My night with Blueno: a first-year’s folly


As we all know, Blueno the Bear has been fenced off for weeks now.  The rise of the #FreeBlueno movement came and went, and still our big blue bear is cordoned off. There have been a rash of theories about why this is. Is Blueno damaged? Is he just angry with us, and in need of a little alone time? First-year J thinks he knows why.  After all, he’s better acquainted with the bear than most: he climbed it with a couple of friends one night, and not all of them made it back down so easily.

So J, tell me about how all this happened.  When was this bear climbing incident?

It was September 21st. It was a weekday, back when I was getting away with going out on weekdays.

And what happened?

I was with one of my good buddies, just hanging out on Pembroke. We met up with a couple of other guys and drank a little. Not too much, it wasn’t really a “drinking night,” you know? Just enough to get a little buzzed. As we’re all sort of sitting around, another kid, who I didn’t really know that well at the time, walks in. Let’s call him T. T says that he hasn’t been drunk in a while, and so he downs six or seven shots in like fifteen minutes. Obviously, he’s pretty trashed.

So what happened then?

Well, as we’re walking back towards the Keeney side of campus, I get a great idea. Why don’t we climb the bear?


And you did?

Yeah, we did! I get up, my other buddies get up, and T, somehow, gets up. There are about five of us up on Blueno’s head, about as many as would fit, and of course we take a Snapchat. Like, “Look where we are!” It’s pretty cool.

I have a feeling it doesn’t stay quite so cool.

Yeah, you’d be right there. A few minutes later, some security guards are walking by, and they start yelling at us to come down. The whole “you rotten kids” routine. Anyway, T is still up there with us, and he’s still incredibly drunk, so I think this kind of scares him. We all start trying to get down as fast as we can, and T, he just biffs it. As he’s trying to get off the head, I just see him sort of fall out of my sight, just like that. Then there’s a thud, and a moan.

Oh my God.  Was he alright?

We didn’t think so, at first. I get down as fast as possible, and I see T passed out, completely unconscious in between the bear’s legs. A couple of the guys bolt, since we’d been drinking and they didn’t want to get in trouble. But me and two friends stayed just to make sure he was OK. The security guards run over, saying, “I can’t believe that just happened. That was awful, he hit his head so hard.”

On the ground?

No, he actually hit his head on the leg of the bear on the way down.

And did he wake up?

Well, security kept trying to slap him a little, talk to him, get him to respond. But he’s completely unresponsive, and I’d never seen anything like this. The whole time I was thinking, “Oh my God, is he in a coma?  Or….”  But the security guards call EMS, and they show up in about 15 minutes. When they see him, they immediately start prepping to bring him to the hospital. Just as they’re about to put him on a stretcher, T sort of opens his eyes, makes a tiny little sound. They get him to try and move, which he can’t, but he can move his fingers, and from that they think he’s going to be alright.

How is he doing now?

T’s doing pretty well!  He has a pretty serious concussion, but no broken bones, nothing like that! Pretty lucky, all things considered.

And would you recommend the experience to other Brown students?

It was pretty cool. It’s a shame someone got hurt, but I think that had a lot to do with how drunk he was.  Honestly, it was a pretty easy climb both up and down. So maybe do it when you’re not super drunk?

So tell me, are you the reason for Blueno’s imprisonment?

Well…I think so. But I think it’s less because someone got hurt and they don’t want anyone climbing for that reason, and more because all of our footprints got on it and we could damage the art.

…The art?

Yeah, I like Blueno! I mean, I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but I like art that’s different. It evokes an opinion, right? Isn’t that the point of art? Some people think it’s ugly, but I think it’s…special…I feel like there’s some hidden meaning in it.


Oh, this I must hear.  Tell me, as one who knows Blueno well, about this meaning.

Oh, God.  Well, you’ve got this slumpy, sort of depressed bear. And I guess the thing coming out of its head…I mean, maybe it speaks to like the drain of college life and work, because it’s got the study lamp, you know?  And yet its energy is so lethargic. That’s one interpretation.

Some people say that you can get inside Blueno pretty easily, and that—

Yeah, I’ve heard people are having sex inside him.

Is that something on your bucket list?

I think my relationship with Blueno…it’s not meant to be physical. We’re going to have to be friends from afar, I think.

Last question, anything else on campus you’re interested in climbing?

I mean, I see people climbing the smaller bears, but that might be a little junior for me after this. If there was a way to safely climb, like, Sayles, I’d love to be able to do that.

Thanks for talking to me, J.  And you saw it here first, readers, keep a lookout for J on other buildings around campus!


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