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COLUMN

All that Money Can Buy

Ed Kopesky

Editor’s note: For years, rebellion against authority has been powerfully expressed through song. This lyric is set to the tune of Don McLean’s American Pie.

A long long time ago

I can still remember how that stipend used to make me smile

And I knew that if I had my chance

That I could get MIT grants

And maybe they’d treat us well for a while

But February made me shiver

When the steep rent hike was delivered

Thirteen percent for next year

Our financial ruin drew near

I then remembered what I lost

When I paid those huge off-campus costs

So my piggy bank was tossed

The day rents went sky high

So bye bye, all that money can buy

Debts piled sky high now you know our poverty’s bonafide

While Vest enjoys drinking his best vintage wine

Singing “This’ll be the day the rents rise

This’ll be the day the rents rise”

Double trouble the stock market stumbled

The endowment slipped and provost Brown grumbled

“Nominal growth now” he whined

It steadied at a five-billion mass

An amount the size of Mama Cass

More than Lucas and Spielberg combined had amassed

But although it had nearly grown times four

Since good ol’ nineteen ninety-four

The Vester sang the blues

While a poor UROP shined his shoes

And while the grads trudged to work through the muck

Vest asked the valet for his brand new truck

And tipped the man a quarter buck

The day rents went sky high

So bye bye, all that money can buy

Now we’re smartin like Steve Martin in Father of the Bride

But Vest could fund four weddings and a fun ride

Singing “My Ferrari sure can fly

My Ferrari sure can fly”

Now for n years we’ve been on our own

And dust grows fast on the tenured’s bones

Sitting in endowed chairs with glee

And the Vester ate all that free cuisine

With a slew of MIT’s rich deans

And the funds that came from you and me

Oh, and while the grads were looking down

The Vester took their every pound

The endowment doubly earned

Not a cent was returned

And while Course 8 read a book on quarks

The grad students worked well past dark

And U.S. News gave MIT high marks

The day rents went sky high

So bye bye, all that money can buy

Thought of movin’ in and snoozin’ with Bilbo in the Shire

But I’d still picture Vest guzzlin’ down that wine

Singing “The best come anyway, so why try?

The best come anyway, so why try?”

I would write a letter to the Gov.

But the cost of one stamp is above

One month’s disposable dough

Could the money crunch have been foretold?

When Simmons Hall cost its weight in gold

With a design right out of a freak show

Such flash in Cambridge had the sense

Of a pearly gate on a rotting fence

And nearby for half the price

A house twice the size that looked nice

And when S&P climbed high into the night

Its budget truly came out right

But we wouldn’t take cramped quads without a fight

The day rents went sky high

So bye bye all that money can buy

To survive I’ll have to write the next American Pie

Or remake Lions, Tigers, and Bears oh my

Singing Vest could play the tin man just fine

Vest could play the tin man just fine

I met a girl who sang the blues

After she’d paid her activity fee dues

She said, I’ll be broke by May

I went down to the grocery store

Where I’d spent some money long before

But the man there said I had nothing with which to pay

And the Infinite Corridor filled with screams

The nth-years cried and the first-years dreamed

But Vest kept hold of our goods

And to the mirror he said, I’m Tiger Woods

And the three films he enjoys the most

The Godfather, Nuns on the Run, and Ghost

Were all shown at his big beast roast

The day rents went sky high

So bye bye, all that money can buy

Lost all our pay and still each day we’re in lab until nine

While Vest goes out and gets some more vintage wine

Singing “MIT’ll care when pigs fly

MIT’ll care when pigs fly.”

Ed Kopesky is a graduate student in Chemical Engineering.