Walled In: The Life of Henry David of the Row

Kevin Kilgour

Henry David of The Row was having an existential crisis.

The budding freshman had taken a strong interest in environmental studies and philosophy, but found his life overwhelmingly consumed by fraternity life on frat row. Henry had rushed the fall semester, and though he was at first suspicious of Tau Alpha Chi’s (ΤΑΧ) hierarchical structure, he was enchanted with the rebellious attitude Greek life espoused.

Henry had always hated rules. The gentlemen of ΤΑΧ gave off a disaffected vibe that resonated with Henry’s aversion to authority.

Even the drinking he found appealing. Any government that thinks it can control who does and does not drink is clearly stretching beyond the appropriate limits of authority. Fraternity life spat in the face of this unthinkable restriction. The opportunity to break the law with such glee and determination was a dream come true for the young transcendentleman.

Now that he had finally escaped from home and into the wilderness of collegiate fraternity life, Henry thought he would find meaning and happiness. But, as is often the case with such things as opening a bar in your apartment, living in the woods, and online dating, reality rarely lives up to expectations.

The process of sequestering to his superiors’ every wish in the house was the first hint that fraternity life might not be the wilderness excursion Henry had pined for. And sure, his brothers broke plenty of rules, but they didn’t take any joy in it. Henry was interested in the inherent value of anarchy: his housemates always seemed to have other motivations at heart.

When Henry suggested to his brothers that they stop paying the campus activities fee as an act of defiance against unwarranted authority, they laughed off his proposal as nothing more than an inebriated jest. When he pitched a tent out front of the house and encouraged others to join him in the celebration of nature, they smiled awkwardly as they slowly backed into the inner recesses of the ΤΑΧ house. When Henry was a few drinks in on bid night, he declared for all to hear: “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth!” His brothers in the house looked at one another and knew that something had to be done.

“Like, Henry is pretty dope and stuff, but he just doesn’t fit the TAX life,” Chad concluded. Brad and the other lads concurred.

Following a highly democratic voting process, Henry David was voted out of the house. Most of the brothers were apathetic, saying they thought Henry was a “chill bro,” but the fact that Henry had decided to stop paying dues was a major blow to his hopes for retaining membership.

Exiled from frat row, Henry wandered campus with no purpose and no home. Maybe his house brothers didn’t understand him, but at least he was starting to understand himself, and that was enough for now.

There’s One Type of People

Photo by Ingo Joseph from Pexels

“There are two types of people in this world.”

There are those that put their pants on one leg at a time. Day in and day out (or whenever pants are required) those within this select class repeat a complex dressing process, taking care to put on one leg at a time, but never both at once.

To begin, these people move either their right or left leg (but never both) into the item of clothing. Through the simultaneous effort of wiggling their first leg and pulling up on the chosen garment, the wearer gradually pushes the first limb through the leg chasm while arranging the upper compartment of the item around the waist.

Once that feat is accomplished, the subject then proceeds to angle the second leg into the pants, using their first leg to balance while repeating the dressing technique implemented for the first leg.

This technique has been passed down for generations and speaks a great deal to the appreciation held for tradition and societal standards. Putting on pants in this fashion is something that many were taught by a parent or caretaker. This willingness to follow and learn from elders translates to almost every area of life for these individuals. Easily identifiable by their appreciation for food, music and human interaction, they also share a tendency to feel emotions, though their method of expression often varies.

The final telltale sign of a one-pant-leg-at-a-timer is an unbreakable will to breath. Without fail, people belonging to this group inhale and exhale oxygen through their lungs with alarming consistency, offering a dead giveaway to anyone who might hope to identify a member of this prestigious class.

Sadly, there are those that would wish to topple this tried and true way of life. “Jumpers,” as coined by those in the industry of people-classification, have the audacity to put on both pant legs at the same time.

Holding the pants in front of their bodies, jumpers leap upward, bringing both feet over the waist of the pants and planting them through the garment passages, one leg to each threshold. Through a complex leg-straightening maneuver, jumpers keep their toes pointed downward until the final moment when they can straighten out their feet for a clean landing.

These “people” share a number of despicable traits: they frequently experience injuries to their toes or legs; they tend to feel nothing, hating all of the things that most people enjoy; they care nothing for human contact; they demonstrate an absolute apathy towards everything (other than their insistence on putting on both pant legs at the same time). Famous jumpers include the likes of Voldemort, Sauron and Ramsey Bolton, though confirmation of their jumper status is lacking.

The threat jumpers pose to society is extreme, making it critical that one-pant-leg-at-a-timers unite to create a better world.

As some say, there are two types of people in this world.

Lewis and Carroll

Confused skies. Kevin Kilgour

Charles Carroll was a many-sided boy. Full of stories, he was what his teachers called “a dreamer.” Of days, that is, but of many other things, also. He stood out. His hunger for knowledge was tangible and often prompted inquisitive adults to ask for his favorite subject.

