Friends and strangers alike often come to me for advice. This morning for instance, a troubled gentleman who I had never spoken to before, called my room at 8 a.m. He said, “My name is Charlie from Vintage Foods. I’m here to fill your vending machine.” Needless to say, I have no vending machine. Charlie was in trouble, and he needed my help.
People sense my clairvoyance and keen detection skills. They seek them out. In ancient times I would have been called a sage, provided with all I needed and revered as a prophet. As it is, I am given 700 words every other week. So, I must choose my battles, select my words and write what will serve the greatest good. I survey current affairs diligently and listen to the concerns of my peers – all the time searching for that one loudest cry.
As of press time, strange things were afoot in the realm of international politics. The Chinese government held 24 American spies in prison. Of course, I have always said the problem with spying on China is an hour later you want to spy again.
But I digress. Like Charlie from Vintage Foods, GW is in trouble.
There is no doubt that spring has arrived. We see the signs of the season all around. The $110 million Boston Red Sox are losing games to the Orioles. Daylight-saving time has ended. Tourists flood the D.C. area. Here on campus spring has always been signaled by the smell of cherry blossoms and discontent mixing and aromatically providing the ether, in which all our warm-weather activities propagate. Last spring we had the IMF demonstrations. Two years ago, tent cities filled our green spaces as destitute adjunct professors decried their lot and traded Ph.Ds for food. This spring has been no different. Anti-sweatshop protests rage clogging major campus arteries and causing untold destruction. SJT becomes our own personal Kathie Lee.
Spring is not the problem. Nor are these botanical and activist activities. Such things only provide a backdrop. My concern is with students who come to me saying, “Geepers, I lack the motivation to complete the tasks assigned me. I am affected in a strange way by the long daylight hours and warm temperatures. They excite in me a primal urge to catch and throw Frisbees while sipping a refreshing iced-coffee drink.”
As we hurtle toward the solstice, Ray-Ban and tank-top clad, our normal activities become torturous. It is a well-documented condition and commonly referred to as “spring fever.” Generous estimates suggest that it is currently effecting over 90 percent of GW students. Most students battle against the condition’s powerful effects. They attend classes, write papers, take exams and do experiments. These measures are venerable but ultimately futile. For this reason, I developed and perfected a way to deal with spring fever. It is simple, fast and ultimately very rewarding. When you feel compelled to not do something, act on that impulse. It is as simple as that. This method works.
I will give you an example. Last week, I woke up and put two waffles in the toaster and activated the device. Several moments later I retrieved the waffles, finding that each had been completely burned on one side while the other side remained totally frozen. I ate them anyway. So you see, it is that simple. Let the fever take hold. Let the remaining days of the semester slide out of your mind like so many East Asian seven-year-olds fashioning GW do-dads and knickknacks.
As I am prone to do, I went looking for SJT to ask his opinion about this springtime nihilism sweeping GW. Unable to reach him, I decided to invent an over-the-top situation where I ask him a question and he responds with some piece of obscure dialogue.
So, I caught up with SJT at 40,000 feet in his new home, a jumbo jet constantly refueling in the air and circling the globe. I asked him about the nihilistic tendencies of students around this time of year and he had this to say: “Say what you will about the tenets of national socialism, Mr. Olsen. At least it’s an ethos.”