Everyone at Pomona is crazy. Some are downright bananas. Most are secretly loco, relegating their moments of insanity to cheeky emails and singing in the shower. But all the way from Wig to Clark I, I am convinced that lunacy runs wild through the campus. For the most part, this is a good thing. Every once in a while, however, this madness leads to bias-related incidents and drunken fiascoes. Fortunately, these seem to be the few negative side effects of constrained eccentricity. Overall, the berserk works.
I came to realize this startling fact last weekend, when on an otherwise normal Sunday night, I came back to my room only to find my hallmates singing and dancing to a Farsi song called “Bora Bora”. Lip-syncing to the Iranian-Swedish pop sensation Arash, my suitemate became frenzied with boyish delight and enraptured in tanbur rhythms. At first, I was dismayed by such aberrant behavior from my usually placid if scatalogically inclined roommate. On second thought, I realized that he really is insane. He has pet turtles named Trini and Toby, for the Caribbean islands, Trinidad and Tobago. Blasted with a moment of self-reflection, I then realized that I must be crazy too. I sometimes refer to myself as El Maestro de Flow, in hopes that it will help my fledgling rap career.
Nearly everyone I can think of at Pomona is a bit kooky. The coach of my intramural basketball team has recently taken to wearing size 26 plaid pants to accompany his royal purple Oxford weave and tie. Another friend has an entire folder on her laptop full of lists. Each list is immaculately color-coded, bolded, and italicized, each mark distinguishing a different emotion. My favorite, is list #137: where the prettiest flowers at Pomona are. (I believe this includes a reference map soon to be published and distributed on campus tours.) I suppose I have always known that Pomona attracts an eclectic bunch, but I never really fully understood the extent of the fanaticism.
The most dangerous type of crazies that roam our campus is surely the “closeted loon.” Pent-up cuckoos and silent-but-deadly oddballs, these are the basement-dwellers and frequenters of the multi-stack tiers. Their rebellion may be more academic than visceral, but it is equally pernicious. I have been told of a budding scientist who remembers chemical formulas by modeling molecular structures with her hands and, if necessary, entire body. A fellow sophomore continues to be an aficionado of “Magic: The Gathering,” but feels so self-conscious about his collectible card game habits that he keeps his deck inside a Thin Mints box. Such need for secrecy is certainly a sign of a young man afraid to unleash his mathematic genius. When unleashed, or intoxicated, this bunch goes to town. Fo’ real, watch out.
Those who outwardly express their wackiness—”silly willies”—are probably a bit saner. At times they may appear to be crackbrained, but mild battiness is healthy. They keep you on your toes, never sure whether their next statement or movement will reflect rationality or calculated hysteria. A few telltale signs of their daft: throwing fruit at walls or sticking it to spiky trees, playing splendid but esoteric instruments like the accordion, accepting bets to eat and drink disgusting concoctions for less than $10, liking Nietzche’s specific style of prose. The aforementioned are just a sampling of the types of constructive foolishness that run rampant at Pomona. (Please e-mail all your absurd habits to TSL. We would love to read and perhaps, if Trevor lets me, publish them.) If the silenced nuts need some rousing, this group needs a bit of straightening out to make sure their delusions are judiciously controlled and not symptomatic of actual mental health issues. Equally or lesser imbalanced friends should prevent this lot from imperiling their friendships or impairing their ability to socialize normally.
The trend toward regularized dottiness revolves largely around the cerebral nature of Pomona’s students. As a whole, we are inclined to take notes on lectures about international development or DNA repair systems while attempting to name the 100 most common words in the English language on Sporcle. We love gneiss geology charts. Perhaps these phenomena are simply indicators of our scholastic inclinations, but I think they are also symptoms of how off-the-rocker Pomona students are. I mean, we seriously think 47 is the most common random number in the universe. (It’s clearly 69.)
I suggest that we fully embrace our daffy habits and come out of the metaphorical closet of lunacy. For some this may be too large of a step to take, but one day people will find out about your penchant for the Dixie Chicks or your affinity for eating ketchup straight, so be ready to fess up. As for me, I will continue on my personal path around the bend and into the land of irrationality, double-fisting copies of “The Economist,” and translating English idioms into Spanish. Palabra a tu madre.