Sorry, We Cannot Offer You a Bid


Dear Sean,

It’s with sincere regret that I must inform you that we cannot offer you membership into 19 Club, Princeton’s premier all-male, secret tobacco smoking society. I guess you could say it wasn’t your “lucky strike,” “bud.” Jokes aside, you were an outstanding candidate and this year’s rush class was extraordinarily competitive. Though we cannot offer membership to everyone, rest assured that this does not spell the end of interactions between you and members of the group.

Far from it. We will circle you like Tower members waving $20 bills at the one Terrace member they know at 3 am on a Saturday night. Overnight, 19 Club members will be seemingly everywhere reminding you that you were rejected. Kevin will be in your classes making insightful comments about the out-of-focus lens of intellectualized wanderlust that seems to ground all of Milton’s best work; Christopher will arrive precisely five minutes before you at office hours for your introductory physics class to ask about corrections to projectile motion in special relativity, then silently observe you as you ask for clarification on when the WebAssign is due; I will not hesitate to follow you without a word all the way to New South as you are locked out, probably gloating about my unequivocal superiority the whole 0.648 miles from Holder Hall.

Tomorrow night, 19 Club will hold its traditional initiation ceremony in the hellscape behind Wawa. As John, Steve, and even Jake are forced to smoke pack after pack of menthol Newports that are part of the important transition from subhuman shit to vaunted club member, I will be plotting new excuses to transfer into each of your precepts to remind you of your social inadequacy. Even as I take the ritual steps to conceal my identity for our initiation ceremony, covering my wretched nubile frame in so many nicotine patches that my identity will only be discernible by my signature pack of Pall Malls and dental records, I will be consumed by efforts to make things as awkward as possible in future interactions between us.

When John, Steve, and—yes, we accepted Jake—lie prone on a McCosh bed dying of nicotine poisoning, soft congealments of nicotine gum lodged in their objectively superior mouths, I will be on my way to a party that you are attending. I will be wearing the sick fedora that indicates my membership in this exclusive social organization, and I will be cackling with each pull of award-winning Turkish tobacco when our eyes will inevitably meet for a brief moment, and you will ask me, “You’re Jeremy, right?”

You ask out of courtesy and because I am still covered in nicotine patches, but you will know from my dental records, my Pall Malls, and my fucking sick fedora. You have known all along. Because we have looked into the face of God and seen a striking resemblance to Joe Camel. You and me. And all the members of 19 Club. And Jake. Also Walt from Wawa when he takes smoke breaks with us.


Jeremy Gallagher
President, 19 Club

– AJS ’15.

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