This was one of the rare questions that could give Carroll pause. What was his favorite subject? He could solve math problems with eloquent ease before turning to a writing assignment and completing it with formulaic brilliance. Truthfully, he loved them all.

Unfortunately, this was not an acceptable response. At least, it was unacceptable to Carroll’s parents.

It is often the case that our parents’ opinions matter significantly more than the opinions of others. So it was in Carroll’s case. Mr. and Mrs. Carroll soon demanded that Charles approach his education more directly.

“Why don’t you study history, Charlie? You’ve done so well on your exams,” his mother suggested.

“That’s true, but didn’t I do just as well in mathematics? I don’t know which I prefer. Wouldn’t it be better to study both and decide later?”

But, of course, one does not simply study both history and mathematics, or so his father believed. Not only was it unheard of (a mathematical historian? Ha!), but impossible. School was expensive, and the Carrolls could ill afford to fund the delusions of an indecisive child.

Charles succumbed to his parents’ better judgment and enrolled in history, disavowing all ties to mathematics.

***

Walking into Calculus lecture, Gabriel Utterson spotted a familiar face that was surely out of place.

“Hey Carroll, I didn’t know you were on the mathematics track. Weren’t you history?”

Utterson, a future lawyer, had met Carroll during orientation. The two got along just fine, but Carroll found Utterson mildly overbearing. Less polite individuals might have called Utterson meddlesome, but Carroll was, in fact, quite polite. By no accident, Utterson had not seen Carroll since orientation.

“Oh, hi Utterson. Yeah, still history. Sometimes I sit in on mathematics classes, but just for fun. Anyways, I better find my seat.”

“Later,” Utterson uttered, but Carroll had already slipped away and sat down in what Utterson calculated to be the seat farthest from his own.

Naturally, Utterson spent the entire class pondering Carroll’s strange behavior. Who sits in on calculus for fun?

The class closed with a pop quiz. Strangely, Carroll participated. As Utterson turned in his paper, he quickly rummaged through the pile for Carroll’s assignment. None bore the name Charles Carroll.

The mystery consumed Utterson. He got home and looked through the course enrollment list. No Carroll.

There was, however, one name he had never seen before. This student was enrolled in a full mathematics course load. An old article in the school paper reported that he had been awarded a full ride scholarship in an essay-writing contest. According to campus housing, the student was Carroll’s roommate.

“Lewis,” Utterson whispered.

Wheel of For[mative Experiences]

I spent more than a few hours sitting in The Wheel sports room. Kevin Kilgour

“It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.” -Jerry Seinfeld

I don’t know if Jerry Seinfeld was the first to consider how fascinatingly courteous it was of the news to fit so nicely within the friendly confines of a paper’s columns. I’m skeptical, to say the least.

I know he gave it more thought than I did, though. When I applied to be assistant editor for The Emory Wheel‘s sports section, I was too busy thinking about the Atlanta Hawks games I would cover to consider what it meant to produce a printed assortment of stories week in and week out. Visions of interviews with Derrick Rose blinded me from the looming shadow of commitment.

I can tell you now that the news (shockingly) does not perfectly fit the newspaper. The news and the space in which it fits are much more like oil and water than two peas in a pod. Trimming or expanding it into that allotted space  is a magic trick that no amount of liquid luck can alleviate.

Gradually, I took on the role of section editor and, in so doing, became a Tetris pro. More importantly, I found a passion for journalism.

In my first year at The Wheel, I wrote nearly 50 articles on topics ranging from participation trophies to Emory’s ultimate frisbee team. I became the official beat writer for men’s soccer and basketball, while covering a plethora of other sports in between. I wrote about an Emory cyclist with a habit for adventure. I wrote about an Explosions in the Sky concert that spiritually changed me.

Writing gave me a peek into the journalism world, but editing plunged me down the rabbit hole. The Wheel was no longer just an extra-curricular activity; it was a part-time job. My life began to revolve around our small paper’s weekly deadline. Yet, time and time again, I found the satisfaction that came from our weekly print edition more than enough to keep me going to the next issue.

The Wheel and its staff were my greatest teachers in college, and I can’t thank them enough for allowing me to be a part of the journey. The lessons I learned at the paper will not soon fade: Truly, Mr. Seinfeld, I will never look at a newspaper the same way.

The RoundTable

Don’t come to the table if you aren’t ready to get served. Artwork courtesy of the brilliant Tanushree Khanna.

Welcome to The RoundTable, a sports radio show co-hosted by Kevin and Deepu on Emory’s student-run station, WMRE. Airing Sunday’s at 3PM ET, tune in to hear Kev & Deebs debate the hottest topics in sports.

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