Saturday, March 25, 2006

Theory of grad student (d)evolution

I have been incommunicado as of late, I realize this. This is due partially to general laziness, and partially to the fact that I leave to Kuwait on the 30th and have been scrambling to finish up papers before I leave. I'm presently submerged in the exciting debate over civil society in the Middle East. Does it exist? Does civil society exist anywhere? Is the concept even useful analytically? Dontcha wish your homework was hot like mine, dontcha, dontcha? It shall all pay off however, as I will be going to visit my father in Kuwait, will tag along with him to a conference he's attending in Singapore for several days, and then will visit an old highschool friend of mine who's currently living in Dubai. Throughout this period I hope to reacquaint myself with the "sun" which I hear is supposed to be a bright, warm orb that hovers in the sky and is meant to be quite pleasant. I wouldn't know, I haven't seen it in about 6 months. But yes, I am very much looking forward to that.

Amidst procrastinating for writing papers several friends and I were sitting around the kitchen musing about life, the universe and everything. When we got done with that, we started contemplating how completely dysfunctional everyone we know here is. Living in a graduate student-only residence, the level of dysfunction, or what experts refer to as "fuckedupedness," of the grad student community became brazenly apparent. We went through and identified numerous dysfunctions in everyone we live with. The only person who seems to not display outward signs of dysfunction appeared to be Nesma, but then again, she revels in associating with a bunch of highly dysfunctional people, which is a dysfunction in and of itself! As I pondered this quandry (i.e. the disproportionate instance of fuckedupedness in the grad student community) one thing became gradually clearer: we're not meant to be here.

By "we're not meant to be here" I simply mean we grad students are not meant to exist. Possessing absolutely no practical skills, being generally averse to physical exertion, and lacking basic survival instincts and common sense, graduate students signify a segment of the human population which should have been done away with through natural selection millennia ago. Consider this, if a plane full of graduate students crash-landed on a deserted island, the new residents of said Island would have two priorities:

1) Figure out how to ferment coconut milk into alcohol
2) Identify interesting topics of research on the island (a process significantly aided by Cocohol)

As you can see therefore, there is no way we should have survived thus far. Having slipped through the cracks, however, we carry with us multiple recessive genes which are outwardly manifested vis-a-vis our high level of dysfunctionality.

Several theories exist as to how we managed to make it this far, but none are entirely satisfactory. The graduate student's proclivity towards leeching off his/her parents/banks/scholarship committees for extended periods of time points to a genetic predisposition towards attaching him/herself in a parasite-like fashion to a host that is better equipped to survive in the wild. This may point to the secret of the grad student's survival. Research in the field is ongoing...led by a team of graduate students.