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THAT Drinking Fountain

January 24, 2009 at 12:32 am
By Collin Hazlett

(In which I describe THAT drinking fountain.)

On the third floor of Carleton's Language and Dining Center, there is a little, fairly innocuous-looking drinking fountain nestled in a little alcove of the corridor.  The only warning that something is wrong about this drinking fountain is that the wall opposite the drinking fountain's spout is mottled and bumpy.  Other than that, it is a perfectly inviting drinking fountain.

When I first encountered this drinking fountain, I, as any normal thirsty person would, leaned down and pressed the button.  The fountain, in retaliation, shot out a high-pressure blast of water that splashed all over my face and the opposite wall.  Apparently, this happens to anyone who pushes the button down all the way, and the constant spraying of water across the far wall causes the paint to get all bumpy.

This drinking fountain is infamous at Carleton.  Most people have been splashed by it, and most people will know what you're talking about when you mention the drinking fountain in the LDC that splashes people.

I have it on the authority of several knowledgeable sources that another drinking fountain on the same floor will reduce the pressure of THAT drinking fountain so that, while the second drinking fountain is on, THAT drinking fountain operates like a normal drinking fountain.  This has become the basis of a recurring Carleton prank in which the perpetrator holds down the button of the second drinking fountain before the unsuspecting victim begins to drink from THAT drinking fountain, and then releases the button while the victim is drinking, such that THAT fountain instantly reverts to its wicked nature and splashes water all over the face of the victim.

So why am I talking about this fountain?

Because I wrote a play about it, that's why.  Doesn't it always come back to that?

If you're a fan of my plays, you can read it here.

I am also proud to report that I wrote an improved version of the Script Virus that managed to get everyone in the audience up in the stage for a massive dramatic stage death.  It did this by being lysogenic, not lytic: it doesn't kill everyone as soon as they are infected, but gives them a short line of dialogue and instructs them to stay on stage until everyone is in the play, at which point the virus reverts to its active state and everyone dies at once.  This worked much better.  I was told afterwards by those in charge of Chelsea that this was an awesome play and that I should never attempt to do anything like it again.  Don't worry, I am satisfied with having won once.

Some unrelated information from my classes:

The ancient Greeks believed that the spirits of the disgruntled dead infected those who wronged them with "miasma," a sort of curse that can be spread unwittingly to other people just by talking to them or eating with them, and causes bad luck and crop failure.  We spent most of Classics today talking about miasma and its role in ancient Greek society and the legal system.

Also, any sequence of random numbers in which the next number in the sequence is dependent only on the number before it can be expressed as a "Markov Chain."  These have awesome mathematical properties and an equally awesome name.  Doesn't it just sound cool?

One last cool unrelated thing:

My cousin Jonathan wrote a 6-page essay for English class on Alexander Pope entirely in heroic couplets (pairs of rhyming lines in iambic pentameter).  He just emailed it to me.  No, he doesn't know I'm telling a bunch of prospective Carleton students about it via this blog.  But I figure it is my duty to tell you these things, because That Sort of Thing Happens at Carleton.


  • January 24 2009 at 5:50 pm
    Claire Weinberg
    Haha, hooray for Jon! Was the assignment to write it in heroic couplets, or did he just decide to go crazy? Also, thanks for the drinking-fountain warning.
  • January 24 2009 at 11:41 pm
    Collin Hazlett

    Nope!  Writing it in heroic couplets was definitely not part of the assignment.

    But Pope loved heroic couplets, so why not?

    Definitely the coolest essay I've ever seen.  Even the quotes are formatted to fit the iambic pentameter.

  • December 11 2009 at 6:09 pm

    If i was not already convinced that I absolutely NEEDED to go to this school, the fact you used the terms lysogenic and lytic in reference to a play you wrote has made me want to go here more than is possibly imaginable. 

  • December 11 2009 at 6:10 pm

    "THAT SORT OF THING HAPPENS AT CARLETON." You have bewitched me, body and soul.