Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Life in an Upper Echelon Divinity Library

Lately I've been cramming for a paper I have due on Friday. I have been taking advantage of the Vanderbilt University Divinity School Library, and have spent many hours in there looking up books and articles relevant to my paper. In just the last couple of days, I've had a few experiences that I thought were worth least for the sake of keeping a diary of what's on my mind.
  1. F-Bomb. Though I've heard it before, and I'm sure I will hear it again, it is weird to be in a divinity library where everyone is presumably studying about God, and to hear people beside you have a conversation about partying hard and utilizing the F-bomb while they talk. Vanderbilt is quite the different environment than the Harding Grad School.

  2. Bathroom Graffiti. I don't make it a habit to whip out my camera in public restrooms. But I was the only one in there, and I saw this on the wall in my stall. If you're wondering what kinds of things people write on the walls of upper echelon divinity library bathrooms, here's a sample.

  3. Little Mystic Man. For a couple of days while I was in the library, I noticed this very tiny man who looks like Genghis Khan's shorter brother. I've seen him the last two times I've been there. He isn't even close to being 5' tall. He has wild long black hair, a long beard to match, and long, dirty fingernails. Vandy places a huge emphasis on diversity, and you'll find people of every race, sex, and nationality there studying theology...except for average white guys. I haven't seem many of them.

    So I noticed this guy a couple of days ago. He was sitting on one of the high stools at a computer 2 or 3 down from the one where I was working. His feet didn't reach the foot rest, and were just dangling loosely. He was typing away, single-key pecking with great intensity. Deep down I began to really wonder where he was from and what religion he followed. When you see someone that outlandish at an elite school, you figure they're probably a genius of some sort. So as I watched him work with such ferocity, I was wondering what he was pondering. Was he reaching into the depths of reality and experience he's had from around the world to make some profound observations about the meaning of life? What could have this little guy so worked up? What was he looking for in his research? Would it blow my mind just to try and understand it?

    Again, yesterday, he showed up after I did, taking the computer a couple down the row from me. He had a taller friend help him climb up onto the chair, where his feet were once again dangling, and he began pecking away again, with the same intensity as before. I figured he must be on the verge of enlightenment for sure.

    I just had to know what he was working on. So I finally managed to find a reason to squeeze past him. When I did, without him noticing, I paused to glare over his shoulder at his computer screen and to learn what was captivating this small mystical person.

    He was Facebooking.


  1. Great story

  2. I am lovin the bathroom graffiti. I am pretty amazed at the level of intelligent vandalism...

  3. Mark - I enjoy reading the blog. I like using the divinity library at Vandy, and my favorite moment was hearing about how two students were going to get "so wasted" after a Greek exam. Fascinating.

  4. Don't know... I can tell you from experience that if you'd have to spend a couple of weeks reading liberation theology, you'd be pretty likely to want to get wasted yourself...

    But hey, f** it.

  5. Ah yes. Good old liberation theology. Between that and reader response criticism, you can get pretty worn down and jaded.

    Andrew: glad you stopped by. I'm trying to figure out if I know you or not.

  6. I agree with the Dabbinator: great story.

    Also -- this is just a little nitpicky -- Vanderbilt is technically not an Ivy League school.

  7. III: You are correct, sir. I just learned something.

    Though they may not technically qualify as "Ivy League", they definitely reflect this self-perception in their tuition costs. :-)