I’ve written lots of fun stories for Cornell Alumni Magazine over the past decade-and-a-half. I spent a day racking up twenty-nine academic credits—everything from Shakespeare to wines. I dabbled in a series of campus clubs and the students who populate them—jugglers, ham-radio operators, Ayn Rand fans. I’ve undertaken a search for the perfect 4.3 GPA, the geographic center of campus, and the once-ubiquitous letter sweater. I’ve profiled everyone from Jimmy Smits and Bill Maher to Dr. Joyce Brothers and Dr. Henry Heimlich to a state Supreme Court justice, a sex educator, a showgirl, and a serial killer.
But “Stranger Than Fiction,” my recent story for the March/April issue about fictional Cornellians, may have been by most enjoyable. I spent countless hours googling this and that, finding dozens of examples of would-be Cornell grads—from characters on NBC’s “The Office” to protagonists in the pages of Joyce Carol Oates. I had mountains of information, lists upon lists. I figured I must have caught everything.
However, within a week of the article’s publication, I realized I may have only found the tip of the iceberg. I am currently writing a brief profile of Colorado Rockies baseball announcer Jack Corrigan ’74, for instance. In our e-mail correspondence, he noted that he enjoyed reading my stuff … and added that I could have mentioned his first novel, Warning Track. It seems that the principal female character, JayVee DellVecchio, was a multi-sport Big Red star.
And then, a few days later, I was watching the TV show “NUMB3RS.” Two FBI types were on a stakeout. They were talking about their love of classic video games. Suddenly, out of the blue, one mentioned how “at Cornell I lost my whole sophomore year to Frogger.”
It just goes to show you: No matter how hard you try, you can’t find everything. I mean, I wish I’d known Frogger was around.
— Brad Herzog ’90
Brad Herzog is a CAM contributing editor. Read more about him at www.bradherzog.com.