I’d like to talk to you kids today about boredom.
It can grip you at your very soul and take away your will to live. Now I’m not referring to that prissy French kind, ennui, or the malaise that only geniuses possess and the insane lament. We’re Americans, dammit, so I don’t want to hear anyone whining about existential angst either; go shave that crappy goatee off and put some color in your wardrobe.
I am talking about the kind of boredom that creeps up on you when you wake up to realize that you have been drawing on your sneaker for the last 10 minutes. This kind of boredom leads you to watch the secondhand on the clock move slowly round and round, click, click, click. Huh, where was I? Oh yeah. Boredom that makes you watch the Tom Green show because there is nothing else to watch, and you lack the will to get off the couch.
Boredom strikes every one of us in our classes here at GW. Don’t try to deny it – I’ve seen all of your eyes drooping at one time or another. Boredom is that special feeling you get when you are sitting in your poli sci 2 lecture in Lisner 108. Finding that you have gotten as many of the answers to the crossword puzzle as you can, and the guy next to you can’t even figure out the six-letter word for happiness that ends with “y,” you realize you already skimmed through the articles on the front page, wondering who thought that you would find them interesting (oops, better take that out before I submit this). Boredom then leads you to ponder why in the hell you decided to major in politics anyway when your previous political experiences were organizing a spring dance and a bake sale as class president back in high school.
What is the cause of this boredom? I think we all know, I just can’t say it here because I’m a student too, and I don’t want to alienate my professors. Not that I’m saying anything they do has anything to do with boredom. I’m sure the boredom in our classes is glandular or perhaps caused by the phases of the moon. Or maybe it was too much “Sesame Street” when we were little.
Heck, there are lots of things that cause boredom besides boring professors (oops, better take that out too). Waiting in line has to be the worst of all boredom-inducing activities. The Department of Motor Vehicles, grocery store check-outs, movie tickets – oh, don’t even get me started on those “Phantom Menace” people.
GW puts all of these lines to shame. Our fine institution has lines down to a science. So-called “fast food” at J Street makes plate tectonics seem to be hurtling dangerously out of control. The bookstore lines at the beginning of the semester are reminiscent of Russian bread lines at the height of the Cold War.
So what are we to do about boredom? Simply allow our eyes to become glassy while we wait like sheep contentedly chewing our cud? Or can we rage against the long lectures of introductory classes, defy those lines that stretch into infinity as if out of The Phantom Tollbooth? This being GW, I’m guessing there won’t be any raging. Too many students are planning for futures in government or big business. And GW’s lecture halls and lines are too good of a preparation for board meetings and federal “efficiency.” No, GW is more a vision of things to come in our imminent Orwellian future dominated by Microsoft, Coke, and the United Nations.
Boredom is a plague that will continue to, um, plague mankind. Perhaps the only solace is in the words of Jean-Paul Sartre, who said, “J’aime faire amour avec les poules.”