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Life Demands More Irrational Behavior

Column by Anders Hove
Executive Editor

The last few weeks of this term have brought many things to a conclusion in my life. My thesis is signed, and I turned in my last paper as an undergraduate. I'm no longer involved in any student government or committee. Finally, the words and pictures on this page were the last I edited as opinion editor - I'm happy to announce that A. Arif Husain '97 will take charge with the next issue.

I am not sure whether the feelings that I have over everything ending are the same as others. Certainly each person's experience is unique. The first thing I felt after turning in my thesis was exhaustion. Next I felt bored, and then lonely. Of course, during the three or four weeks I spent chemically bonded to a chair in my department's computer cluster, I had built up a lot of expectations about what would happen when I finished - expectations I could never live up to. But optimistic expectations can't explain the ambivalence I felt this weekend.

This photograph gives some idea of what I would like to do. It was taken in our sister city, Cambridge, England. Those two buildings in the background are part of Trinity College and St. John's college, two of Britain's great elite institutions. The two bikes in front? Their arrangement has no good explanation. Probably some crazy person like myself, in a fit of internal discord, stuck them up in on that fence in front of the venerable institutions just to confound and inspire the world. That was nice of them, and it sure makes an interesting photo.

The photographer, Gbor Csnyi G, thinks some drunk people put them up there. He also says bikes get wrecked along this particular street every Friday and Saturday night. What a waste.

It bothers me how people blame every creative or weird thing on drunk students. Would it throw the world into disorder if we discovered that sober people are sometimes infected with irrational or incongruous instincts? Indeed, most people can be wonderfully interesting, exciting, and funny without inebriation. The fact that they can is not so much an argument for temperance as it is a threat - a threat to those who live in calm and collected worlds like Cambridge. Sometimes I wish these staid, humorless people would emigrate to Canada. On other days, I worry that people would deport me with them.

I suppose the need for creative anachronism is what drives a lot of the greasy brand of weirdness we see on this campus. Hackers, assassins, and other so-called twinks have rediscovered their animal instincts at MIT, to the great chagrin of majority opinion.

A better example might be how a group of my friends went in for piercings recently. Maybe that's not so much weird as cool. But to some people navel rings are still an aspect of the bizarre, and I hope their exposure to my friends will heighten their appreciation of weirdness in the future.

To understand my point, take a look at the sky right now. If the weather over the past few nights is any guide, I'm willing to bet the sky is filled with a fog of dreary translucent grey. Or maybe the overcast skies have given way to the cloudless blue of summer. Cloudy or clear, the weather usually bores people to tears around here. As I write this, however, the sky is filled with all sorts of bizarre color. The sky is dotted with orange man-of-war clouds - brave-hearted ships at sea among the menacingly dark shoals of black clouds to the east. Just minutes ago, the two cloudy fleets exchanged a murderous cannonade of rainbows. No casualties reported.

When these kinds of beauty are too common, we take them for granted. But beauty is so rare here that many won't recognize it when they see it. Similarly, many can't appreciate the bizarre. They attribute it to drunks.

I don't plan to smash any bikes when I graduate. But I do hope to make life warmer and more interesting than the weather around here.