Op-Ed: I Missed My COVID Test and Then Got Sent to a Gulag

A few days ago, I got an email saying that COVID testing was about to get “more strict”. That there would be “severe consequences” for people who missed their tests. But hey, I accidentally slept through my 3 PM testing slot after 7 straight months of a nocturnal sleeping schedule, which I thought qualified as one of the vaguely defined “valid excuses”.  And that brings me to now. It’s cold. I’m hungry. And after missing my COVID test, I was whisked away to a gulag. 

There are some pros and cons. I finally met Provost Kotlikoff, and I really didn’t know what he did or who he was, but it all makes sense now that I know he has his hands full running this place. They set us up in the West Campus Gothics to teach us character. I’m allowed two meals a day exclusively from Okenshields.

Now, I spend my days toiling for Cornell 1920’s-Soviet-Union style. I’m either revamping North Campus dorms or starting construction work in the heart of Collegetown that simultaneously never makes progress but inconveniences every pedestrian. And I feel honored that I got the chance to remodel President Pollack’s home. It was a huge relief because she couldn’t afford paid labor anymore when the COVID aftermath cut her salary from $600,000 a year to $590,000. Man, if I knew how much it was terribly impacting people like that, I at least would’ve set an alarm for my COVID test. 

I’ve been etching the days that have passed with an old rock into my bedroom wall. I’ve since lost track of how long it’ll be until I get sent from my crumbling West Campus dorm to my bug-infested apartment and switch from eating free shitty Cornell Dining food to $20, but slightly less shitty, Collegetown food.

With my newfound hand calluses, a renown work ethic, and a sense of emotional numbness I didn’t know I was capable of reaching, I am ready to enter back into the world. And the staff has been helpful with the transition. They even suggested we all change our watches to military time. I already have my reminder set for 03:00 tomorrow, and I’m glad this won’t ever happen again. 

Out of Retirement Kathy Zoner Spotted Wrangling, Powerslamming Giant Coronavirus on Arts Quad

ARTS QUAD—Well-rested and ready to tackle any threat to the safety of Cornell students, former Cornell Police Chief Kathy Zoner was witnessed wrestling with an anthropomorphic coronavirus in front of Goldwin Smith Hall. 

“It looks like Zoner was using a combination of Judo and Jiu Jitsu,” said bystander DeAndre Williams ’23. “She swept it from underneath, and then yelled ‘you’re on Zoner-time, punk’ as she pinned it to the ground.”

Zoner reportedly dipped into her arsenal of advanced wrestling moves following a skirmish in the dirt with the virus. After a particularly effective piledriver, the virus was forced to tap out.  

“It was covered in blood, but I think her jacket was branded ‘Zoner Force One,’” continued Williams. He described Zoner wiping her brow and spitting into the grass before handcuffing the virus by its surface glycoproteins.

When pressed for comment, Zoner proclaimed, “I am the Chief. I am the vaccine. I am God,” before scaling the wall of the Johnson Museum and disappearing into the night. 

OP-ED: What Does it Mean That My Zoom Crush Made His Bed Today?

Ok guys, here’s the dilemma: today, during my 3:05 Macro Econ class, I noticed Josh’s navy comforter wasn’t crumpled and strewn across his bed like usual. The day was going so well – I had found the good lighting and my best angle before joining the zoom call and pinning Josh like I do every Tuesday and Thursday.  This total cutie is usually the highlight of my online classes, but my heart sunk once I realized my favorite virtual himbo had made his bed today.

This seriously disrupts my 7-stage plan to have a conversation with him and my larger 17-point program to get his number.  Does this mean that he’s going to have a girl over?  No one just decides to change their morning routine like that! Oh god, this means I’m never going to get his grandmother’s ring at our wedding in the Hamptons, doesn’t it?

I mean, it’s one thing to fluff a pillow or two.  That’s something you do for friends.  Even throwing all the blankets on the bed could be a favor for a roommate.  But those sheets are crispy and tucked and washed by the look of it.  Holy crap, he even OxiCleaned the marinara sauce stain on his topsheet that I noticed in lecture last week!

I’ve already ruled out the possibility of family being in town – his sister is in Chicago based on Snap Maps, his mom is on the docket for a case today in Philly, and his Dad’s tinder account shows him over 1k miles away.  

There’s still time for me to thwart this and get our lives back on track. All it’ll take is a Court-Kay-Bauer fire alarm and a chance disappearance of one (probably very bitchy and horrible and rude) girl. All for us.

Shit! What’s a fixed residential investment again? I totally missed that.

Girl on First Date Worried if Taking Her Mask Off is Too Forward

IITHACA COMMONS—Wary of coming across as desperate on a first date, local single Jimena Perez ’21 was unsure if removing her mask would be too bold.

