Elmore’s Fables

| November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

(1) The Tale of the Three Roommates

photo credit: invalidresponse Pregame via photopin (license)

photo credit: invalidresponse Pregame via photopin (license)

Once upon a time, there lived three college roommates: a freshman, a sophomore, and a junior.

The freshman was every bit as fresh as his title implies, and every bit as bold as the title page of all his papers. In addition to his four classes, he had signed up for several clubs, many of which he did not even fully understand (but he liked the free pizza they would give out). Because of his busy schedule, the freshman was out almost all the time. He wanted the full college experience, and he wanted to be out there, and he wanted to be like his sophomore buddy roomie.

Jaded and broken after his own experience as a freshman, the sophomore was in a mentally different place than his “roomie” perceived. He had cut back significantly on all his commitments. Even then, he was still serious enough about his work to go to class and/or eat three meals a day, most of the time. He resented his perky younger roommate and his can-do attitude, and secretly looked up to his older one…

But this admiration went unnoticed by the junior, who was exhausted by college at this point. He had grown to resent the administration. He had grown to hate “general education requirements,” whatever that meant. He had become vegan and was boycotting the dining halls, finding the limited options to be as distasteful as it was wasteful. He skipped classes and stayed home almost all the time. And he liked being alone, which was why he was fond of his freshman roommate. The boy was always out for enough hours of the day that he had space.

But concerns struck all around when the time came to sign up for next year’s housing. Each of the three roommates scored doubles, but none were eager to share with strangers or to potentially jeopardize relationships with other friends. And so, the freshman named his preferred roommate as the sophomore, hoping to avoid the junior and his sloppy habits. The sophomore named his as the junior, seeking an environment with fewer alarms going off throughout the day. And the junior named his as the freshman, sick of the sophomore’s constant attempts to integrate into his circle. They each did so secretly.

And so the housing department, confused, re-assigned them to their old triple so they would once more be tied to one another. And although they accepted the decision, not one did so without letting out a groan. And not one moved in the next year without a “roomie” in mind to blame for the fiasco.

Moral: He who communes with roommates, must also communicate with roommates.

(2) Alexis Takes a Risk

photo credit: francisco_osorio University Life 294 via photopin (license)

photo credit: francisco_osorio University Life 294 via photopin (license)

Once there were two juniors, Alexis and Jean. Alexis was an introvert: shy, sheltered, and cautious. Jean, on the other hand, was friendly and outgoing. She considered herself a party animal, and most of her friends were inclined to agree. Even those who did not like her as much acknowledged she was some sort of animal, party or not.

Consequently, Jean had good relations with her professors, her TAs, and the people in admissions. Alexis did not. She kept to herself and mainly worked on independent projects, something her friend Jean made fun of her for. And that was exactly what she was doing one day when they walked into the dining hall together. Annoyed, Alexis looked off into the distance – and it was then that someone caught her eye.

‘Free candy? Come here, we have free candy!’

‘I mean, if you never put yourself out th- Alex? Alex! Don’t go there, those things are scams!’

Jean’s words went unheard, however, for Alexis had already stormed off to meet the blonde girl in the purple jacket handing out free candy. She smiled warmly and accepted, and was immediately asked:

‘So we’re looking for interns to come work for us at RENew, a Boston-based community service NGO. Are you interested in applying?’

She looked back over her shoulder at Jean, who shook her head frantically, signaling no, don’t do it!

And then she turned right on back, smiled, and said ‘Yes. Where do I sign up?’

And when her application was accepted the following month and she went on to become a spectacular intern, Alexis found herself driving back to campus every week with a smile on her face, and plenty of things to tease her exasperated (yet proud) friend Jean about.

Moral: In college, always accept candy from strangers.


(3) The President’s New Office Space

photo credit: Steve Rhodes Paying the Ad Hoc bill via photopin (license)

photo credit: Steve Rhodes Paying the Ad Hoc bill via photopin (license)

There was once a president of a prestigious college, who raised tuition every year like some kind of tax on knowledge. His students went broke and their debts started to rise, and to make peace their president sent out e-mails to apologize. “I’m sorry, we had no choice!” he would always say, before logging his 9-5 for that Wednesday. The adjuncts were still underpaid and the tenured got no raise, but the president marked their messages as spam alongside those of his college’s RAs.

But when later on his subjects got e-mails asking for donations, students and staff together rallied “This is too much, it’s already thrice the rate of inflation!” And knowing their complaints would fall on deaf ears, they colluded together to find a way to make their message clear.

And so the students and the professors and the admissions offices all, pooled their money together to donate a new office with glass walls. The president was elated for he had a new place to work, one made of expensive crystal to separate him from the average working class clerk. But little did he know the crystal was a lie, it was just plain old glass his subjects had put together so they could spy. And the president being the gullible materialist he was, had pretended to know of the Non-Transparent Crystal geologists claimed had no flaws. “Very happy to have an office made of the stuff!” he had flaunted, to many a reporter who had stared back confused and daunted.

And as he lounged about counting his bills in his underwear, all the world could see him, half-naked and bare. They saw him lock his safe and they saw his combination, and at night they snuck in and made off with some “generous donations.” And the president, for he had lost count of his money, never did notice that something was funny. And more than any display of any ridiculous deed, what the glass wall revealed to all was his incurable, unethical, selfish greed.

Moral: As with anywhere else in life, don’t be greedy.

Featured photo credit: invalidresponse Pregame via photopin (license)

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Category: Art and Literature, Campus Culture, featured, Poetry, Prose and Comedy

Aaraf Afzal

About the Author ()

Aaraf Afzal is many things, but he's not particularly good at being any of them. He continues to work towards this goal, among others, studying Film & TV and Economics at Boston University. An avid subscriber to the belief that all forms of media have their own sense of artistic beauty, he is particularly invested in writing fiction and recently released his first novel "Re: Revolution" in Bangladesh. Alongside his pursuits at Culture Shock, he's currently at work writing an online series called "The Chosen Zeroes." Fandoms and inspirations include Neil Gaiman, Kingdom Hearts, Ratchet and Clank, Marvel Comics, and Culture Shock. Giggity.

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