As my Nieman buddy Ernie Suggs said afterward, “One of those naked people will be president one day.”
Last night at midnight was the annual Harvard tradition called Primal Scream, where students let off steam — and shed their clothes — on the night before final exams begin. When we got to Harvard Yard about 11:45, there wasn’t much of a crowd yet, but five minutes later the Harvard marching band showed up — not naked, but a bunch of them were wearing shorts. (I should mention here that the temperature was in the high teens. Feel free to shudder.)
The band played “The Stripper,” “I Touch Myself,” “Centerfold,” and by the time they hit “Born To Run,” we heard a roar from the other side of the Yard and saw a long line of flesh rounding the corner toward us.
There were a couple hundred streakers in all — probably 80 percent guys, but lots of women too. Somebody wore a wrestling mask, somebody else had a knight’s helmet and ax. One guy was riding a bike. (The sidewalks up here have been slick and I said a little prayer that nobody would wipe out. That would be some nasty road rash.)
I think the whole experience was summed up by our friend Megan, who said simply when it was over: “I’ve never seen so many weiners.”
The whole thing was over in 20 minutes. It was silly and sexy and pointless and fun. In other words, it was like a lot of college — silly and sexy and pointless and fun and over before you know it.
Most people put on clothes quick after the run was over and the crowd started to scatter. There was one guy still walking around, naked and sweaty, with two words painted on his chest: FREE HUGS.
He wasn’t getting any takers.