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By Northern Student archives

Published 4:40 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2024

This story originally ran in the Jan. 26, 1955, edition of the Northern Student newspaper.


Many stories have been written of Paul Bunyan as the lumberjack king, but how many people know of Paul’s escapades at Bemidji State College?

One day when Paul was out clearing a paltry 20-mile tract of timber, he began thinking of all the benefits to be derived from a college education.

Shortly afterwards, he trudged to Bemidji since he had heard of “Princeton of the Pines” and also of the Bunyan-esque salaries teachers commanded.

He enrolled at Bemidji State and, after taking several aptitude tests, found that he might be quite apt at physical education.

Jolly (Erickson, the football coach) found Paul was a natural at running with the ball and put him on the offensive platoon since opposing players found it quite easy to run between Paul’s legs. Seems that Paul’s cardiovascular wasn’t up to snuff. When Paul toted the pigskin, the other 10 players’ sole duty was to blow a whistle in order that no one was trampled when Paul took one gigantic step in scoring a touchdown.

Despite his prowess in football, Paul became a problem since he could never remember in which direction to step when carrying the ball and often scored safeties for opposing squads.

The state board was in a dither since Paul’s football cleats dug into the turf so badly that he drained off Lake Bemidji into the Stadium. Dr. (C.V.) Hobson (a geography professor and conservationist) was particularly agitated because this destroyed a wild game refuge and he promptly flunked Paul in orientation.

Paul had trouble in Communications from Miss Kelly too. He had trimmed down a pine tree to use as a pencil and used up all the paper in International Falls in writing his biographical memoir. Miss Kelly wore herself out reading Paul’s manuscript since it took her four weeks to run from one page to another. Despite Paul’s efforts, Miss Kelly was forced to give him an E since Paul had only 499 words instead of the required 500.

Troubles built up for Paul in Dr. (Harold) Hagg’s world history class in a different manner. He had neglected to bring his winter woolies with him and caught a very bad cold. One day, when Dr. Hagg was explaining the bourgeoisie, Paul sneezed and blew the entire class into Lake Irving. As rescue boats picked up the survivors, Dr. Hagg observed, “Well, Paul’s the only student who keeps my classes from being dry.”

The science department’s budget was completely upset when Dr. (Harold) Peters was obliged to construct a three-story microscore in order to show Paul a germ. Unfortunately, C.O. Johnson declared the contraption a fire hazard since its reflection from the sun turned Bemidji into a tropical paradise in the middle of January.

Paul was quite active in extracurricular activities on the Bemidji campus. He joined the Footlight Guild in order to become better acquainted with the theatre. Mr. (Earle) Winters cast him in the lead role of “MacBunyan” or “Little Corns Into Great Bunyans Grow.” Needless to say, Paul’s theatrical debut was a smash.

Paul’s college career came to a sad end when he began his student teaching. While supervising a game of baseball, a little tyke became sorely affronted on a close decision at third. Paul removed little Abner Doubleday from the game by gently belting him to the top of the stadium.

Dauntless little Abner retaliated by plunking Paul in the middle of his forehead with a size 10 guided missile type aggie, fired from his slingshot.

Paul was asked to leave school after this episode since he had not lived up to the teaching principle of motivating students. Alas poor Paul; the saddest words are, it might have been Bena Teach instead of Bemidji.