On the sunny Hilltop, surrounded by friends and with basketball season already upon us, it’s easy to be smug about our life at Georgetown. But, is that the whole story? Are your peers really so well adjusted? To paraphrase the excellent 1930s radio show – and, later, the awful 1990s movie – The Shadow: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of Georgetown students?” Georgetown tends to be a celebration of the “higher” things in life – things like accumulating knowledge, caring about their fellow man and boring stuff like that. To the extent that there is public graffiti, it is in the form of chalk on the ground telling us to end the death penalty. In short, even our vandalism is socially conscious. But there’s one place where the deepest fears and desires of the Georgetown student body come pouring out in a torrent of warped thoughts and twisted doodles that will frighten you to your very core.

Well, maybe not all that frightening, but if you want to find out what’s really lurking in the deepest recesses of the minds of your fellow students, there’s only one place to go: Lauinger Library. Go to a study desk on the first floor and start reading the scribbles on the wood. But be prepared. Your fellow students are, to put it clinically, seriously screwed-up. From the obscene, to the trite, to the artistic, to the ones that flat out don’t make any sense, we seem to be hopelessly compelled to write and draw odd stuff all over the library desks.

Based on an extensive, analytic study, I’ve separated the scribbles into four categories. First, there’s the cliche. This encompasses the predictable “PLM ’02” or the embarrassingly mushy “MK + RI = Luv.” This is amateur stuff – left by students with the urge to vandalize, but nothing interesting to say. It’s the graffiti equivalent of an N’Sync song – a string of tired hackneyed old phrases that were barely original 50 years ago. And then there’s the person who needed to carve the numbers 34 and 13 into wood to determine that their sum is 47. Come on guys – stop wasting valuable writing space with this drivel!

The second category is the school related. There’s a lot of “Biochemistry Sucks” or “I Hate Physics” on the desks. But, there’s a reassuring camaraderie to some of these lamentations – a lonely “I’m F-d” drew six separate “Me too’s.” Well, it’s always nice to have company.

Next, you have your depressing comments. I won’t spend too much time on this category because, well, it’s depressing. But the levity of most of the scribbles is occasionally broken up by an anguished “I’m afraid of dying alone.” That’s really depressing. Possibly even worse is the woeful “I should be boozing right now.” At least for that guy, someone helpfully offered “There’s always tomorrow night.” No such supportive advice for the “dying alone” person, unfortunately.

Finally, there is the most interesting category of all – the sex-crazed. I’ve always felt that Georgetown students were no more or less obsessed with sex than the general population. And, if our biological urges were going to arise anywhere, I wouldn’t have thought the library would be the place. But if the desks are any judge, the main emotion that late night studying arouses is horniness. Seriously, I’ve never seen such a density of phallic drawings in all my life. There are discussions among at least three different people – based upon my intensive handwriting analysis – about the sexual practices of one particular female student. Who, by the way, should call me as soon as she reads this.

Freud would have had a field day with this stuff. Here we are at one of the most elite universities on the planet – the living embodiments of the superego. But give us a double dose of No Doz and total anonymity, and just watch those ids rage. The library and the phallus. It’s the intellectual and the primal all rolled into one sleep-deprived ball.

We’re getting toward the point of the column where I draw a comically broad conclusion from the feeble body of evidence I’ve previously amassed. Here it goes: the writing on the desks in the library represents the collective subconscious of Georgetown. That’s because vandalizing a library desk is among the few truly anonymous modes of communication out there. The ever-diversifying ways that we talk to one another are all great. But honestly, is Instant Messenger any different from e-mail, or mail, or the telephone or just having a conversation with someone? It’s more convenient perhaps, and you can add little smiley faces to take the edge off your meaner comments, but it’s hardly a massive departure. When it comes down to it, you’re still talking to friends and acquaintances that know you and could show up at your door with concerned looks on their faces if you say the wrong thing.

The library desk, on the other hand, is totally safe. You can draw your best rendition of, well, anything you’d like, or scribble some obscenities that I won’t reproduce here without fear of being asked about it the next day. And that seems to be exactly what people do. So I encourage you, if you haven’t done so already, to head down to Lauinger and find out just how messed up your fellow Hoyas are. And if you by some chance see a portrait of a nude woman crafted from silver Sharpie, a green felt-tipped pen and what appears to be dried blood, let’s be clear on one thing: it’s not blood, it’s just a red magic marker. How do I know? Well, that’s another column altogether.

Jeffery Lowenstein is a junior in the College and can be reached at lowensteinthehoya.com. Take It or Leave It appears every other Tuesday.

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