The Great Coconut Caper
For the past few days, a group of students and professors have carried around coconuts, protecting them and guarding with all but their lives. The game, a product of the machinations of our friendly neighborhood Lambdas, had a small set of rules: first, protect your coconut; second, you have one swipe to steal others’ coconuts; third, no playing during class or chapel; and most importantly, do not break them inside. So with these rules in place, the game began with about twenty paranoid participants including Dr. Emerson and Dr. Bandy.
Not long after I retrieved my coconut, it became clear that I had to form a pact with my friends. (It was either form a pact or ignore them for the coming week, so I went with the pact.) Four of us entered into a solemn pact of peace with all the grave pomp and ceremony we could muster up after lunch in the GC. Basically, we made a circle and gingerly knocked our coconuts together. “Whoever breaks the pact first by breaking one of our coconuts–” said Dawson, “the rest of us are going after his coconut.” Then we walked off to class, stealing quick glances over our shoulders and giving every person we passed a wide berth as if they had just fallen in elephant dung.
The first two days of gameplay passed without incident. I kept my head down. I kept my coconut tightly tucked against my chest. I ignored most of my friends. I hid in my room. Life was simple.
Two days of harmony went down the toilet Thursday night. I remember it as if . . . well, I guess, as if it were a week ago. I had finally managed to get back to my room after a full day of classes, intramural sports, and Canterbury and I was exhausted, the kind of exhausted that makes you look forward to getting to bed as if it were Christmas. Putting my books away and laying out my clothes for the next morning, I briefly talked to my roommate before heading out the door to brush my teeth. I stopped at the water fountain for a drink. Looking up, I saw someone. “Strange,” I thought, “not many people come down to First Baxter.” I gulped another sip and saw another person. “Strange. Two people. Hmm, one of them has a coconut.” And then it dawned on me: my coconut. Sprinting to my room, I slammed the door and fumbled to twist the lock into place. Too late. The door burst open. I was in the corner of my room, coconut-in-hand, watching with horror as not one, not two–no–not even three, but seven men flooded into my room. I sunk to the ground and swallowed my coconut with my body. One of them tried, in vain, to get it but gave up when he realized that he couldn’t wrench it from my mother-hen defense. They left, disappointed, and I, shaken.
After they left, I knew they would come back, so I hid my coconut in a make-shift bookshelf I had made, locked my door, and brushed my teeth. I decided to grab a last drink of water before counting sheep. Bad idea. I opened the door and immediately saw two men on either side of the door. I slammed the door, having no clue what would happen next. As I braced against the door, I heard the ill-fated words, “I’ve got a master key.” The next thing I knew was that my door was opened, the same seven men streamed into my room like angry hornets, and two of them carried me out as the rest scanned every last nook and cranny for my coconut.
Some people see the inevitable coming from a mile away. Others don’t. I belong to the latter category. Like a mother baboon watching a pack of wolves attack her young, I struggled with ferocious intensity to save poor, defenseless Philippe (I had by this time named my coconut). I surged forward, but it was too late: they had locked me out of my room, found Philippe, opened the window and shattered him on the cold, lifeless dirt.
It was a heart-wrenching moment that was quickly overshadowed by an intense longing for sweet revenge against the pact-breaker. After two failed attempts, I got wind that Caleb would be visiting a friend in Kerr. I arranged through another friend to get there before he did and spent the next thirty minutes lying in wait like a lion hunting his prey. As he walked down the hall, I followed no longer caring that he saw me. The time for stealth had passed when seven men used a master key to get into my room. With no way out and cornered by another friend, he dove to the ground, clutching his coconut desperately against his chest. The time for the one-swipe rule had also passed when two men tackled me to the ground. Racing to the lobby, coconut-in-hand after a short but silent struggle, I flew down the stairs to the first floor. As I sprinted toward the exit, some friendly RA’s reminded me that I had not signed out. With no time to lose, I wasted valuable time signing out. I burst through the door, Caleb, hot on my heels. With a mighty heave, I slammed the coconut against the steps leading into Kerr and collapsed in a triumphant heap. Lying down on the steps, breathing heavily, I relished my revenge.
Was it worth it to pay five dollars as a broke college student to play a dumb game that forced me to carry around a rotting coconut and avoid contact with my friends? Of course! Not only did I have an excuse to avoid people nor setup an ambush in Kerr, but also did I get the excuse to hunt my friends’ coconuts and chase a professor across campus. If a five dollar game that forces me to carry around a coconut gives me chances like that, I’m putting in a five dollar deposit for next year. Next year, I’ll be ready.