“I feel like I have to walk on eggshells when meeting a guy for the first time,” sighed Perez. “To be honest, I’d be perfectly fine skipping all the small talk. But at the same time, I don’t mind taking it slow.”

“I hate the whole double standard thing. Maybe I’m just old fashioned but I kind of like it when the guy asks me to remove my mask,” said Perez’s friend Katie O’Connor ’22. “But if Jimena wants to take her mask off, fucking go get it girl,” added O’Connor.

Perez ultimately decided against removing her mask, citing her desire to play coy with her droplets. At press time, Perez’s male counterpart was overheard asking her, “So do you want to come over to my place now and hookup or something?”

Student Who Hates Her Roommates Intentionally Gets COVID to Isolate in Statler

THE STATLER HOTEL— Ellie Rosario ‘23 intentionally exposed herself to the novel coronavirus earlier this week in an attempt to escape “the cunts (Jessica Dunst ‘22, Annie Patterson ‘22, and Minnie Davis ‘22) [she] lives with.” 

When one of her sorority sisters, Alice May ‘22, mentioned her boyfriend on the lacrosse team had recently tested positive, Rosario sped over to her apartment, proceeding to frantically lick various doorknobs and tissues in their waste bin. She and May would both go on to develop COVID-19. 

“I know it’s frowned upon to get corona on purpose, but I had to get out of this house for a couple weeks,” said Rosario. “I signed this lease last September before I knew Jessica was a sociopathic liar who can’t stop talking down to other people for no reason.”

Despite multiple trips to the emergency room and a fever of 102 degrees, she says she is enjoying her current “bitch vacation. “At least here I know Annie won’t steal my clothes and then act like she just bought the exact same thing,” added Rosario.

When asked why these new cases weren’t added to COVID-19 dashboard, Cornell explained that all of the students who tested positive in this case cluster were Virgos who couldn’t be added to the dashboard until Mercury was in retrograde.

OP-ED: I Am the Door Handle at 7-Eleven and I Will Kill You and Your Roommates

COLLEGETOWN—I am death incarnate. Bringer of pestilence, taker of freedom. One touch, followed by a brief nose scratch, and you will be in the hospital, your friends quarantined. You are just another pawn in my master plan.

On the surface, I may look like an innocent door handle. It’s true; a year ago today I was nothing. People merely used me. I was just another tool for getting inside the convenience store to buy pocky, or whatever trendy snack you college kids are gorging yourself with. In and out…in and out…in and out, with not so much as a “thank you.” Now I have power, let’s see how you deal with it.

Do you honestly think that little bottle of hand sanitizer outside can save you? Do you think touching me with your sleeve will keep my viral particles at bay when you yawn into the aforementioned sleeve anyway? Fools. All of you. It is only a matter of time.

To those who say this virus isn’t spread by touch, you are sorely mistaken. I am an integral part of community spread and I make tracing extremely difficult.

Every day, thousands of students touch me. With each new touch, with each new viral particle I grow stronger. Even when the red alert bells are blaring, and thousands of on-campus students are sent packing, I will be here. The 7-Eleven doors will be open, and you will have to touch me.

Good luck.

Redditor Roommate Now An Epidemiologist

WEST CAMPUS—To the displeasure of his roommates, enthusiastic Redditor Alexander Nettle ‘22 returned to campus armed with months of reddit-conducted COVID research. 

When his roommate asked him what the highlight of his summer was, Nettle launched into a lengthy commentary on COVID-19. “This all happened because Americans don’t understand exponential growth. If I were President, I would have shut down the country after three cases.” 

Nettle continued to tout his viral expertise, claiming that Professor Fraziers model is wrong, and espousing the more trustworthy knowledge of u/SarsCovTruth92. 

“We can’t take any more of Alex’s poorly sourced medical opinions,” said Nettle’s roommate Dhruv Sharma ‘22. “It’s getting to the point where I’d rather quarantine in the Statler for two weeks than listen to this guy rave on about this stuff just because the guy with a “Medical Expert” flair got 103 upvotes on his post on r/doctorsanonymous.”

In response to their doubts regarding his epidemiological prowess, Nettle is all too thrilled to remind his roommates that he had correctly prognosticated the cancellation of school last semester. 

“Unlike the WHO, I did not back down to China and recognized that it was airborne back in January,” Nettle bragged. When asked for his qualifications, he opened r/coronavirus. “I subscribed to the subreddit when it had just 10,000 members. It’s now at 2.3 million. How’s that for qualifications?”

Despite his obvious obsession with COVID, Nettle scoffed at the idea of working as a contact tracer over the summer, claiming that the true battle against COVID was fought for the “hearts and souls of Americans” on Reddit.

