Stephenson Tales

The YOITY Society and Our Ghastly Trophy

YOITY Trophy with the Proud RecipientLucy Chase and I are the proud possessors of one of the most hideous trophies ever designed by the warped and fertile imagination of man. I won the trophy, this time, by an outrageous purchase this last summer. I bought for myself a brand new 9.9 horsepower, electric starting Yamaha outboard motor. How did that win me a trophy, you reasonably ask?

This is the second time that Chay and I have won this coveted prize. I will explain.

When Dude and I were both working on our PhD degrees at U of M, Dude organized and invited us to join the YOITY society.

I will quote from the backside of my treasured membership card:
"This membership is awarded on the basis that the above named has demonstrated his faithful adherence to the fundamental principles of YOITY, that he deserves special recognition and commendation for his promulgation of said principles, and that he has earned the right to partake of all privileges and pleasantries provided and inherent to the Society's perspicacious philosophy. (You Owe It To Yourself...I owe it to myself")

On the front side, after designating me as a member in good standing, the officers and trustees are listed. Clarence Stephenson is president - and, although it does not so designate here, it is understood that he is president "in perpetuity." Then are listed several others in minor officers, as well as the trustees as I said. Most of them, alas, are dead now.

But how did I win this award, you ask again? Patience is a virtue...

Every year there was a competition for the trophy and at the annual meeting it was awarded to the person who had made the most outrageous purchase in the last year. My (now) next-door neighbor Joe Rice won it once when he and his wife, who then had no children, bought a third car. John Dodd won it one year for buying a seventh canoe. How we won it the first time was this:

Chay and I invited Bernard Brindel, who taught composition at the Music Camp, and his wife June, who was the theatre Arts secretary, to our house for dinner. As we planned what we would serve them we decided upon ice cream for dessert, but our refrigerator was full so we went out and bought a gallon of vanilla ice cream and a freezer. That did it, and for a whole year we showed everyone who visited us our ugly trophy - with great pride and self-satisfaction.

By the way, it had on the base of the pedestal pasted-on gold letters: "YOITY-ite of the Year" - with the year underneath. These letters have long since fallen off, but one can still read where they used to be.

Over the years the Society has fallen into obsolescence and the trophy has been ownerless and in Dude's garage at his cottage on Green Lake - just a mile and a half from us. So: When I made my self-indulgent and extravagant purchase - a present to me on by 87th birthday, July 18 - I told Dude that I wanted to re-activate and claim the trophy.

He happily agreed and with a minimum of ritual and ceremony brought it to me. It now sits quite sedately on the stairs at the end or our living room and never fails to elicit groans of delight (?) when any guests have their attention drawn to it.

All we need now is a real revival of the Society while there are still enough of us left to make a quorum.

Composed 19 November 2008; Transcribed by Lucky

© Jim Bob Stephenson 2008

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