It's apparently a bit too easy to get into the University of Calgary. Our slack-assed, come-one-come-all 100-per-cent-apathy-or-your-money-back philosophy makes it possible for any half-witted, bucktoothed, slack-jawed ninny to grace the crumbling halls of our fine insitution.
A surprise fire drill Monday morning demonstrated that among the otherwise splendid specimens of screwups, there exists a rare breed of individuals possessed by the belief that they are inflammable. While the population of MacEwan Hall poured grudgingly outside to stand around in small circles and engage in routine grumbles about the interruption, a source of amusement presented itself. Every 10 seconds, a U of C scholar traipsed through the crowd while bestowing puzzled, disapproving scowls on the seething herds and then apparently--without pausing to consider the reason for the sudden increase in loiterers--marched into the building that just might be on fire.
Every person watching the determined stride and observing the I've-got-places-to-be-out-of-my-way-you-twits glower of these brave but stupid soldiers was rewarded with giggles. Each and every one got precisely two steps into the building before executing a most undignified and precipitous retreat. Ah, sweet validation.
After four years of wading through hallways up to my nose in the reek and flow of frosh students pacing one foot at a time through their schedules, I am a tremendous fan of critical thought and a little initiative. I genuinely applaud the motivation of these little caravans of intrepid explorers who take it upon themselves to figure out what the hell is going on. I hesitate to ruthlessly quash this inquisitive spirit.
I only hesitate for a millisecond.
No matter how different, fearless or gung-ho one's spirit is, it does not make one inflammable. The lack of critical thinking displayed by the troopers seeking truth is truly dismaying.
Did they think there had been an overnight explosion in the campus population of smokers? Did they think all those people were standing around for the sheer joy of standing around? Did it not cross their mind to pause and ask one of the people that was just standing--not talking, smoking, dancing or juggling--"what's going on? Why are you just standing there?"
It wasn't a new form of meditation, peaceful protest or a lineup for the Cove's delectable new lychee flavoured slurpees. It simply never crossed anyone's mind who plough-ed into Mac Hall to stop, assess the situation and think something wasn't quite right. And so those intrepid little lemmings wandered up to the glass doors and pulled them open, only to be assailed by a synthetic wail informing them of their brute stupidity.
Yes, I stood outside with friends and co-workers and giggled at each hapless wanderer who backed out of Mac Hall with a sheepish "boy, am I ever dumb" look on their face. Yet inwardly, I wept. I wept for the lack of insight, analytical skills and the death of intelligent perception that I witnessed standing outside Mac Hall that Monday morning. I wept for the mind-numbing workload that university apparently imposes on some individuals to the extent they cannot perceive and appropriately respond to their situation. Most of all, I wept for the dimwits who, boasting a university education, in the interest of showing how ballsy and groundbreaking they are, would stride confidently into a burning building.
Ruth Davenport can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.