I finished college in 1981, but Harvard is always on my mind. That’s because they call every couple of days asking for money. Harvard is like a bum who starts bugging you for spare change on the bus. And then follows you around for the rest of your life. Oh, and that bum already has $40 billion in the bank.
Not only that, but Harvard has taken on corporate sponsorship: Widener Memorial Library is now Game of Thrones Season Three on DVD and Blu-Ray Memorial Library. And Sanders Theatre has become Colonel Sanders Theatre.
Still, I owe Harvard a lot. I met my wife there. Every book in my home came from Lamont. And I have spent the past 26 years working for “The Simpsons,” where half our writers are Harvard graduates. This is a natural fit, since “The Simpsons” and Harvard have so much in common. “The Simpsons” is America’s longest-running TV show; Harvard is its longest-running university. “The Simpsons” slaps its name on a lot of cheesy, overpriced merchandise; Harvard has the Coop. And the Kennedy School.
Of course, Harvard was not always known for producing comedy writers. When I came to school in the ’70s, the top two career choices were “Soulless Money-Grubbing Hedge Fund Creep” and “Heir.” Its funniest graduates were cut-ups like Al Gore. Henry Kissinger. And the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Look it up.
Back in the ’70s, Harvard Comedy was considered an oxymoron. Like jumbo shrimp. Or Fox News. (For you legacies, an oxymoron is a contradiction in terms. [For you double legacies, a contradiction is… oh, forget it. You’d never understand.]) Today, many people think that Harvard must be one hilarious place. You and I know better. In fact, a recent poll in the Boston Globe ranked schools in terms of fun and social life. Harvard came in fourth...from the bottom. And my reaction was, “Really? That high?” I couldn’t imagine four schools less fun than Harvard. But then I saw the list. The four schools ranked below us were:
Still, Harvard finally got to me. For years I vowed that I would never give them a penny. But last week broke down. I gave them a penny. And I feel good about myself.