Decorating my dorm room poses a peculiar problem. On the one hand, I don’t trust myself to nail anything to the wall that won’t bleed. On the other, the surfaces in my dorm, for some cosmic reason, are incompatible with duct tape and render it completely unsticky — which, if what you’re trying to hang is a) above your head, and b) heavy, is bad.
So, as I stare blankly at the walls staring blankly back at me, what are you to do if you want to ensure that any faces you see in the walls are not stress-related hallucinations? I’ve still got that framed New Yorker cover with the Mobius strip hanging by my desk, but when I’ve been attempting instantaneous-forehead-information-osmosis (also known as “headbashing the pset”), watching little stick figures walk around and around in an infinite journey of symbolic futility doesn’t help my mood any. I could always just use more duct tape, but somehow, that solution seems to lack a certain elegance that MIT problem solving should embody.
One option for dorm room decoration is to decorate through lighting modifications. Aside from being highly functional, on the off-chance that your room’s shape isn’t conducive to full-coverage ceiling lighting (like mine), it also provides an excellent opportunity to make a statement. Such statements include “I have no regard for the maximum recommended safe wattage for a household outlet,” and “fire alarms will be going off within 30 seconds of me flipping this switch.” Nothing says “nerd” and “safety hazard” at the same time better than a Jacob’s ladder sizzling and buzzing in the corner (from Martha Stewart’s Mad Scientist collection). My roommate, to his credit, prefers low-power, low-heat LEDs that pulsate blue and green in our foyer, legitimizing the radiation symbol on our door’s dry-erase board.
Another option, for the artistically-inclined among you, would be to use paint as opposed to wall-hangings. Infinite, cylindrical-shaped rooms excepted, painting the interior of a room is generally fairly straightforward, whether you’re seeking a flat color change or hoping to channel your inner muralist. Of course, painting does not lend itself to spur-of-the-moment decisions to slap something on the wall — sticks of dynamite in paint cans, though doubtlessly entertaining, probably would be frowned upon by neighbors and administrators alike. If a person wants to paint their room, they make a day of it — invite friends, bring food, charge money to let them paint the number “7” around your room, all that stuff. For someone who procrastinates as much as I do, I don’t know if I’d be able to plan well enough to give my room a new paint job.
Now that I think about it, maybe I should just stick to what I know — the art of alternative adhesive. If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some redecorating to do. The Tech recently got rid of a “Good Will Hunting” poster, and I don’t have enough duct tape to laminate it. Now where’d that chewing gum get to?