, something that gives me a license to steal forever-after-more.
Once my education is completed, I will establish a practice in an idyllic small town, where I will be the only urologist or epidermiologist for fifty miles in any direction, giving me the medical equivalent of a monopoly. My wife will begin spitting out babies--my sons!-- at least four of the little suckers. At least one can be a girl, maybe two.
By age forty I will be taking in junior partners My investments in the market will have paid of handsomely, and I will cut back to a thee day work week. I will develop hobbies, like fly-fishing, and I will perform community service.
My children will, of course, be aces just like their Mom and me. They will excel at everything from Cub Scouts to Little League. My wife will be chairperson of the school board. We will move into the nicest house in town. I will play (and star) in the Men's Slow-Pitch softball league and contemplate what I will do after I have completed my career in medicine. Maybe I will become president of something or other, and chairman of the United Way. I will become a big star in Community Theater.
Our aging parents will die peacefully in their sleep, leaving us respectable little wads of money that will make us even more comfortable and secure.
At fifty, as my kids reach college age, I will become active in Dartmouth Alumni Affairs. I will become the only member of my class with three offspring to matriculate. (My other child, the maverick son named Dylan or Hendrix, will opt instead for Stanford, having spurned Harvard.) By now I have retired completely from medicine (aside from being the hero in an occasional medical emergency) and will spend my time managing investments, telling my kids how to succeed, and dispensing pearls of wisdom. Life's challenges seemingly behind me I will shock everyone by taking up a daring new career as an orchid breeder. Maybe a collector of antique clocks. No, I think orchid breeder. Of course, I will maintain positions on the boards of directors for various prestigious organizations.
My orchids will quickly become world-class. My wife and I will make frequent trips abroad to secure new and exotic species for the state-of-the-art facility I maintain adjacent to my home. I will write a respected monograph on orchids that shows them as a metaphor for life. It will be published in the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine. As the new Millennium arrives, I will be happy, prosperous, stimulated, concerned, and involved. As I age, gracefully of course, I will become beloved on a grander scale. My family, my community, my profession, my college, and my medical school will bestow upon me lifelong honors. My children will begin procreating like crazy, and I will devote the rest of my so-called declining years to being a world-class granddad to a whole slew of little nubbers.
My death will witness an unprecedented outpouring of grief. My quiet life will suddenly attract attention on a much broader scale. My town will memorialize me by naming the local hospital in my honor. Dartmouth will rename Mascoma Library, the Darwin Hunter Library. One of my children -- let's make it one of the two girls -- will write an elegant memoir called "A Quiet Life" that will capture the imagination of the public. "This is what it is all about," people will say as they pass along the slim volume. "This man not only lived the American Dream, he was the American Dream." Hollywood will make the obligatory film starring the hottest young actor of the day as Young Darwin and a beloved cultural icon as Darwin the Elder. Peter Fonda, if he's still alive, will pay millions for the chance to play me.
At the Academy Awards Ceremony I will be lionized by a stream of dignitaries, including the President of the United States, who will read a special message of condolence sent by his Holiness, the Pope. The most touching tribute of all, however, will be the fond remembrance of my college professor, now a wizened, old man--Jack Schnitt--who will say "This was a man beloved, whose impact on the world will never be forgotten and who will continue to inspire generations of young Americans, because he learned a very simple lesson -- he planned his work, and worked his plan. And if you don't know that, you don't know Jack Schnitt."

Jack Schnitt gave Darwin a D.

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