The time block of 1:10 to 1:25 has become increasingly painful. Everyday, while enjoying stimulating lectures on topics like Harold Pinter”s Homecoming, I am driven into a state of explosive migraines by McGraw Tower”s mutilations of popular standards. I hate that fucking tower.
Sure, I remember my first tour of campus, where a cheeky sophomore spent three unnecessary minutes explaining to unenthused high schoolers about McGraw”s purported importance. Of course, our tour guide related the story of the mythical pumpkin, mysteriously lodged upon the tower”s apex. I can”t help but wonder — why couldn”t those engineers instead have lobbed a boulder, or a car, or a bomb?
Whenever I look to the east from Route 13, I can see McGraw, looming above the campus like a terrible, ominous, shrieking erection, ready to hump the sky into submission. If one thing can be directly linked to Cornell”s cellar ranking in the Ivy League, it”s poor self-promotion, and the miasmic, campus-wide depression, it”s actually not the presence of the Statler Hotel school, but McGraw Tower. It”s daily chimes concerts have the sonic aesthetic of a four-year-old with ADHD suffering an asthma attack while banging on a toy xylophone with a tin bell. Who plays those chimes anyway? They”d better have a legitimate excuse for their performances — like muscular dystrophy — because they”re awful.
And as it turns out, Cornell”s most irritating edifice is also it”s most ubiquitous and iconic. McGraw appears on everything from coffee mugs to pillow shams, and there”s even entire CDs composed entirely of chimes concerts. Wow, those must be bestsellers. Hell, even daze uses the clock tower as its rating graphic, and look at how awful this section is. I see it crumbling in my dreams these days. Wild, wonderful, apocalyptic dreams — subconscious spaces where the Pentagon finally identifies McGraw as a level Orange terror threat and decimates it in a hail of Scud missiles. If only I could be so lucky.
And let”s be honest, some songs just aren”t fit for large, metallic bells. Often times, I can”t even identify what song is being played, the clangs and bangs amalgamating into a throbbing cacophony. While walking to class the other day, my female friend”s head literally exploded while the tower banged out a melody with the precision of child with Tourette”s sittting on a washing machine. When I took her to Gannett, explaining that her head had exploded, they performed a pregnancy test on her and prescribed her Robitussin. What”s worse, McGraw Tower now has taken on a teleological meaning in my mind. Every time those chimes play, it reminds me of a dirge. And that clock is visible from practically every point on campus, providing a constant reminder of time”s receding march — causing me to muse upon how little time I have left. Thus, on my daily hike up Libe Slope, I am comforted by the knowledge that I am dying and have less than three minutes to make it to class. Thanks, McGraw.
Earlier this year, I saw a mother and daughter running up Ho Plaza in order to catch a chimes concert, the little girl yelling, ‘Run faster, mommy!’ I wanted to yell out, ‘You stupid kid! What the fuck are you running for? You can hear that fucking thing for miles!’ But she was young, so I used discretion and kept silent. I walked dolefully on, saddened to see youth so misguided. And as a cold wind picked up, the chimes began to play.
Archived article by Zach Jones