Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Monday, January 31, 2011


Once upon a time, before there was Facebook...


...there were Facebooks.

At Princeton, entering students were given a slim volume entitled The Freshman Herald, containing photos of the entering freshman class, along with basic information: the student’s high school (or, like as not, prep school), home address, and birthdate. (E-mail addresses were not even a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye back then, alas.)

This was, in popular parlance, the Facebook... because it was fulla Faces.

The Facebook was a useful form of entertainment, providing hours of amusement. Checking out that sea of Unknown Physiognomies of every description... it was fascinating. You could pick a face out at random and, armed with nothing but a hometown or school name, create an entire Imagined Biography.

There were plenty of times that the real biographies were far more fascinating than anything we could have invented.

Facebooks were standard issue at most of the Ivy League schools, including Harvard, where Facebook-the-Website originated.

The book pictured above, incidentally, is not from my class: I came in the previous year. Mine - a softbound edition with an orange-and-black cover - is buried somewhere in the Archives d’Elisson, and will most likely surface when I least expect it. But for some reason I ended up with this snazzy hardbound copy from the Class of 1975, and I have kept it unto this day. And why not? It has a photo of my buddy Urethra Franklin in it... so there’s that.

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