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Cost of renovations high

When I first heard about the renovations that were going to be needed in the Institute, I was outraged. I couldn't believe that the administration would allow such a huge amount of money to go toward a cosmetic renovation in the Institute.

I immediately went down to see my friend Dean Babble in the Office for the Perpetual Confusion of Students (OPCS). The dean was a little surprised to see me.

"Come in, Bill," he began cordially as I entered his office. "What can I do for you?"

"Well," I began, "I want to know more about the renovations which are being planned in the Institute's main buildings. Things are already so expensive here, I certainly hope that the changes aren't going to cost a lot of money."

The dean looked confused, so I tried to explain myself further. However, he still didn't seem to understand what I was talking about. "I don't recall any discussion about improvements in the main Institute buildings. Are you talking about maintenance work? You know, repainting walls and the like?"

I assured him I wasn't. "I mean major changes."

"No," he replied, "I'm sure I would've heard about any large-scale facelifts in the Institute."

"But dean," I insisted, "It's been all over the papers every day! All the radio stations and TV stations have been talking about it."

"Of course they have," he answered gently as he reached soothingly for a phone to send for a medical team to restrain me. "I read every day in the major papers about building renovations in the Institute."

He quietly asked me to remain calm and seated while we waited for the men to come take me away, but I bolted from the office before he could tie me down.

I knew I wasn't crazy. I knew that I had seen that the Institute was going to need to undergo a facelift very soon. However, nobody seemed to understand what I was talking about.

I went to see Bert, my friendly graduate tutor. Bert is usually quite knowledgable when it comes to matters of the Institute. "Bert," I said, "tell me what you think of the renovations in the Institute."

"Huh?" replied Bert.

"Well, didn't you hear? The Institute is going to spend lots and lots of money on a cosmetic change."

"No. Tell me what you've heard."

So I relayed to Bert everything I had heard about cosmetic changes in the Institute. I was a bit surprised that he hadn't heard anything about it. In fact, I was beginning to wonder if I was a little insane. If Bert didn't know about it, then who did?

I painstakingly explained to Bert how I had figured out about the necessary renovations to the Institute. I told him about the massive amounts of money that were going to be spent. I described for him the extensive cosmetic changes that current events were going to require.

Bert, who has been involved with Course 6 at MIT for almost nine years now, couldn't comprehend the reality of what I was saying and went back to his room to play with circuits or something.

Finally, on the verge of insanity, I called Nightline. Nightline knows everything. I dialed with apprehension.

"Hello, Nightline," the voice said. "Would you like to speak to a male or female staffer?"

"It's a pretty androgynous question," I answered. "I just want to know about the renovations in the Institute."

"Renovations? What do you mean?"

That's it. If Nightline didn't know, I must be going insane. How could I explain what I meant? "Look," I said, "I'm going around in circles here. Haven't you heard about the face lift that's going to be required in Lobby 10?"

"Lobby 10? No, I'm sorry, I haven't heard anything about it. If you'd care to hold, I can look some things up for you."

"No thanks," I said, defeated. "I give up." I placed the receiver on the cradle.

I guess nobody sees that renovations are going to be necessary besides me. Readers? Do you see what I'm talking about? Do you know how much these renovations are going to cost us?

No, you probably don't. The renovations I'm talking about are going to be in Lobby 10. We're going to need to put up a new wall. We're going to need to list all the MIT people who are going to die in this Middle East war -- the one into which the United States appears to be heading.

We already have one list for WWI, another for WWII, a third for Korea, and a fourth for Vietnam. Can you imagine the cost of having to put up another such list for Iraq? I'm not talking about monetary cost.

If you walk through Lobby 10 today, look up. Read the lists you'll see. Count the names. Imagine that number of your friends. Now imagine them dead.

Maybe you haven't thought about it that way yet. Well, that's where things are going in the world, and by the time you have to think of it that way, it may be too late.

Damn. I hate it when things get serious.


Bill Jackson '93 writes stuff for the Tech.