Fenno sat in the bathroom stall, listening with great interest to the two females whispering near the sinks.
“So I said to him, either you eat it or you are sooooo voted out of my bedroom.”
Fenno coughed once, and the giggling girls bounded out of the restroom like a herd of frightened kangaroos. Apparently, Survivor fever wasn’t just sweeping through the nation’s trailer parks.
Fenno tried to stand to exit the bathroom, but her legs refused to cooperate. One of them was sound asleep, and the other was severely injured. The sleepy leg was typical. Various parts of Fenno always fell asleep when she was on campus – usually Fenno herself, usually while she was sitting in class. Today, she had hoped to avoid napping by bringing her laptop to class and plugging it into the new Ethernet jacks installed, at great expense, at every desk in Langdell North. She had looked forward to surfing porn during class, not to mention ordering large quantities of drugs for delivery to the Reagan birthday party, but, of course, the Ethernet jacks were turned off. Why else would the school install all that high-tech infrastructure, if not to disable it immediately?
The other leg – it might have been asleep, too, so hard to tell – had been injured the day before in a fit of physical aggression directed at one of the broken photocopiers in Langdell Hall.
To be exact, it was the sixth broken photocopier Fenno had encountered that day. Numbers one and two, in the Lewis Center, had gone by almost unnoticed. Kinda like the Lewis Center itself. Yet these were merely minor setbacks, speedbumps on the road to copying bliss.
Number three, in the Hark, had started the mercury rising. Please wait while copier warms up, it had said. It never warmed up, not in five years. Is it too much to ask for functional copiers for $30,000 a year?! I could get a kindergarten teacher for that much.
Fenno had angrily gathered her books, hat, gloves and overcoat and stormed off to Langdell in search of full toner cartridges and stocked paper trays. Surely the library, sweet bastion of all that was holy and good at Harvard Law, wouldn’t let her down.
Copier number four was on the main floor of Langdell, conveniently situated to take advantage of the sights and smells of the men’s bathroom. Especially the smells. Must be fajita day in the Hark, Fenno thought. This photocopier, too, was broken. Broken like the wind. Now Fenno could feel the anger building.
She climbed the stairs to the second (also known as the third) floor, home of the big green copiers. The first one she went to had a paper jam. Fenno started to laugh.
The absurdity of it all brought a wave of near-euphoria over Fenno. What can you do? she thought. I mean, this place is just a complete mess.
Fenno’s anger seemed to have passed, and she was happy to find that the sixth copier, which had a feeder, worked fine. In fact, it was chugging away happily when on page 31 it just gave up the fight. No amount of clearing and re-setting would get it started again, and then disaster struck.
Fenno glanced around to see if anyone was looking as she kicked the copier. Twice. Hard. So hard, in fact, that she sent one of the paper-catchers flying off the back wall and left a 12-inch crack in the side of the machine. With the adrenaline gone, Fenno realized that her ankle had swollen to twice its normal size and was throbbing heavily.
That had all happened yesterday, but the pain had not yet subsided, so after class, Fenno headed off to UHS to see a doctor.
Fenno told the nurse about her condition and was led almost immediately into a prep room and instructed to disrobe. She readily complied. “The doctor will be right in to see you,” said the nurse. “Meanwhile, I’ve got a patient in the other room bleeding from the ears, eyes and rectum. They’re positive it’s Ebola, I’m gonna diagnose it as carpal tunnel syndrome.” The nurse left chuckling.
Forty-five minutes later, the doctor hustled in. Ignoring her leg completely, he immediately diagnosed her with social anxiety disorder. “You’ll need to go on a Paxil regimen. Two pills twice a day.”
“Anxiety? What are you talking about? I broke my foot!” said Fenno. Gee, I wonder which drug company bought this guy off? she thought. The doctor ignored Fenno’s outburst and quickly scribbled out the prescription.
Never one to let a good opportunity pass, Fenno asked “Can I at least get some Prozac or some Zoloft with that?”
“They’re in a jar by the door, next to the M&M’s,” said the Doctor.
Good to know, thought Fenno.
“Aspirin?” asked Fenno wistfully.
“You’ll need a note from your parent or guardian, signed in triplicate. And notarized,” the Doctor sighed.
Fenno grabbed a handful of these anti-depressants-of-the-week and limped back into the tunnels, where she was almost knocked over by a phalanx of liberals wielding staplers and brightly-colored flyers. Apparently, the Society for Sex, Law and Rock & Roll had decided to respond to the recent pro-life poster campaign. They were covering every available bulletin board with flyers reading, Smile: Your Mom F***ed Your Dad.
Nihilne sanctum est? Is nothing sacred? Fenno thought sadly.