The Nerve! Person Sits in Chair Next to Me

I am walking away from Goldie’s with an iced coffee that is far too cold for the current weather when I spot two unoccupied, comfy-padded seats in front of a coffee table. Knowing the rarity of my find, I beeline over to stake my claim, slinging my backpack onto one chair and plopping down into the other. But just as I begin to relish in the peace of the private cove I have so tactfully secured, I am approached by a 5’ 8” man holding a chicken panini, who gestures toward my second seat. 

“Excuse me, is anyone sitting here?” 

I am shocked. Flabbergasted. Appalled. Did he not understand the sacred unwritten chair rule that she who occupies a seat occupies all seats within a 1 meter radius? Did he not see that the chair beside me belonged to my Jansport backpack, who deserved a comfortable place to rest after braving the cold tiles of Baker 200? Did he not have a sense of basic human respect and decency?

“Yes, bitch. Leave!” I scream. He blanches and tucks his tail, gut-wrenchingly realizing the inhumanity of his actions before limping away in defeat. I kick my legs onto the table and sigh, satisfied with my dominance. 

That would be the correct response, at least. But in the time-pressured moment, I am overcome by a spell of weakness. I proceed to lift my backpack off of my neighboring chair and expose its cushion to the vulture above. And then the chicken panini is set on the coffee table and I feel a weight sink down into the black faux leather beside me. 

This is a declaration of war. 

I begin my battle strategy with a small but deadly leg bounce, allowing myself just enough movement to initiate a rumble in the adjacent seat. My opponent strikes harder. He begins to unwrap the white paper around his panini, the crinkling louder and more obnoxious with each fold. I slurp the diluted liquid at the bottom of the iced coffee I finished 15 minutes ago. My opponent takes a bite of his sandwich. I put four pieces of Orbit Spearmint Sugarfree gum in my mouth. My opponent chews. I chew. My opponent swallows. And then I just simply cannot.

I shut my laptop that I did not use productively in any way over the past half-hour and shove it into my backpack. Then I rise from my chair to signal my surrender, accepting defeat at the hands of the insolent little parasite who will probably voluntarily get tested for COVID in the upcoming week. 

My next class does not start for another 30 minutes, so I begin to circle the atrium in hopes of finding a new place to sit. But there are no longer any sets of two empty chairs, so I approach a nearby girl with her coat on the seat next to her and do as I must to survive:

“Excuse me, is anyone sitting here?” 

Student Behind on Readings for Gov Class Thinks “Infrastructure Bill” is Charming Nickname for Burly Railway Worker

GOLDWIN SMITH HALL一Showing up late to class for the 3rd time this week, so-called Government major Davos Spalding ‘25 seemed surprised to learn that all this talk about “Infrastructure Bill” was centered around a piece of legislation and not, as he had expected, a burly, brolic, big-biceped railway engineer who’d earned the nickname through his work on the rails.

“I honestly haven’t done a single reading for this class all semester,” said Spalding. “But I keep hearing in the news about this Infrastructure Bill. They kept describing him as extremely big— enormous—the biggest in history even. He’s going to single handedly fix all of America’s crumbling roads and bridges. They said he’s part of a showdown now, and that he’s fighting to stay alive. I knew I just had to meet this man. I can only imagine the legends of his prowess, and the songs they write about his titan of labor. He dominates every committee he’s in; he shaped and honed his muscular brawn through multiple amendments to his own body. The news said all of America wants Infrastructure Bill, but above all I just want to learn how he came to be worth 4 trillion dollars,” Spalding concluded, blinking his dazed, daydreaming eyes and wiping drool from his agape mouth.

“Davos came to class today, late as always, demanding to see the infrastructure bill,” said Professor Gary Rambler, Spalding’s instructor. “I had to break the news to him: As it looks right now, the infrastructure bill is dead. Davos broke down and cried, and I think we were all there with him. Maybe, just maybe, I too believed for a brief second that the infrastructure bill really had a chance to fix America’s roads, bridges, and railways.”

Before the end of class, Spalding had written what he called an “Ode to Infrastructure Bill,” a classic old-timey labor folk tune to commemorate and lament the destruction of a working man of America. Professor Rambler, accepting it gratefully, informed Spalding that while it wouldn’t change his F in the class, it would help generations to come remember the legend of Infrastructure Bill.

“I’m Not Sure If They’ll Let Me Say This These Days,” Says Senior Lecturer About to Say Most Horrifying Thing You’ve Ever Heard

PHILLIPS HALL—Students were left horrified this Tuesday after senior lecturer Timothy Ostgarden paused his 8 am lecture to remark, “Now, I’m not sure if they’ll let me say these days,” before embarking on a thirty minute screed against women, minorities, the LGBT community, and the Irish.

“I’m disappointed in Dr. Ostgarden, to be honest,” said Riley Greenwood ‘22. “I was promised an Ivy League education, but these are high-school level slurs. And since the class is over Zoom, he couldn’t even shove me into a locker afterwards. They’re charging me full tuition for this?”

While many students echoed Greenwood’s dismay, Professor Ostgarden has seen a rally of support from the men-who-wear-suits-to-class community.

“I came to Cornell because of its strong academic tradition, and I believe this morning validated my choice,” said Charles Highlock ‘22. “Where else could I find someone who’s still fighting the good fight against the Irish? While I don’t agree with calling them ‘miserable little potato bugs,’ you have to admit, the whole ‘Irish potato famine’ thing is pretty suspicious. He’s just asking the hard questions.” 

At press time, Cornell administration promised to “denounce hatred in all forms” and “reaffirm their commitment to marginalized communities” by drawing a frowny face on Ostgarden’s next exorbitant paycheck. 

Absolute Comedy God Answers “C” on True/False iClicker Question

URIS HALL—This morning, during the 10:10 lecture for Intro to Cognitive Science, a single student sacrificed his class grade for a piece of pure comedy gold: Jamie McCannon ‘19 answered C on a True/False iClicker question, bringing the lecture hall to its knees in laughs.

“I never thought there could be so much beauty in this world,” said Alexis Corningstone ‘21, one of the Comedy Savior’s classmates. “He is truly a beacon of hope for us.”

Students reported witnessing a golden light of comedy shining off of the Lord McCannon’s Herculean body as he admitted to his historical gag, causing a wave of uproarious, rapturous laughter. “It was as if the soul of comedy itself was in the room with us that day,” said Corningstone.

“I saw that the question only had two answers, and I just knew what I had to do,” said McCannon humbly, bowing his head. “I was born to do this, to sacrifice my grade on this question for the good of the masses.”

Sources attempted to get a statement from the professor during that fateful morning, but he simply hid devil horns under a beanie and walked away, defeated.

Professor Encourages Students to Ask Questions He Already Knows How to Answer

ROCKEFELLER HALL—During his Intermediate Quantum Mechanics lecture, Professor Zhao urged his students not to hold back and to ask questions about anything they’re unsure about, unless, of course, he can’t answer the question himself.

“Come on, guys,” Zhao said, finishing an illegible problem on the board, “You can ask me any question you can think of that pertains to my research, but if it’s anything else then you should check the syllabus or Google it.”

Remarking on the poor grades on the latest exam, Zhao begged students to speak up, but if their confusion was in going from step three to step four in the quantum entanglement proof then they should “ask the graduate TAs who understand those complicated formulas.”

After having his say on class participation, Zhao told the class he’d have to answer their questions next week since they were already behind.