Dik's Ravings

Dik Saalfeld '80
Washington correspondent

Brett Sylvester '84 married the exotic and delectable Xin Chen on March 25. It was a very civilized affair, from the elegantly appointed church to the reception featuring primo chow and saftig eye-candy. Appetizers included all-you-can-eat oysters on the halfshell, a boon I would have appreciated more had I not been loading up my fourth plate of said bivalve mollusks when Mrs. Sylvester, bless her misguided heart, shared with me the poignant story of a family friend whose last meal was raw oysters, apparently from a bad neighborhood. It didn't stop me, but it threw off my timing.

Brett lived the bachelor life until he got hitched. The lame duck period before the actual nuptials was an eye-opener for him, and howlingly good entertainment for me and Yaz (Tom Yazdgerdi '84), two jaded veterans of the War Between the Sexes. Brett, having made us promise not to tell anyone, described the "we are a team" lecture he got, the one where women tell you that all major decisions have to be made jointly, blah blah blah. In Brett's case the lecture was precipitated by a thought he had one lazy afternoon while he was tying trout flies and drinking beer:

"Dang," he thought, "I sure could use a boat."

The lecture came a few days later, after he had found a center-console bay cruiser, bought it, towed it to a slip in Maryland, and then - this part kills me - told Xin "I bought a boat." Brett asked me if I thought this "team" concept meant he had to consult with Xin about buying a painting he had seen in a gallery and wanted to hang above the mantle; I asked how much it cost, and when he said "not much, about 2 grand," I said "oh, no, I'm sure Xin wasn't talking about artwork, go ahead and buy it." (Brett's the poster boy for increased vigilance at the marriage license counter.) Stay tuned.

Yaz and I attended the wedding in New Jersey - exit 42 - and had a zany time. Brett's brother Brad '79 was also in attendance. Back when I was a young dork it bugged me that my pledge brother Brad Sylvester was possessed of such charisma and boyish good looks and attracted babes without even trying, but I consoled myself with the knowledge that time would give him a paunch and bald spots. I'm an old dork now, and I'm still wrong. Spousal unit Kelley kept asking me "you're sure that's Brett's OLDER brother?!" I had to throw cold water on her.

I bought a titanium bicycle frame with the money I won from Steve Amador. I still need the rest of the parts, but Steve is leery of making any more wagers with me. I absolutely must have a carbon fiber fork, and it would be a shame to have to come by it legitimately. Speaking of fraud, tax day has come and gone, and I sure could use a new passport! If you're not using yours, send it to me, unless you're black or Japanese, or have facial birthmarks. I'm not prejudiced, I just don't want to swap out the pictures.

Cornell's Reunion is June 8-11. This year is my first 20th Reunion, so I expect to see my classmates there, especially Ralph Bischof and Pete Atkeson. Ralph is a respected physician and a big draw on the doctor lecture circuit. We haven't seen or heard from him in 20 years, but since he's rich, we still love him like a brother, although we would be loathe to give him a kidney. Johnny O is a doctor, too, but if we gave him a kidney he would probably eat it. All of Mamma O's cookies finally caught up with John, and when he performs surgery, they need two gurneys.

I heard from Monti (Bob Montione '80) recently. He's still our token nature boy and survivalist. He collects bark recipes. Once at deer camp while the rest of us were washing raw meat and mescaline down with tequila while belching loudly, Monti was soaking acorns for his lunch the next day, as an experiment "just in case." Bill Webster '79 asked him "just in case WHAT?!" Monti said you never know when you may have to survive on only your wits, which would leave most of us half dead. Taz (Mark Ochs '79) pointed out that we had guns and plenty of ammo, so leave the acorns to the squirrels and pass me a beer. Shades of the Algonquin Round Table.

Brad Smith '80 is the father of two children as are, apparently, Doug Wright '78 and Bob Mateus '78, although presumably not the same two. Fortunately they all live out west, so we can rest easy until the little urchins learn how to drive. We all laughed when Mark Nestle '79 brought up the idea of mandatory sterilization at a chapter meeting back in '77, but nobody's laughing now.