History Major Softly Pines for Chance to Reference William Jennings Bryan in Casual Conversation

February 5, 2015 9:00 am
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History Major Softly Pines for Chance to Reference William Jennings Bryan in Casual Conversation

Most students think of lunchtime as a period of repose in the midst of a hectic day. For one student, though, Arrillaga Dining had nothing to serve last Friday but a heaping helping of missed opportunity. Henry Monroe, self-described junior and History major, sat down last week to what he assumed would be a typically relaxing lunch. He figured that, like most days, he would be able to eat a hearty meal, catch up with his dormmates, and slip in a subtle reference to Populist figurehead William Jennings Bryan. Henry was dead wrong.

The first sign that things were amiss came when Monroe’s friend Evan Harding (himself an Economics major) brought up the gold standard. It seemed an easy enough task for Monroe to interject that William Jennings Bryan was a vocal opponent of the gold standard, supporting instead the “Free Silver” movement as a way of diffusing the power of the nation’s money among the people. Had it not been for a mouthful of kale, Monroe may have had his wish. From there, though, things only got worse.

Another of Monroe’s friends, Barney Adams, launched into an anecdote concerning an altercation with a biker following a particularly gruesome accident. Distraught, Monroe could not fathom how to integrate his anecdotes related to William Jennings Bryan, two-term Nebraska Representative and presidential hopeful. Adams’ decision to leave the scene of the crash rather than seek violent retribution did remind Monroe of when William Jennings Bryan resigned as Secretary of State in 1915 due to the escalating conditions of World War I, but his fascinating historical tidbit was drowned out by all at the table consoling Adams.

At press time, Monroe has still not found an organic way to bring up William Jennings Bryan’s storied history with the debate over evolution, culminating in testimony at the famous Scopes Trial of 1925, but he remains hopeful that someone will stop blathering long enough to listen.

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