Or maybe that should be, don't get a Miltonist drunk and make her stand around in the extreme cold at a football game that her side is losing. No, really: don't do that. Or if you do, make sure that you're not sitting anywhere near her.
In honor of The Big Football Game this weekend, for which George Washington Boyfriend and I will be disappearing for the next several days, I'd like to share with the internets what happend at BFG two years ago, the last time the event was held in this particular location.
First, it should be explained that my alma mater, being an Eastern college of a certain vintage, has its share of terribly patrician alumni, and the same is true of our chief rival. This rapidly-aging species is especially in evidence at BFG, where they seem to cluster together--the fine-featured gents in their camel-hair coats and the wives with their careful hairdos and Ferragamo scarves draped about their shoulders like shawls. Walking past their tailgate parties I've seen table linens and dented silver cocktail shakers.
Our group of friends always puts together a tailgate, too, and although it's nothing like that, it does feature a goodly amount of alcohol. Two years ago Flavia imbibed rather a lot of that alcohol, in rather a short period of time, and was then hustled off to the horrors of this particular football stadium and this particularly hideous losing game. Now, over the years, we've wound up getting seats further and further away from the undergraduates and deeper and deeper into the alumni section--and this year we happened to be sitting in the midst of a big block of Rival School alumni, many of whom were of just the WASPy sort detailed above.
Flavia was not, perhaps, fully aware of whom she was seated among. Flavia was, perhaps, under the misapprehension that she was back in college, among the sort of students who competed to come up with the wittiest and most offensive cheers and insults in the course of the football game. But at any rate, as Alma Mater was losing, she went into that bit that she did all through grad school. That bit wherein she berated Alma Mater, asking why the school couldn't just win a goddamn fucking football game one fucking time when she gave this school her slave labor and and taught its ungrateful students--and, really, she didn't ask for much, but, goddammit! Couldn't the morons complete a motherfucking pass already?
(Normally this bit would have been enacted with little if any profanity--but, well, see "alcohol, consumption of," above. See also, "losing, again.")
The WASPy sexegenarians behind her were appalled. Somewhat amused, but mostly appalled. They murmured among themselves. And then said one archly to the other, in what I think of as the putting-in-the-monocle voice, "What do you suppose she teaches them with that mouth? Do you suppose she teaches them. . . Shakespeare? Or perhaps it's Dante?"
Clearly, said his tone, this dreadful woman wouldn't know the first thing about such subjects; she must be some horrid little scientist or perhaps someone who works on feminist studies or something. And oh, it just goes to show that INRU lets anyone in these days!
George Washington Boyfriend, overhearing this, couldn't resist turning around and saying, with a grin, "Actually, sir, you may not believe this--but she's a Miltonist."
WASPy gent looked horrified. "Oh dear. Thank you so much for telling me--if she heard me, she'd kill me!"
Now, this fella may simply have been abashed at being caught mid-condescension. But I've always prefered to think that there was something about the wrath of a Miltonist that struck particular fear into his heart.