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The Col­legian has seen its share of gossip columns, fashion columns, and cur­rently a history column for its lucky readers, but in the 1920s, the news­paper printed a column that may top them all: The Agony Column. 

The Agony Column, pub­lished without a byline (adding to the agony: the author never got proper credit for their bril­liance), ran weekly in the early 1920s. 

Pre­miering on Nov. 11, 1920, The Agony Column laid out its purpose: “Few realize the unlimited pos­si­bil­ities that lie in our freshman class more than we do. Until we grow tired of it, the Agony Column will be a source of never-ending wealth to this department.” 

A column with the sole purpose of pointing out embar­rassing moments of freshmen? I could have been a campus celebrity if this was still around two years ago. 

From gossip to griev­ances, this column pub­lished it all. It espe­cially excelled in the insult department.

“Tom is the meanest, most hyp­o­critical sneak that ever entered this college. He hasn’t a decent thought in his head. I wouldn’t trust him with a brass nickel,” the column read on March 24, 1921. “If there’s any­thing crooked going on, you know jolly well that Tom is in it, and if there isn’t any­thing it keeps you won­dering what he’s up to. He’s the biggest liar in Michigan. He’s worthless; I wouldn’t waste the lead it would take to shoot him.”

I’d like to think that the author wrote this soliloquy with a quill pen. It was written in 1921, which expo­nen­tially raises my hopes for this majestic occur­rence. 

Also a platform for poetry, on March 22, 1923 the column read, “It’s wrong for me to go to school, And try to make my prof a fool, but I like to.” Poetic bril­liance at its finest. 

Another fan­tastic piece of lit­er­ature was pub­lished on May 7, 1925. The Agony Column read, “Back in the days when men were men, The Agony Column flour­ished then, for hazing then was not a sin, Flash­lights had not invented been.”

Both morals and English grammar took a steep hit in those lines of poetry.

The column also pub­lished jokes, or “proofs” as they were referred to by the author. On Nov. 25, 1920 the column read, “A doctor was adver­tising some med­icine on a street corner. Doctor: ‘I have sold these pills for twenty-five years and never heard a com­plaint. What does that prove?’ Voice from the crowd: ‘That dead men tell no tales.’”

I can only assume that the author of this column was actually a young Jerry Lewis.

In fact, the column was too good for editing. On Oct. 28, 1920, The Col­legian pub­lished, “Pres­ident Larson announces that appli­ca­tions will still be con­sidered for entrance to the Cos­mopolitan Club. This is a mis­placed notice and is not intended for this column.” 

More impor­tantly, when did Hillsdale have such a posh club, and can we bring it back?

In addition, The Agony Column delivered some great life tips, including this May 24, 1923 tidbit: “Some people like to eat but this is unnec­essary to success.” 

Dying from star­vation might be more of a success than the way my life is going, so this author is not entirely wrong. 

And the column was very well-received. In classic Agony Column fashion, the author asked his readers what they thought of his column — and pub­lished only the responses praising him on Jan. 28, 1926. 

“A. Jay Moron, ’29 — It keeps me awake during classes.”

“Susie Pick­lefoot — “The Agony Column is too per­fectly thrilling!”

“George Wash­ington down at Marties — ‘They always write up my Banquet Swell and they never lie because they do it with their little hatchet.’” 

Ok, that one may have been fake. 

Regardless of its cred­i­bility, The Agony Column proved suc­cessful for over six years and con­tinues to provide laughs to its readers.