Fenno: The Mother of All Fennos


“Fenno,” Jonas explained, “I refuse to headline your column ‘The Mother of All Fennos.’ It’s ridiculous.”

But c’mon, Jonas,” Fenno implored. “It’s so, so . . . topical. God knows it’s got sound byte appeal.

“It’s a newspaper, Fenno,” Jonas retorted. “We don’t do sound bytes.”

How ’bout ‘The Coalition of the Fennos’?

“‘The Axis of Fennos’?” Jonas volleyed back with a sarcastic smile.

That’s good too,” an uncharacteristically unobservant Fenno replied.

“Fenno, we don’t title your piece. It’s just ‘Fenno.’ That’s it.”

But Lipper gets a title. Why can’t I have something cool like ‘Legal Writing Rocks!’ or ‘The Law of Law’? Those are catchy . . . and so forth.

“End of discussion, Fenno: the answer is no.” Jonas picked up his fork and knife and returned to his Powerbar.

“But, but–“

“I’m drawing a line in the sand on this one, Fenno.”


Unable to have his way, even with Jonas Blank, a frustrated Fenno steamed up the stairs of the Ames Hall basement. Jonas doesn’t know what’s good for him, Fenno muttered to himself. He’s leaving for Europe; has to finish the paper a day early so he can eat fish ‘n’ chips for ten days straight. Doesn’t even realize that the paper will be so overcome by events come Thursday that no one’ll even remember what The RECORD is when it hits the street.

Fenno had to cut his reverie short to duck out of the path of a flying pig. Stupid flying pigs, he thought.

Entering the Hark, Fenno was nearly bowled over by the trio of Andrea Hertzfeld, Rita Bolt and Scarlett Singleton, careening all a-titter through the doors in the other direction.

“Oh sorry, Fenno,” Rita apologized.

“Hi, guys,” Fenno replied. “Not to worry. What’s the big hurry?”

“Well,” Laura answered, “we’ve got to run by our rooms to grab our parasols and picnic blankets to get back in time to watch the start of the war on the big screens downstairs! Dean Clark is emceeing.”

Andrea sort of half-smiled but said nothing.

“It’s going to be even better than First Manassas back in ’61,” Rita chimed in. “My great-granddaddy used to tell me stories about how much fun that was. They’re going to have cookies upstairs. I can’t wait!”

The three belles skipped off. Fenno hoped someone inside would share a picnic blanket with him. Probably better to have beer and pretzels instead of cookies, he thought. Gotta put that on the sound-off board for next week.

He walked into the Hark and headed down the steps. People were booing, cheering and throwing popcorn at each other. Some students sported face paint while, unfortunately for everyone else, a few of the male students were sporting letters on their bare chests and backs. Fenno asked the three guys closest to the TV if they were showing support for the Australian forces in the coalition.

“No, man, we’re here for the USA!” one of them replied. High-fives were exchanged.

“Your backs read ‘AUS’,” Fenno explained.

“Dude, move around to the other side!” U commanded A. “We don’t want to confuse anyone.”

A little late for that, Fenno thought to himself.

Leaving the viewing area, Fenno strolled upstairs to the monitor-less War Reception Room on the south end of the dining hall. There he met up with Eddie Manheimer and Justin Tichauer.

“Hey fellas,” Fenno greeted them. “Why aren’t you watching the war on TV downstairs?”

“No time for that,” Tichauer answered, wiping a bit of powdered donut powder off his nose.

“Yeah,” Eddie agreed. “Besides, it’s not nearly as good as playing EA Sports’ Gulf War II on the PlayStation.”

“Yeah,” Justin echoed. “It’s the mother of all videogames.”

I am going to kill Jonas, Fenno thought.

Fenno went back downstairs to check on the action. But it was the end of the first quarter, so the war was on an extended commercial break. Seemed to be an awful lot of ads for Exxon and Shell.

Fenno took the lull as an opportunity to run out and buy the game. Then he remembered the episode with his mother during the “winter writing” chapter of the school year. Damn 3L paper, he thought. He went to check his email in the library instead.

Support the War; Oppose the War; Oppose Opposition to the War; Add 3 Inches to . . .; Support John and Anjan for Class Marshal!–

Fenno opened that last one. Why were John Doulamis and Anjan Choudhury soliciting votes from 3Ls for their Class Marshal elections? Fenno replied to Anjan: “Why are you soliciting votes from 3Ls? I’m a 3L. I can’t vote for you.”

A reply came back in less than 15 seconds.

“Fenno, John here on Anjan’s account. I didn’t realize you weren’t a 2L,” the e-mail began. “You see, we actually don’t know who’s in our class, and we need all the votes we can get. Maybe there’s a way for you to vote for us anyway.”

Fenno responded: “Anjan-John, I recognize your sense of desperation. It is well-founded. Good luck! :)”

“Fenno, Anjan here. Thanks for your support!”

Fenno admired John and Anjan’s sense of commitment to their own cause. He decided to help them out by getting in touch with some of his dead friends in Chicago and New Orleans.

Back at home, Fenno walked in on his roommate going postal with a rolling pin on the roommate’s Dixie Chicks’ collection. “I hate France!” the roommate kept saying as he smashed the bits of plastic in manifest fury.

“But D–,” Fenno interrupted him, “the Dixie Chicks are from Texas.”

“Same thing,” was the reflexive response.

“Not entirely,” Fenno cautioned.

“Why do you think they call it the Republic of Texas?” the roommate rebutted.

“Get me a wrench,” Fenno concluded.

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