Name that field
A favorite spot on Grounds still needs a quality name
You know that nice, triangular grassy patch where everyone picnics across the street from Bodo’s? Where Brooks Hall is?*
It needs a name.
The fact that I just had to use so many words to describe this place is an utter linguistic travesty. A verbal cataclysm. A frightful dip on the Dow Jones of word economy.
I think I speak for the community when I say we spend plenty of time there, especially on nice days. It’s the perfect place to take a sleeping bag for a nap, write poems in your Moleskine, sword-fight with a stranger giving free fencing lessons, or inhale an entire bag of bread ends from Take-It-Away (potentially by yourself, but preferably with friends and dignity).**
One of my friends refers to it as the “hipster version” of the Lawn.
She has a point — there is a distinctly more relaxed atmosphere on the triangle of grass, perhaps because it isn’t connected to a UNESCO World Heritage site. You feel less watched there, less an object of touristy gazes, and more a happy enjoy-er of grass and trees and Starbucks.
Yes, there is much life being lived on this small, unsung patch of grass. Yet even less frequented places like Nameless Field have better names than our poor grassy-patch-across-the-street-from-Bodo’s-where-Brooks-Hall-is. Surely, if our student body is as clever and innovative as we claim to be, we should be able to come up with a real zinger of a name.
As it turns out, there are a couple already circulating.
1. The Grassy Knoll
This is the name I first heard as a first-year and I still feel a little tingle of affection for it. It sounds archaic in the loveliest of ways, like somewhere Anne of Green Gables would go, or the Dowager Countess of Grantham, or Harry Potter on his way to the McGregor Room. It’s certainly fitting for our fine institution. The Grassy Knoll — or the Knoll, for short — has high potential, reflecting a culture of sublime taste for academic mischief.
2. The “Triangle Of Grass” or TOG
If you can get over the whole initial question of “What’s a Tog?” this could be a great name. It’s short, clipped and monosyllabic, like “Lawn.” It’s also highly verb-able. One could conceivably say, “I’ve just been togging,” instead of, “I’ve just been knolling,” which sounds like someone was trying to be pretentious and failed, badly. Even better, one could Eno*** on the Tog, or Tog while Enoing, which sounds like too much fun for one afternoon. It could be an inside joke among the community, adding a little esoteric twist that suggests “we” own it.
3. The Pumpkin Patch
I don’t think this is a thing, but people who use this name are definitely convinced it is. While “pumpkin patch” does stir up a bunch of happy emotions and mental images of warm light, Charlie Brown and happy babies dressed up as pumpkins, there is a major problem with this name: pumpkins do not grow — nor have they ever — on this patch. It’s misleading. Imagine being told as a first-year there is a place called the Pumpkin Patch. You expect a great orange gourd crop in the fall and then find the field is just… grass.
So here we have it: three possible names and there are probably even more out there. I say we narrow it down to one. Now, I’m not suited to pick one on behalf of the whole community — and let’s be real, it wouldn’t stick if I did. Instead, we the people of the University will have to pick one or make a new one and run with it. It might have to happen organically, but that’s no reason not to write a column to get something in motion.
Your move.*No, it’s not the Lawn. And it really is a triangle if you look at it.
** And yes, I have done all these things.
*** That’s a type of hammock, for the uninitiated
Kristen’s column runs biweekly Wednesdays. She can be reached at email@example.com.