Campus superstitions are no laughing matter

Chris Slattery

As many of you likely noticed, yesterday was Wednesday, the 13th. And while there are no slasher movies based on a Wednesday (even though the adult entertainment industry has certainly capitalized on the phrase “hump day”), there is the ever-present unluckiness with any 13th day of the month.

I myself am a very superstitious person. I carry an entire rabbit with me (because simply carrying a foot displays a lack of commitment to the idea) and haven’t gone home in the three years since my mother brought in a stray black cat from the harsh Michigan climate.

College campuses are also full of superstitions. While some other (lesser) universities have hocus pocus stories about star-crossed lovers meeting at some random landmark, Grand Valley State University has legitimate mythology that students should take very seriously.

For instance, GVSU has the Transformation Link — a massive, metal, barn skeleton that could easily join the Blue Man Group, if its auditions were open to inanimate sculptures. Legend has it (and by ‘legend,’ I mean ‘freshman orientation’) that anyone who walks through the Link backwards (that is, from completed end to uncompleted end) during finals week will fail his or her exams.

It’s similar to walking under a ladder, except that campus security doesn’t haul you away for climbing to the top of a ladder.

I seldom even look at the Transformation Link these days, wary of its mighty powers. I am certain of the science behind this bold claim as it is so obvious that academic success depends on where one walks. Moseying through a dismantled structure only ensures that the mind dismantles itself and any knowledge attained through studying evaporates.

Why do you think the protesters preaching underneath have a problem with forming logical arguments?

Another solid legend revolves around the Robinson/Copeland/Kistler buildings and their collective sordid past. A little bird told me that these buildings used to be used for a prison. The little bird went on to claim, “I did, I did taw a puddy tat!” but that was less helpful.

The narrow windows were meant to deter prisoners from escaping (which, as we found out last year, does not discourage drunk girls evading DPS), and the curved hallways provide some kind of… something — I’ll leave the explanation to the architecture majors.

Now, this was not simply some lame allegory comparing school to penitentiary. For one, we all know that a metaphor like that is ludicrous, although “Saved by the Bell: The Prison Years” would have been a much more entertaining show.

The superstition says that anyone who announces a “10 p.m. lockdown” within the walls of one of the buildings will be woken in the middle of the night with the disembodied voices of insane men shouting.

And it won’t just be your noisy neighbor watching “Everybody Loves Raymond” either.

My point is that we should respect the history behind these stories. They may seem silly to you (and we’ll see how silly it is when I don’t get shanked in a dormitory), but they are a part of the ongoing narrative of GVSU.

And now it’s time to eat some Lucky Charms cereal. You never can be too careful.

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