The Long Winter: Feast and Famine From News@Law


Years ago, I read a Washington Post story in which the author lived for a whole week by mooching food off of various public events. I’ve often thought that this would be a good thing to replicate here – surely, a careful reading of the News@Law e-mails could generate a pretty impressive haul.

On the other hand, the Record doesn’t exactly pay me the big bucks, so I’ve never had a particular incentive to expend any actual effort on it. Still, as the semester drags on and your student loan money runs low, I thought the concept might be useful all the same. So, I present to you a hypothetical diary of mooching off free HLS food, courtesy of News@Law.

Monday, February 12th.

I begin the week in high spirits. I am returning to my hunter/gatherer roots! Okay, more gatherer than hunter, but there’s always the possibility that I may be able to spear a particularly fat and tame squirrel with the sharp Lexis Nexis pencil I snagged from the Hark.

Unfortunately, I don’t have class until 10:30, and by the time I get to Pound, the coffee is all gone. No problem; it’s a little known fact (and one I’m not sure I should be revealing in this column; thank God nobody reads the Record) that they take just as much coffee to Hauser and nobody drinks it but me. I load up on the half-and-half and sugar, creating a breakfast that I imagine is at least as nutritious as the Hark breakfast sandwiches.

It turns out Mondays are a big event day at HLS, presumably because organizers figure the end-of-week slate of bar reviews hasn’t yet decimated their target audience. I enjoy a free kosher lunch at the Jewish Heritage in Brazil Lunch n Learn and dinner courtesy of the Journalism for Lawyers panel. Helpful hint: anything that advertises a reception is a good bet; Sodexho often breaks out the wine and pastry-covered brie thingies. Technically, I think these are supposed to be appetizers; but hey, if Sodexho doesn’t put a cap on stuffed mushrooms per person, why should I impose an artificial one on myself?

Tuesday, February 13th.

I bring my Lexis mug to Hauser today, and add an envelope of hot chocolate to my coffee. It’s like a trashy breakfast mocha. I approve.

Then it’s a long, hard slog until Dean Kagan’s party that afternoon, where I manage to score the “Law” section of the “Hoorah for Harvard Law” chocolate layer cake and some more free coffee. This time it’s celebratory “we love Dean Kagan coffee,” but the actual caffeine content still doesn’t seem that high; that turns out to be for the best, as I’m already starting to feel jittery.

I am saved by Thai food, courtesy of the Journal of Law and Gender Spring Intro Meeting. I write down a fake e-mail address on the sign-up sheet. Apologies to; they seemed like nice people and I’m sure you’ll enjoy subciting for them.

Wednesday, February 14th.

Valentine’s Day and slush a foot deep foil my clever plans, as the few events scheduled are canceled by undedicated student leaders who are worried about their attendees “dying.” In desperation, I try to order (truly terrible, this being Cambridge) Chinese food, only to be told “Are you kidding? Have you looked outside?”

I eye my roommate’s cat. He scampers under the bed. I decide dragging out the broom is too much trouble, and go to bed early.

Thursday, February 15th.

At this point I am desperate enough to brave streets that are solid blocks of ice to get to Hauser. Sweet, sweet Hauser coffee, essence of life. It also appears that a group of professors is having some sort of well-catered seminar across the hall. I contemplate trying to snatch a roll, but decide that the grading probably isn’t that anonymous.

It turns out OCS isn’t providing refreshments at their series of clerkship panels. How much do we charge firms to come to OCI again? Up it by $10 a head, and throw in some brownies. I do, however, learn a handy trick: turns out the facilities management office really will hand out student organization office keys to just anyone. I find some potato chips in the Environmental Law Society office. The sell-buy date is March, 2002. I shrug; they’re still crispy.

I also score from pizza from ILJ (sorry again,, and delicious New Years treats courtesy of HALS. Well played, guys.

Friday, February 16th.

I’m worried about Friday, being the traditionally quiet day that it is. A brown bag lunch with the Federal Trade Commission does me no good, and it turns out that when the Women’s Law Association asked people to RSVP for lunch at their conference, they meant it. After a fruitless day of attempted mooching, I don a cowboy hat and sludge my way over to the Texas Club party at Tommy Doyles, where I party myself through to midnight when I can order myself a hamburger.

At last, my long, hard week is over, and I only contemplated cannibalism once (or twice). I admit, I am grateful for the bounty that HLS provides for its students. But not for Dial-a-Pizza, which still sucks even when you’re starving.

Katie Mapes, 2L, has never actually eaten squirrel (or cat).

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