Since its inception, Yale University’s relationship with New Haven has been rocky, to say the least. To say more, it’s been tough, strained, and troubled. So, as I look upon New Haven from the ivory towers of Sterling Memorial Library, I can’t help but say: enough is enough. Over the slapping sounds of horny first years with roommates rubbing their bodies together in between rows of old books, I can hear a ground swell of voices. The people have raised their collective voice, and they are saying “Make Skull and Bones a Taco Bell Cantina!” They are polite, so after a couple of seconds, they add, “Please!”
When one thinks of community, they do not picture imposing bronze doors bolted shut or narrow windows peeking out into closed-off alleys. They don’t imagine the alleged remnants of infamous deceased leaders, writing weekly essays, or private island getaways. And they certainly don’t picture George H.W. Bush, no matter how ruggedly patriotic he may have been. No, when one thinks of community, they think of late nights with sloppy drunks ordering iterations of the same four foods: ground beef, shredded cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes presented in various shapes of tortilla. (I prefer triangle.)
Taco Bell Cantina is the maternal womb to Skull & Bones’ weird-step dad tomb. Since opening in 2019, it has opened its arms to the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free and imbibe frozen margarita.
Let’s be honest, landed societies are a plague to The Elm City. They take up valuable real estate to serve no more than fifteen students annually. Do they pay taxes? I don’t know, but that won’t stop me from asserting that they do not. They don’t even pay taxes! Most importantly, they don’t collaborate with Doritos every few months to bring the world radical new innovations in food technology.
When I was a wee boy, my mother, who I will subsequently refer to as Mumsies, prepared me a dish every afternoon when I returned from elementary school. Some days, she made her signature chicken pot pie. Other days, blueberry scones. But no matter which dish she bestowed upon my plate on that dark varnished table in our four-bedroom home in our bucolic suburban neighborhood, I knew one thing to be true. Mumsies loved me. She loved me so much that she set aside thirty minutes of her afternoon to sustain me, to pour her heart and soul into a dish for her little scrumpler.
One cannot rely on their Mumsies forever. One must go out into the world and forge their own path. So, I did. At first, I was lost. Nobody was there to show me the ropes, nobody taught me that you have to pay taxes. That was fine. I learned. I adapted. I grew. But one thing kept me up at night in a cold, slimy sweat. Nobody prepared me meals. I missed Mumsies’ chicken pot pie and I missed her blueberry scones. I even missed her caprese sandwiches, which admittedly were low effort but still thoughtful of her to prepare. The point is: I was lost in the world
Until I discovered Taco Bell Cantina. I was found. I felt at home on the stiff faux-wooden benches in the front. I shared my first kiss near the screen that told me my order would be ready in 3 minutes. I learned I would be a father on the stiff faux-wooden benches in the front. I actually spent most of my time in the front. The Cantina fed me. The Cantina loved me. And I loved the Cantina.
The world is not fair. Some people are born with greatness thrust upon them, others are born in New Jersey. That is an unfortunate reality. But there are some realities we can shape. As the head of my favorite student-run corporate social media consulting firm once asked, “who are you serving?” It’s time the bonesmen served the people. Pack up your bones and the corpse of the aforementioned George H.W. Bush. Transform your elitist secret society into a Taco Bell Cantina.
— W. Cramer