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8th Floor Comedy Column: How to write an alma mater

“Carmen Ohio” is the official alma mater of The Ohio State University. Ohio State lore states that around the turn of the century, “Carmen Ohio” was written by a freshman named Fred Cornell on the train ride home from a Michigan football game — a game that Ohio State lost 86-0.

You have to wonder what that was like. It couldn’t have been easy rallying school spirit after something like that. Maybe it went like…

Come on fellows! Be of high spirits! The match wasn’t all that bad when you look back at it. Right? Our players, they, um, they put up a good fight. It’s not easy to keep playing football for four quarters when you’re down by 86 points, but our players didn’t leave the field! C’mon! Who’s with me? Celebrate full team attendance!

No one? I see. I bet if we try really hard, we can find something good to sing about from all of this.

Throwing things at me will not make this better, Charles!

How about we do this, eh? Let me just whip out some parchment and my good quill, and we can get started on that song.

Yes Charles, I carried my quill, a roll of parchment, and an inkwell with me to a football match.

Well, it doesn’t seem so strange to me. What if a young lady wanted to give me her address so we could begin a correspondence?

I have too had a correspondence with a lady! I went to Europe last summer, and I had, like, six correspondences! All I did was correspond! And they were European girls, who are more advanced at corresponding than American girls.

No Charles, you can’t see these letters.

Let’s get this song started. What should the first line sung be?
Charles, I should think a whole crowd of people singing those words would cause quite a scandal. It really doesn’t matter if it’s easy to rhyme. At what instance would we need to use the word “truckers” in a song about a university football game? I must give you credit, your wordplay does make “truckers” work there. However, I was thinking of something more along the lines of “Oh come let’s sing Ohio’s praise.” And for the next line, “And songs to alma mater raise.”

You have a suggestion, Charles? Tell you what, if you’re going to keep throwing things at me, Charles, I will just go into the next car and finish writing this on my own.  Oh look, you got the whole car to applaud my leaving.

One last thing before I go: I will have my satisfaction! I’m going to write three verses and you’re going to learn all of them!

What do you mean people will only learn the first verse? I think time and change will surely show you are mistaken, Charles.

Matt Starr performs with the 8th Floor Improv Comedy Group at OSU. For information on show dates and times, please visit 8thfloorimprov.com. 


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