MIT has been called the center of a lot of things. In the 1970s, the New York Times recalled its history as a center of military research. The Chicago Tribune speculated about it being the next center of economic thought in the 80s, and in the 90s, another Times article referenced it as the center of computer science. Nobody ever mentioned that MIT was also once the center of winking, until recently.
An interview in the San Diego Reader with alumnus Rick Tucker ’80 reveals that MIT was considered the center of winking, or tiddlywinking, about 35 years ago.
As Tucker tells it, “There have been a number of starts and stops, but in terms of MIT, there were two people who started tiddlywinks. One went to Cornell and one went to MIT. The Cornell player, Severin Drix, found a tiddlywinks set in a box of Trix cereal. The enduring team at MIT started in 1966 with Ferd Wulkan, who was Severin Drix’s friend. They decided to form teams and compete against each other.”
Maybe it sounds trite, but there is a fair amount of strategy involved in Tiddlywinks—as well as a colorful lexicon. Remember what winks, squopping, and boondocking means? (If you don’t, you can look it up here.)