NYU Diaries: Diary of a Plague Year
Written by Bwog Staff
Our beloved NYU Diarist, in sickness and in health.
The Washington Square Duane Reade has run out of Airborne, that slightly suspect “Effervescent Health Formula” that brags it was invented by a teacher. Whether the stuff works or not—I’m unconvinced but take it anyway—it’s cold season, and it’s selling. [It doesn’t work —Ed.] Classes have been two thirds full, truancy caused not by the brief spurts of nice weather, as was my first theory, but by a vicious illness that’s causing we Violets to wilt. The Washington Square construction has proven useful, giving us deep pits that are an ideal final resting place for the dozens of bodies pouring out of Hayden Residence Hall every morning. The Square was originally a Potter’s Field, the site of hangings as late as the 1820s, so it’s nice to see that even in mass graves our freshmen have a taste for the retro.
As much as Columbians like to deny it, our schools do have some things in common, including rotten immune systems. If one of our Anthro majors coughs in the Christopher Street station, his collegiate germs race uptown, along the express tracks, to infect one of yours. I was up your way twice this week, and half the people I spoke to were mired in illness. (The other half were French and, like all Continentals overseas, were susceptible only to Colonial diseases, the sort more common in summer.) You are dealing with your poor health in characteristic fashion. My friend Matt, who on a good week gets less sleep than God, has sinusitis, and complained that it hurt to breathe, that his head felt like it was going to explode, and that damn it, he was going to make it to 1020 by eleven. The quinine in his gin and tonic may have softened his illness slightly, but as I said, this is not malaria season.
I haven’t seen the statistics, but based on wild conjecture I estimate 19% of the Columbia undergraduate body will not see Spring. Most will expire at Butler desks or 1020 booths, while the rest will be forced by a stern physician to seek better climate. I implore all of you to take care of yourselves—even if you must spend Spring Break catching up on reading, you don’t need to do it with a cold. I’ll propose that our student government send a goodwill airlift of Airborne once we are restocked, and in the mean time, get some sleep before you start retching up lungs.
– W.M. Akers
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