Confusion Corner: Proposing the preposterous for educational purposes

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March 18, 2011

12:46 AM

When I’m not pouring my heart, soul and utter being into this column, I am a tour guide for the College of William and Mary. One of the very first things they teach us to mention on our tours is how willing the College is to give money for research grants. Monroe Scholars, for example, are given a summer stipend to conduct any sort of research under the sun. Since I have no idea who to contact and have nowhere near the GPA to attain the coveted Monroe status (also the name of a really lame forthcoming rap album), I make my proposals instead to you, my fellow students.

Proposal: To study the effect aural reception has on interpretation, I will attach a voice modulator to the golden throat of College President Taylor Reveley. Then I will wait. Next fall, when he is addressing the incoming freshmen at Convocation, I will flip my switch. Suddenly, his dulcet tones will be replaced by the twisted-metal-car-crash voice of Gilbert Gottfried (the voice of Iago from “Aladdin.”) Mellow smiles and contented sighs will quickly turn to grimaces and sneers of unimaginable horror. Something beloved will be ruined, as if the Great Pyramids suddenly turned into giant Natty cases. Empty Natty cases. Freshmen will weep, and professors will try desperately to flee. At least, that is my hypothesis. I hope you’ll consider my proposal.

Proposal: I wish to study the levels of temptation to which various social groups, namely hipsters, are susceptible. All over campus, I will dig deep holes, and then climb out and cover them with large blankets. I will then spread across the blanket packs of American Spirit cigarettes, cans of PBR, thick-rimmed black glasses with no lenses and CDs from bands I just made up, which means they won’t have heard of them. When the hipsters step their Keds onto the blanket, they will fall into the pit and be trapped. Once enough hipsters are in the hole, they will be airlifted to a city better suited to them: Richmond.

Proposal: An economic study of the effects of extended hours for local college-targeted businesses in Williamsburg. Local merchants lose uncounted dollars every evening due to their frustrating practice of closing up shop for the night at 4 p.m. I speak of nearly every single Chinese restaurant in town and their unwillingness to deliver past 11 p.m., when their peak hours would probably hover around 3 a.m. (“I’m too gone to drive, but I would totally kill for some eggrolls right now, bro.”) I speak of Bloom and my inability to buy 1,000 packs of solo cups at all hours of the night.

Proposal: To study how conflict-resolution methods emerge. Why do we, as a society, solve our problems with words, weapons and war? I propose placing V-shaped balance beams all over campus. When two students have a conflict, they will each stand on their leg of the beam and walk towards the center. When they reach the center, they will battle American Gladiator-style for control of the beam. Whoever falls off first loses and has to buy milkshakes for both parties.

Proposal: An investigation into the corruption of the California medicinal marijuana program and its philosophical ramifications. This test will obviously require many samples, and … like, some field tests. In addition, I’ll probably have to … do … something … dude I’ve got the munchies. What was I talking about?
And so I encourage you, mes amis, to venture forth with an open palm and an expectant look to your school, because, while I would never advocate throwing money at a bad idea, I would always advocate throwing money at a ridiculous one.

__Jason Rogers is a Confusion Corner columnist. He advises his column readers to beware of American Spirit on the ground within the coming weeks.__

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