Glenn Yu, a former student at South Kingstown High School, writes about the pain and suffering experienced by scores of Brown students struggling for recognition as genuine elitists and highbrows despite growing up in hardscrabble affluence. Few of us consider the bleak prospects of a child who has spent all of his or her brief existence suffering from tertiary affluenza and self-indulgent gluttony trying to climb the ladder of ever greater Trumpian success when there are only two or three rungs left to climb. "Oh, the humanity!"
The migratory patterns of the Canada Goose
The migratory patterns of the Canada Goose
Every winter, a brutal arctic wind encapsulates Brown University. The steely, nondescript sky serves as a facade to the delicate branches of redbud trees violated by the remorseless winds of the wasteland we amiably call southern New England. In an effort to combat the gripping tendrils of this numbing cold, the Canada Geese launch into a relentless struggle for their very survival. While some geese are brave enough to settle down and call Brown home, others pass our hallowed university on their migratory path toward Penn, Princeton and even Georgetown in search of the intimate warmth that the South has to offer.
Of course, the Canada Geese of which I speak are not actual birds in the strictest sense; rather, they are students wearing jackets that somehow confer avian properties upon the wearer. For example, the Canada Geese native to Brown congregate with their kind in V-formations, rarely diverging from the flock. Outdoors and in the dining halls, the Geese display their plump, beige coyote furs and endearing little affluence badges like ostentatious peacocks in the height of mating season. Here, they are a permanent fixture of winter life. Sightings of them are as prevalent as political correctness and as inevitable as the disappointment experienced after dining at the Ratty.
Some see the Canada Geese minority as gaudy elitists who wear coats meant for climates 15 degrees in latitude above where we are. But these critics, suffering from delusions of grand intellectualism, simply do not appreciate the temerity of the Canada Geese. Every day, the Canada Geese bear intense heat as they masochistically wear their thick arctic coats on sunny, 50-degree days like flagellants during the Black Plague, ceaselessly punishing themselves in some sort of Nietzschean conviction that suffering gives life the will to power. While they could take off their enormous, arctic-climate coats, they refuse to succumb to the temptation that agony brings. They embrace the pain.
The Canada Geese are the true heroes of this university, the ones who each day endure through the hapless circumstances that life has to offer without complaint. They do not feel emotion or temperature as we do. They represent something larger than ourselves, larger than life, larger than death. The badges they wear on their shoulders are not symbols of “elitism,” as those nefarious critics might have you believe. Rather, their badges are symbols of greatness, symbols showing off to the world (rightfully so) that they are superior to the masses.
By now, you can probably tell that I have great admiration for the Canada Geese. But you don’t know the half of it. Though I hate to admit it so publicly, each night before I sleep, I ritualistically envision my limp fingers caressing the sumptuous lining of my Canada Goose coat as I simultaneously whisper profanities to it. This obsession inevitably follows me into my dream world, festering into wet dreams galore. When I wake up, my first instinct is to go outside in search of the beautiful jacket. Each time I see one on campus, my heart stops a little as an ephemeral euphoria rises up into my chest. Sometimes, an inaudible “Oh joy” emits softly from my supple lips as I blush and dream about having my very own Canada Goose coat. I would finally be one of them, able to hide behind my modest symbol of wealth, blending in through conspicuous consumption.
I mean, think about the possibilities! With my Canada Goose Chilliwack Bomber wrapped around my warm, plump body, I could finally triumph over the sub-35-degree boreal temperatures that leave Brown an icy wasteland each and every winter. Walking around in the comfort of my beautiful coat, I could even banter gleefully with my Canada Geese flockmates about how the fur trim around our necks either deprived a coyote of its life or — even better — left it to freeze to death in the wilderness deprived of its own pelt. On the freezing winter walk between the door and our Ubers, the Geese and I will lament the many woes faced on our arduous expeditions from Keeney to Faunce when carrying our laundry to the Service. It ain’t easy being geesey.
But sadly, having a Canada Goose will have to remain a dream for now: For a college kid with severely limited funds, a Canada Goose just isn’t a safe investment. Considering that its value and utility will only depreciate as global warming continues, I just can’t bring myself to spend $750.
For now I’m just hoping that the Canada Geese wear their jackets one day too far into summer or one minute too long in the well-heated Ratty. And I’m warning you now: When they collapse of heatstroke, I will be waiting. I will be collecting.
Glenn Yu ’19 can be reached for donations toward his first Canada Goose jacket at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send responses to this opinion to