University Haze

Life at UCSD seems calm compared to life at Caltech. The California Institute of Technology is famous for its pranks: students once surreptitiously altered cards that Ohio State football fans were to use during halftime at the Rose Bowl game to display the school logo — the altered cards spelled out “Caltech” instead. Another time, after an unpopular instructor had a student’s car towed from his reserved parking space, students sandblasted the parking lot overnight and repainted it — with that instructor’s space missing. Once an instructor returned from vacation to find his Volkswagen, in one piece and running, in his third-floor windowless office. The funniest prank I remember, however, wasn’t the work of Caltech students. It was performed by Mother Nature.

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Be Careful What You Wish For

Though I do not remember what the story was about, I can see the green cardboard binder I put it in. I can see my juvenile handwriting — tall and thin, with no slant — rendered in fat, dark, shiny pencil. I can see the paper: unbleached, brown, and grainy with thick, uneven blue lines. I can even see my small hands carefully printing the title on the binder, but I cannot read that title.

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