Rich Szlosek: Amherst College should ask Russia for mammoth

Sunday, April 09, 2017
Amherst College should ask Russia for mammoth

It is interesting how sometimes seemingly disparate news items can jell together in a moment of clarity and suggest a clear course of action.

I recently read of a group of Russian geneticists who were in possession of some mammoth DNA. Their plan was to recreate the extinct species, just like the scientists in “Jurassic Park,” and let them roam the Siberian tundra.

Then, just last weekend, my alma mater, Amherst College, announced that my fellow alumni had voted for the Mammoth as the new college mascot (Mammoths win vote for mascot,” April 4). It suddenly became obvious to me that the college trustees must place an immediate offer with the Russians to purchase one of the soon-to-be-created wooly creatures for the purpose of bringing it to Amherst and housing it somewhere on campus. I realize this gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “We’re having a mammoth sale.”

It would not be difficult to locate a group of students who would care for it for extra credit. What other school could offer the chance to tend a prehistoric animal? I’m not sure how the good citizens of Amherst would react to the creature’s presence, but I believe they would soon adjust and just think of the possible selfie opportunities.

As for me, when I received my acceptance letter from the college, I turned to my parents and proudly said, “I’m going to be a Lord Jeff.” More than half a century later that is what I still consider myself — an alumnus of the best small college in the nation.

I consider the whole mascot discussion to have been a waste of time and not nearly as much fun as writing this short letter.

Rich Szlosek


The writer is a 1961 graduate of Amherst College.