By Tate Gale, Band ’17
Rarely does a Penn freshman make it through the first week on campus without seeing, or at least hearing about the illustrious Mask and Wig ensemble. There are few better ways to be welcomed to college than Free Show – an awakening to just how far free speech on campus can go. Alas, I missed Free Show in favor of Made in America, but I first saw Wig at Penn Preview Days, where the band had me at “shalom”.
I’m one of the New Guys, one of fifteen lucky young men who tried out and actually made the troupe. As a result, my first month at Penn has been one part time and commitment, seventy-two parts a freakin’ blast. Here’s a group of gents who embody what it means to be at Penn. They take themselves and everything they do very seriously, but recognize amusing diversions as the driving force behind these tasks. They see the importance of the job at hand, embrace it, and tell it to wait a little bit while they come up with some uncomfortable puns.
As my New Guy class starts to come together and build an identity, we are more than anything just along for the ride. From some necessary bonding the night we got in to class dinners to ambiguous jacket/tie events, we’re beginning to see what it means to be a part of such a storied organization. We’re recognizing the true extent of the obligation we’ll have, while learning that there probably is no obligation that we’d rather have. The night I found out I got in (loud banging on the door, loud singing, loud, etc.) I had no idea the weight of the journey on which I was embarking. I’m pretty sure I still don’t.