Lena Leavitt is a first-year who has not yet declared a major. Lena can be reached at [email protected]

Little Bit of History Repeating: Hawaiian pizza

Only a creature as invasive and unnatural as the human being could have set off the string of events required to invent such a dish.

Little Bit of History Repeating: OK

It’s short. It’s elegant. It generally affirms. It’s recognizable in almost any language. But what does “OK” even mean?

Little Bit of History Repeating: Lenny Bruce

No subjects were off-limits for Bruce's honest, off-the-cuff observations and social commentary, including “taboo” topics like politics, religion, race, sex and drugs (average fare for comedians now).

Little Bit of History Repeating: Voting by mail

The year was 1864. Soldiers needed a way to get their votes counted as the Civil War raged. For the first time, Americans began voting absentee on a large scale.

Little Bit of History Repeating: Gravestone depictions

Strolling along any old New England cemetery (as one does), you’ll most likely find gravestones with winged skulls curling across their crests. I remember staring at these “Death’s Heads” for too long during elementary school field trips to Boston’s Granary Burying Ground: their hollow eyes and teeth in a row, wings unfurled in cracked yet perfect symmetry. There’s a stark blankness to their gaze, a tiredness in the curved shape where their noses would be. 

Little Bit of History Repeating: Salmon sushi

Salmon sushi did not exist before the 1990s, and no one told me. I have been taking its “authenticity” (whatever that means) as a Japanese dish for granted, when really we have Norway’s ridiculous persistence to thank for its creation.

Little Bit of History Repeating: Chinatown

In 2014, a tour guide berated San Francisco’s Chinatown streets: “Here in America we don’t eat turtles and frogs...when you come to America you've got to assimilate a little bit.” The irony is palpable, considering that Chinatowns were created precisely because racist legislation made assimilation impossible for Asian Americans.

Little Bit of History Repeating: Dr. Hilton’s Specific No. 3

In 1916, the people of Boston found out, much to their chagrin, that the beloved sugary pill they had been taking for two decades to break colds and prevent pneumonia was, in fact, just that — sugar, with a little alcohol coated over it.