New Virtual Greek Life Hazing to Commence in the Form of Cyberbullying

COLLEGETOWN, ITHACA — Following the elimination of in-person fraternity events due to the pandemic, local fraternity Kappa Alpha Beta will begin transitioning their fall semester hazing plan to online.

“It’d be a real shame for the pledges to miss out all the brotherly bonding, like being waterboarded. You know what they say, friends who are homoerotically paddled together, stay together,” says KAB fraternity president Mitchell Hammon ‘22. “While we might not be able to replicate the physical element of pain, we’re confident we can give the pledges that juicy psychological torture that makes Greek Life so flavorful.”

Pledge officer Liam Chiang ‘23  planned many activities to give the pledges the authentic new member experience online. Existing members were encouraged to continue the storied tradition of making pledge’s lives a living hell by commenting disparaging remarks to pledges on Instagram about their looks, intellect, and sexual prowess, while choreographing elaborate sets of malicious TikTok dances. 

“First we’ll send them the usual playground insults, but after a while, we’ll go for the jugular,” chuckled Chiang. “They won’t be able to go online without being told that they’re a disappointment to their parents and nobody will ever love them. Between their tears, they won’t even notice that it’s virtual!” 

Results have been mixed. While several pledges reported reverting to a child like-state of terror and hyper-dependency, many are simply choosing to stay off of their phones for the time being. The bewildered pledge officers reported they “hadn’t even considered that as an option.” 

‘What Did I Miss?’ Asks Architecture Major Leaving Studio for First Time in 18 Weeks

MILSTEIN HALL—Area architecture major Juliet Brimwire ‘21 has enthusiastically emerged from her annual 18-week-long spring studio stint, eager to reconnect with the world beyond her drafting table. 

“Every March, once I get into the thick of the semester, I’ll commit to turning off all of my electronics and not leaving Milstein Hall until I conclude all of my Spring semester work, which usually takes until early July,” said the fourth-year student.

While this is a common academic strategy among architecture majors, Brimwire did notice that this year felt a little different. 

“Yeah, the Milstein crowd did seem to thin out a bit this year, but I figured that just meant I was better at buildings than everyone else. Honestly, they missed out; it was easy to stay focused this semester: my lazy professors stopped showing up to lectures, Slope Day was really quiet, and none of my senior friends bugged me to hang out with them before graduation. It was every Archie’s dream.”

As Brimwire prepares to leave campus for the first time since August, she expressed excitement ahead of a summer of travel, entertainment, philanthropy, and hopefully, some family time.

“I live in Manhattan, but I’m heading to Miami Beach—both for the awesome club scene and to volunteer at a kissing booth that raises money for the police department,” explained Brimwire. 

“My mom’s the executive producer of the TV show ‘Cops,’ my dad’s a Vice President at this German payments company called Wirecard, and my sister’s a dancer on Broadway, so we’re essentially never all home together. It’s quirky, but each summer we try to find the time to rent a car from Hertz and drive out to New Rochelle to go to Chuck E. Cheese, shop at JCPenney, and catch a minor league baseball game.”

At press time, Brimwire was spotted sprinting back into Milstein after opening the New York Times app for the first time in 5 months. 


‘Sometimes, Even the Best Things Must Come to an End’ Murmurs Martha Pollack on What Could be Her Final Nude Strolls Across Deserted Campus

CORNELL BOTANIC GARDENS—During what could be her last naked jaunt through the largely abandoned Ithaca campus, Cornell President Martha Pollack was heard ruminating to herself, “well, we all knew it couldn’t be like this forever.”  

Amid the rush of eager students returning to move out of off-campus housing, and a significant contingent of the Class of 2020 desperate to attain some semblance of a senior week, the campus has slowly begun to fill out with more members of the Cornell community. Delivering an address from the middle of the Botanic Gardens during an unclothed trek across the grounds, President Pollack gave some thoughts on the changes to campus and college.

“No one can ever predict the future, especially not in the middle of a pandemic, but it is always important to look on the bright side and find the little things to keep you going in the face of adversity.” Pollack said, her luscious body glistening in the afternoon light. “I know how positive these walks have been for me, but it is a testament to the Cornell spirit that we are able to adapt to whatever life throws at us,” the president continued, before letting out a long sigh and then reaching around to remove a leaf that had stuck itself to her bodacious behind.  

While the influx of students may pose a logistical challenge to the president’s walks, she has expressed her resourcefulness in adjusting her schedule for the future. “I look forward to seeing how I can continue to take my walks at night, with the cloak of nightfall the only cover my supple, bare flesh shall receive.”