What the world needs now …


With all the craziness about us these days, I started thinking—on a throwback Thursday—to a time almost half a decade ago when three freshmen and their RA knew exactly what the world needed.

We came together at Craig Hall on the University of Montana campus in Fall 1967: two kids from Shadle Park—a running back and an aspiring journalist, members of a senior class so large they had barely known each other prior; a talented North Dakota musician, who quickly discovered the financial benefit of hawking pot (as in “pans,” not “weed”); and our RA and consummate leader, a strikingly handsome Air Force brat with keys to a modified and raised blue Willys that challenged the modesty of any skirted coed that tried to climb aboard.

On a singular night that fall, the four of us decided to raise a little hell. We hopped into the Willys and roared out Brooks to a root beer stand, where we acquired a gallon jug of sweet suds. A few moments later, we entered The Heidelhaus with our smuggled contraband and ordered pizzas (as I vaguely recall). The table clamor elevated as more and more “beer” found its way surreptitiously from the jug at our feet and the water glasses on the table.

We were certain wait staff would toss us out at any moment for consuming alcohol illegally. In reality, they likely perceived us as just another bunch of immature college boys, especially our “youthful,” 21-year-old leader—the only guy among the four of us during a future adventure to choose a soda instead of beer and get carded at an off-campus night spot.

Emboldened by the nonalcoholic brew we consumed at The Heidelhaus that fall night, we returned to campus, where we loudly and jovially thundered around the otherwise quiet grounds until we found ourselves standing under a street light at the foot of a high-rise, coed dorm. I don’t think any of us could carry a lick, but our motley quartet found united voice in a mangled version of Dionne Warwick’s plaintive plea:

“What the world needs now … is more freshmen girls. No not for some, but for everyone.”

Fifty years on, we’ve aged a little; cutback heavily on the frivolity; and maybe even acquired a little wisdom. Long past yearning for more freshmen girls, I’m sure our quartet concurs with Dionne about what the world really needs now.


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