Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Course Overload # 23: "Everybody Leaks - Sometimes"

There’s this REM song – I don’t know the exact name, but I think it’s called “Everybody Hurts” – where they sing about the fact that everyone experiences pain in their lives. Not the kind of pain like when your brother wraps you in a carpet, pours honey on your head and throws a beehive at you. It’s the kind of pain like when your boyfriend of three years admits that he’s had a boyfriend for five years, hates your mom, and wants his stuff back.

And it’s true. Everybody does hurt, sometimes. But I always assumed the song only applied to humans, or at least, only animals. Yet, as I discovered one rainy afternoon in October, it actually applies to inanimate objects too.

There was so much for me to do. I had to write 15 papers for Lit Crit, read at least 6000 pages for Young Adult Lit, and, on top of all that, I had to write an article about pumpkin picking for everybody’s favorite local newspaper, the Wallkill Valley Times. As I strolled to my car, the sky swirled ominously above me, its dark gray clouds threatening to let loose on me at any second. The trees taunted me as I walked, brushing up against me with their branches and dropping their leaves on my head as I passed by.

In times of crisis, my thought process turns from the trivial, like finishing my homework so I can graduate and get a decent job, to the absolutely necessary, like getting inside before the rain comes and messes up my hair. Luckily a friend was walking by at the time and I calmly sauntered over to her to strike up a conversation.

“You have to let me into your dorm before the rain starts and I die!” I screamed in terror.

“All right,” she replied, stepping back slowly.

After running to her dorm at full speed, dragging her by one arm over the rocks and broken glass that seem to grow like plants everywhere on campus, we made it to her dorm. Inside, she sat me down in front of her computer and told me to work on my pumpkin picking article. Then, with the impending rain, my friend warned me of the leak in her ceiling.

“It’s just a small trickle,” she said nonchalantly, stepping out of her room to go to class. “Its name is Roofus.”

“Rufus?” I questioned.

“No, Roofus, with two Os,” she replied, somehow detecting a spelling error in my speech. With that she twirled around and closed the door.

Seconds after she left, the rain began pounding down and heavy winds tore through the college. I watched from the window, glad I had avoided the downpour. Without giving it a second thought, I saw my friend get picked up and tossed out of sight by the horrible, horrible winds. Ah, me and My Hair were safe at last.

Relieved, I sat down and began writing my article. “The first thing you must accept about pumpkins is that they’re extremely dangerous,” I typed. This was going to be my most informative article yet!

But then I heard a noise. It sounded as if something was dripping. I assumed that someone had left the water on in the bathroom and I ignored it. But then it happened again. I looked up from my article.

Roofus had become sad and had started to cry. Small drops of water had already created a puddle on the floor under him. “What’s wrong, Roofus?” I asked.

“…,” he replied. I ran to get him a bucket for his tears.

But by the time I got back, Roofus had become very sad and was weeping even harder than before. The bucket I had gotten for his tears wasn’t big enough anymore, so I ran downstairs to the kitchen and grabbed a big garbage can. I got back and thrust it under Roofus; however, it filled up quickly and his tears spilled out onto the floor again.

I emptied the tears into the bathtub a few times, running back to catch some more every time, but it seemed that the garbage can wasn’t going to cut it anymore. Roofus’ tears fell like water from a hose and everything was getting wet, including My Hair. I decided to try to reason with him.

“Don’t let yourself go! ‘Cause everybody cries!” I exclaimed. “Everybody hurts – sometimes!”

Unfortunately, my attempt at comforting him wasn’t so comforting and Roofus cried so hard, it was like the ocean was pouring into the tiny dorm room. “Hold on! Hooooooooold on! Hold on!” I exclaimed. He wasn’t listening. The water quickly shot up past my ankles and thighs.

Suddenly, I was drowning.

I prayed that Johnny Depp would come to save me, dressed in his Pirates of the Caribbean costume. He would know how to deal with so much water; he’s a pirate! Then I realized I didn’t care if he saved me or not, as long as he was wearing his pirate outfit.

Thankfully, that’s when my friend opened the door, releasing the water trap I had been floating in. The water shot out of the door jam like a tidal wave, drenching everything. I’m not even going to say “everything in the dorm” or “everything in the school.” Both of those are accurate, but they don’t include everything else that got wet.

I came rushing out with the wave, slamming up against the wall. It was that awkward time, I knew, when my friend would demand an explanation. I stared up at her, small droplets falling from me and My Hair.

“I think Roofus needs a hug,” I declared.

You’ve got to hand it to REM. All this time I though they were just a band, but as it turns out, they’re also a group of super intelligent pain-detecting scientists who understand the problems of the world and try to fix them through the wonders of music. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from “Everybody Hurts,” one thing I can keep with me for the rest of my life, it’s this: If your dorm’s roof is leaky, you should call maintenance to come fix it.

Thanks, REM.

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