Confusion Corner: handbook of Swem species

    My name is Rutherford Mayweather Pennywinkle, and I am a world-renowned zoologist. I have won many awards for my research on the slope-eared newt, the poison-beaked toucan and the explosion fish. Yes, I am that Rutherford Mayweather Pennywinkle. I come to you today to offer you a sneak peek of my newest field guide, “The Wildlife of Earl Gregg Swem Library.” I offer this guide to help you identify your surroundings within the library so that you may more fully appreciate the wonderful cornucopia of life that inhabits your beloved Swem.

    Chapter One: The most abundant of all Swem wildlife is the Common Twamp (Tribemus pridemus). The environment of Swem is perfect for the Twamp. The many stacks provide this majestic creature with an abundance of intellectual sustenance, while the coffee, croissants and candy give the beast the jittery fix it needs to sustain its nocturnal lifestyle. Just as the ostrich buries its head in the sand, the Twamp rarely allows itself to be seen without its face hidden behind a large textbook. Oddly enough, nearly every Twamp I observed during my time in Swem has — like clockwork — abandoned the environment at exactly 2 a.m. It’s as though they all know something I don’t. I will get to the bottom of this.

    Chapter Two: While many creatures in the Animal Kingdom enjoy the benefits of a symbiotic relationship, perhaps no two creatures are more repulsive in their parasitic ways than the Inappropriate Couple (Getta roomis). Much like a tapeworm, the Inappropriate Couple slowly devour each other from the inside out. However, instead of eating one another’s intestines, the Inappropriate Couple destroy each other’s souls. Many creatures have developed mimicry to hide from predators. The Inappropriate Couple, however, has learned how to completely eliminate the need for individual identity. If you do manage to separate one member of the Inappropriate Couple from the other, both members react much as do penguins do on land — they’ve been in this situation before, but they wouldn’t survive very long. The Inappropriate Couple does not appear to eat, save for each other’s faces. Its utter disregard for the rules of PDA is its most defining feature, although you may not be able to look at it long enough to identify it before throwing up.

    Chapter Three: No creature in Swem commands our pity more than the Misplaced Jock (Lifta lotts). The Jock is not indigenous to Swem, and it is far more comfortable in its natural habitats of the Student Recreation Center, William and Mary Hall and Busch Field. Just as hunger drives many animals to territory from which they would otherwise shy away, so do academics compel the Jock to venture into Swem. The Jock rarely leaves the first floor of Swem, never allowing itself to lose sight of the exit for which it so longs. The Common Twamp is the Misplaced Jock’s primary predator, the former seeking to expunge the new invasive species from its ecosystem. Just as puffer fish will enlarge themselves to intimidate other animals, so will the Twamp drop impossibly huge stacks of books next to the Jock, mutter something about “a little light reading,” and open them. If the desired effect is achieved, the Jock will flee from the library, restoring the Twamp as the dominant species of the area.

    Chapter Four: The Griffin — your guess is as good as mine.

    So there you have it — a handy pocket guide to identify the wildlife of Swem. While this guide is to be enjoyed, I must offer fair warning in one regard: do not laugh too hard at any one of these entries because, for all you know, you may be featured in the next chapter.

    Happy hunting, Swemmers.

    __Jason Rogers is a Confusion Corner columnist. While Jason is an avid Swem hunter, he prefers to unleash his inner beast on the weekends, starting on Thursdays.__


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