The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 67.0°F | Mostly Cloudy

Stupid answers to questiosn stupid people ask

You've been waiting for it, so here it is. The Tech's all new, completely tested, wonderfully brilliant Guide to Answering Stupid Questions People Will Ask You About MIT. We all hear stupid questions, but the key to handling them is to answer them in a way that will blow the stupid person's mind. In short, stupid questions deserve stupid answers. This guide is designed to help you field the most common questions.

No guarantees, implied or otherwise, come with this guide. It is provided as a free service by The Tech. No part may

be duplicated, rebroadcasted, copied, or quoted without the express written consent of The Tech, John Deutch, Art Buchwald, the Cleveland Indians, the Detroit Tigers, and Major League Baseball. Note: concept created by a chance meeting with a bunch of Harvard people I know.

The first question is a time-tested standard: Do you have time to do anything but study?

Proper Answer: Actually, (insert name of stupid person here), it's not really a question of having the time. It's a question of whether or not we can gain permission to do anything but study. A grant to have fun is occasionally given to enterprising undergraduates who can invent a new and technologically exciting way to do it.

In order to be allowed to have fun, we must gain the signatures of half of our classmates, our advisor, three graduate residents (only two of whom can live in the same living group), and Dr. Ruth Westheimer. We then submit these signatures and a Fun Proposal Form to COFFEE (The Committee On Free Fun and Exciting Entertainment) and hope for permission.

With a well-written proposal, your chances are still slim, but just last year, one sophomore was granted permission to square dance in a cafeteria and a junior was allowed to put up a humorous picture of a bulldog in his room. But I suppose you probably have a similar system at (insert name of stupid person's college here).

Question 2: What's the sex ratio at MIT?

Proper Answer: Thirty-three percent of us have sex, 67 percent of us don't.

The third question has actually been asked of people: MIT? Oh, that's in Michigan, right?

Proper Answer: Michigan? MIT in Michigan? Where have you been? It's in MONTANA! Get with it! Montana Institute of Truck driving! You're not too quick, are you? MIT is the finest institution for hopeful future all-night truck drivers in the entire country.

Say, while we're talking, I've been meaning to invite you up to see me. Yeah, up in Montana. Listen, just take (insert road-to-nowhere highway here) to Exit 19. Then turn left at the third McDonald's you see and stay on that road until you see a sign that says "Lemonade 10|c." Take that left and my dorm is the third building on the right. I'm in room 2C. I'll meet you there.

Question 4: Is MIT hard?

Proper Answer: No, not at all. In fact, the entire place is made out of soft, pliable materials which make it easy to mold and redesign year after year.

Question 5: Is the campus safe?

Proper Answer: Sure. I feel completely safe walking back to my living group along Memorial Drive at three in the morning. And you get used to the weight of the gun around your hip pretty quickly. Also, while I didn't like Bubba very much at first, he's turned out to be a fine bodyguard as well as good company. In fact, he has even helped me on a problem set or two. Not that he knew the answers or anything, but his chats with my professors improved my grades considerably.

Also, we know that the Institute is behind our safety at all times. For example, take the new policy of locking the gate around Briggs Field. According to official Institute signs, this policy is "For your safety." And I have no doubt that it's for our safety. It's to protect us from that evil emergency phone on the other side of the fence.

If one of us sees that he or she is going to be raped or mugged, we climb over the fence and have it done there. After all, if one of us were attacked on the wrong side of the fence (i. e., the side we should be walking on) we'd never reach the emergency phone. Well, OK, maybe that policy isn't quite for our safety, but we do help pay for the grass that they're keeping us from walking on, so at least our investment is protected.

In short, yes, our campus is very safe

. . . for grass.

Question 6: How's the food?

Proper Answer: (Long, prolonged, evil laughter. Snickering. Amused smirk. More laughter.) Well, (more laughter) um, MIT Food Service (tremendous grin), they -- um -- they keep us fed, I guess. (Hearty guffaws.)

Question 7: So, you're into science and technology and all that stuff, huh?

Proper Answer: No, no. I'm into song and dance. It's my understanding that most broadway directors scout MIT looking for the next Debbie Reynolds or Robert Preston. My senior thesis will be

on "Applications of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the Grand Finale of Meet Me In St. Louis."

No, I'm being too facetious. Actually, I'm studying truck driving.

So there you have it. Armed with this guide, you are ready to take on most of the questions people will ask you about MIT. Good luck and keep on truckin'.


Sophomore Tech columnist Bill Jackson has never been to Montana and is sure that it is a fine, wholesome, exciting state in which to live. Please, no hate mail.

It's my understanding that most broadway directors scout MIT looking for the next Debbie Reynolds or Robert Preston.