“From too much reading and too little sleep, his brains dried up and he withered his wits.” – Don Quixote
Ahh... Reading Week at Reed College. Yes, it's intense enough to deserve Capital Letters. There's a stim (stimulants) table in the lobby of the library, stocked with chocolate, coffee, mate (MA-tay), green tea, black tea, 'dragon tea', ginko pills, ginko extract, guarana, Vitamin B12, nicotine, wasabi, caffeine pills, piracetam, and many more obscure and barely-legal stimulants.
This array is meant to facilitate the re-reading of your entire syllabi from all your classes - for me, this means that in the past four days I've re-read The Iliad, Works & Days and Theogony, Greek Lyric, The Presocratics Reader, Herodotus' Histories, The Oresteia, The Bacchae, Antigone, Oedipus the King, and nine chapters of Biology. Ooooh, aaaaahh....
See, here I exhibit typical Reedie tendencies, as defined in Theresa Swayne's article, "Stress Culture at Reed":
"Academic life at Reed is strongly flavored by what I call the 'stress culture.' Within the stress culture, social life consists of agonizing aloud and at length about how much work one has to do before an audience of admiring colleagues...This may be accompanied by the exclusive wearing of black, a cultivated gaunt and haggard look" (observe)
"and an addiction to caffeine and/or nicotine... The high holidays of the stress culture are Reading Week, Finals Week, and Thesis Day. Its acolytes are freshlings in the throes of a Hum(anities) paper; its novitiates are those taking the junior qual(ification exam) or, perhaps, organic chemistry; its adored saints are seniors in labor with the T-word" (that is, the Thesis). Note my skeptical expression:
I think, perhaps, that some good old fashioned 'chilling' is in order. I hereby declare yesterday an anti-holiday, in which I will not succumb to the cracked-out obsession with studying, slumped over a stack of textbooks and lecture notes until your back feels as if it will never be whole again.
So, as I said, that anti-holiday was yesterday, so today must be the day I re-read Plato's Republic and the Trial and Death of Socrates! Once again, ooooh, aaaaah....
(See? I'm agonizing aloud and at length, for "the litany of suffering is recited incessantly to the exclusion of other activites, such as actually getting the work in question done.")