Street | Humor
Wait, are those still a thing? Yes, yes they are. I, too, had the same doubts last week when I realized I had an assignment due in precept the next day, and I needed to at least glance at the readings to complete it. I clicked my way to E-Reserves, ready to knock out a few hundred pages in one swoop. It was blank. Not a single excessively long academic paper to be seen. Instead, I saw that my only option to access the elusive literature was purchasing a Pequod. A $98, 700-page collection bound in bright yellow construction paper. As I signed the receipt for this celebrated academic pamphlet, I wondered whether my intense hatred was perhaps misplaced. Was my rage blinding me from the Pequod’s pertinence?
For starters, let’s talk about the name “Pequod.” What does it mean? Is it an allusion to the fictional whaleship of Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick,” meant to represent the sea of knowledge I was metaphorically about to set sail on? Or does the etymology go back further? Perhaps it is a reference to the Pequot Tribe that inhabited the Northeast in the 17th century: the tribe’s name derives from the Algonquian word, “pequttoog,” meaning “the destroyers.” Is the Pequod a destroyer of ignorance? A destroyer of modern technological advances that enable articles to be displayed on a virtual platform? The mystery of the word draws me in even as the injustice repels me.
Further investigation into the origins of the Pequod led me to an intriguing website that seems to be the home of the modern Pequod. Under the header “Specialists in serving acadmia,” the website lists a variety of services offered by the Pequod Copy & Print Center. Course packets are only the beginning. This enterprising organization also binds theses and prints brochures as well as various other promotional literatures. The fun doesn’t end there though. In a shocking twist, they also offer a variety of Pequod gear (fact check if you want — this is real). This includes men’s and women’s wear, as well as a dog T-shirt emblazoned with “Pequod” in a rugged orange and black font. It’s hard to hate something that makes paraphernalia for man’s best friend.
Although the canine curveball significantly dampened my desire to tear the Pequod office apart, I could still feel the bubbling rage in my heart every time I glanced at the putrid yellow cover of my course packet. Was there any way to defend this five-pound testament to mankind’s disregard for the trees and Mother Earth? That was it. I needed to let go of my artificial concern for Mother Earth and focus on something more important — myself. This five-pound monstrosity was a testament to the trials and tribulations I faced by attending an elite institution of higher education. If you think about it, there is nothing satisfying or validating in storing your readings on a computer. No one wants to sit and watch you scroll through your readings as you try to convince them that your workload really was “the worst” and that you had far more reason to complain than any other college student. However, pulling out a 700-page collection of the entire semester’s workload — now, that’s a showstopper! That is whipping it out and proving once and for all that yours is bigger, and there is really nowhere else the conversation could go. No words necessary.
Luckily, the usefulness of the Pequod doesn’t end with workload pissing contests. Looking forward to the conclusion of the semester, you are enchanted by thoughts of summer and happy to put the past 12 weeks behind you. Unfortunately, the lingering remnants of your classes — textbooks, novels, lab books — plague your transition into summer daze. Although book buyback and a moral aversion to reenacting “Fahrenheit 451” prevent you from disposing of those relics, there is nothing stopping you from annihilating your Pequod. With no refund prospects and commitment to your vow of never looking at another 19th century American document, light it up. That’s right. Burn that baby to bits. Sure, it’s basically burning about $100 out of petty spite, but the past 12 weeks will have distanced you from the initial financial sacrifice. What better way to welcome summer than to burn a physical representation of the past semester to ashes? It will be therapeutic, I promise.
But until then, Pequods will remain in our backpacks, if not in our hearts. We have no other choice.