By the grace of the calendar gods, my Princeton Preview weekend happened to include April 24th, the holiday known as Newman’s Day. When I was just a wee prefrosh I watched my host’s roommate scrawl a Sharpie tally on his forearm for every beer he drank, hoping to get to two dozen by the day’s end, as per that (apocryphal) Paul Newman quote: “24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not.”
So this Sunday was the third time I witnessed (though not observed) this annual Princeton tradition. And despite the ideal weather conditions, it seemed a bit quieter than usual. I heard murmurings on the listservs, saw a spattering of Newman’s Day tanks, read a couple of amusing Facebook statuses. But no one staggering around visibly drunk, and no one sporting more than a modest few notches on the arm. Why so tame?
1. Could’ve just been the unfortunate pairing of holidays — it was Easter, so maybe the resurrection of Christ cast a pall over the beer-funneling fun? Nope, that just forced people to find creative ways to combine the two festivities: at Tower, members hunted down Easter eggs with jello shots inside.
2. Or perhaps people realized that Newman himself was “disturbed” by the holiday in his name? Or they deemed the celebration of excess a bit distasteful in light of his son’s 1978 drug overdose, and had second thoughts right as they were about to shotgun that can of Coors Light? This seems unlikely.
Just as I was walking to the weekly UPC meeting, thinking that the day had not lived up to its usual standard, I spotted a guy peeing on the walkway outside 1901, barely even trying to conceal the act. Public urination, that proud badge of college inebriation. Though I missed out on the obvious signs, the holiday clearly continues to live on: Paul Newman, you may now resume rolling in your grave.