President Ponts Pledges “New Beginnings” in Final Year

Kyle Seasly

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Illustration by Sophie Cooper-Ellis.

There are moments in life that can capture the true nature of a man’s soul. This underpaid reporter experienced one such moment last week. Gazing down upon the plebeian horde below him from his secret office in the Clocktower of the Memorial Building, Whitman College President Jorge Ponts said one word to this underfed reporter before he descended and made his annual “Kick off the Year” speech on the steps of the Memorial Building: “Sheep.”

As we made our way down the steps, he finished up his sentence: “l seriously heard that sheep bladders can predict earthquakes. I don’t know why this notion is rejected by science.”

In the speech he promised to oversee an era of “new beginnings” in his final year.

Ponts started out the speech with the usual comments about how Whitman is a laboratory of “poltroons and knaves … but they’re my poltroons and knaves,” and surprisingly admitted that “Matt Smith, the 11th doctor, wears his bow-tie better than me. But I still wear it better than Justice Stevens.”

In other words, classic Ponts. Everyone had seen or heard this shtick before, and it only impressed the first-years and their parents. The rest of us were there to see what the theme to Ponts’ last year was to be.

In a crude but relevant metaphor, Ponts compared himself to a “senior dude that’s been plowing a freshman Kappa all year.” But, according to Ponts, “It is now spring, and that senior dude just secured a job at Goldman Sachs. They both know the affair will end, either through a terrible long distance undertaking that lasts a few months into the fall when the 19-year-old girl takes a gender studies course and feels she needs to get to know her inner-self, or through a short conversation where they realize the separation of geography and age will be too much, and the only thing keeping them together was pound-town anyway.”

Ponts, looking out at the crowd, and noticing the jaw-dropped looks of all the parents, some of whom were even covering their children’s ears, whispered again, “pound-town.”

Ponts, with his vague vision in mind, then shifted the topic of his speech to another platitude that received wild amounts of applause from the trustees in the crowd, simply by uttering a phrase.

“Now is the time,” Ponts shouted. “Now is the time for new beginnings!”

The crowd went nuts. This reporter hasn’t seen this kind of cheering for phrases since the highly successful divestment wedding.

Ponts and I met up for some Bud Light Straw-ber-ritas at an illegal cockfighting ring in town to discuss the speech. His rooster, “El Castigador,” or “The Punisher,” was doing extremely well that night, so he was in a hell of a mood.

“That sucker cost me a few kids’ tuition payments, but he was worth it.”

I asked how he thought the speech went and if he realized his speech only consisted of about seven sentences, given the schedule had allotted him twenty minutes to speak.

“New beginnings, dude. New beginnings,” he said.

This was about three ‘ritas in, so we were both starting to feel it. Then we heard a loud cheering behind us. El Castigador had been pecked to death by another cock! Ponts looked around and saw the owner of the murderous galliforme –– it was actor Kyle Maclachlan, owner of “Pursued By A Bear” wine and frequent David Lynch collaborator. Ponts took off his bow-tie, something very few have seen him do, and headed in Maclachlan’s direction. I’ve never seen someone strangled to death with a bow-tie, but it’s something I shan’t forget soon.

As the cops came to pick up Ponts before he was nearly beaten to death by Maclachlan’s agent, he mouthed two words to me before stepping into the cop car on his way to jail. At first I thought it was “new beginnings,” but now that I recall, through the Straw-ber-rita haze, it was definitely “pound-town.”