Ditch Day

Apparently, Caltech Ditch Day started out as a regular college Ditch Day, where the seniors would choose one day in the spring to ditch classes en masse. Then the underclassmen started a tradition of pranking the seniors’ rooms while they were gone. This being Caltech, the “pranks” involved things like bricking off doors and windows, or filling a room entirely with Styrofoam peanuts. This led to the third and current Pokemon-style evolution of Ditch Day, in which the seniors organize elaborate day-long activities and “bribes” to keep the underclassmen busy so they won’t prank the seniors’ rooms. So what started as the seniors taking a day off to relax has developed into the seniors spending three solid months planning and constructing ornate Rube Goldbergian puzzles.

And that’s what mad science is all about, Charlie Brown.

Anyway, Paul Nagami is a great guy! After graduating from Caltech he moved up to my neck of the woods, where he teaches and studies fungi. Which is good for me, because every social circle needs a mycologist. I’m sure Edith Wharton said that once.

3 thoughts on “Ditch Day

  1. One of my fav CalTech pranks that I read about involved a shotgun.  Before the senior left, he told the underclassmen to take a look through his door’s transom window, and they saw a double-barreled shotgun pointed at the door and well-rigged.  They left it alone.  After ditch day was over, everyone showed up at the guy’s untouched door to find out how he was going to get inside.  He said “That’s my grandpa’s old shotgun, it hasn’t worked in years” nad he yanks the door open.  There’s a very loud bang and the guy goes flying across the hall, scaring the s* out of everyone.  He then gets up and starts laughing, he’d rigged a couple of loud firecrackers or blanks to the door.

  2. Ames: I remember it. Sadly, we never actually did get to go into space on Ditch Day.

    Wow, this brings back memories. Memories of sleep deprivation and dragging a leaky papier-mache gerbil through the steam tunnels and trying to recruit Madblood robot actors at the last minute.

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