• U.S.

Education: Hanker to Hunker?

2 minute read

To last year’s campus craze for stuffing people into telephone booths, the University of Arkansas last week added a saner fad: “hunkerin.” It means squatting on the balls of the feet for a long time (hunkers is Scottish for haunches). The fad grew out of a chair shortage in a fraternity house at Arkansas, whose students had watched their Ozark daddies squatting and whittling at crossroads stores. Hunkerers always hunker together, and girl hunkerers are perfectly eligible. Sophisticates hunker flatfooted. Real progressives hunker with elbows inside the knees, though this is difficult while “hunkerin’ and hookin’ ” (squatting and drinking beer). Hunkerin’ is not likely to be confined to Arkansas. Arkansas travelers have already exported it to campuses in Missouri, Mississippi and Oklahoma. Competitions are under way.

Hunkerers feel that their position offers splendid perspective on lofty problems. They urge steel-strike negotiators to hunker awhile, envision Eisenhower and Khrushchev hunkerin’ at the summit. “This is a peaceful thing,” one hunkerer says. “A respite from a world of turmoil. The main purpose of hunkerin’ is to get down and hunker together. It’s a friendship thing: get your friends to hunker with you. The man you don’t know is the man you haven’t hunkered with.”

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