Eve Taft, Cowgillian Scholar
The culprit in Old Main’s recent collapse has finally been uncovered. During a particularly stirring lesson on Thoreau’s bean fields, Professor Robert Cowgill, amazed by a piece of student insight, flung himself backward into the whiteboard, causing the former seminary to collapse in on itself. The only casualties were humanities students and thus, shall not be counted.
Those familiar with Professor Cowgill’s teaching style know that it can be hard on the infrastructure of the school. Cowgill has been known to wave his arms expressively, knocking students, faculty and staff out of the way; to throw himself into walls, to ride around the classroom (and indeed, the school) on a wheelie chair at unprecedented velocities, and to flambé pork kidneys in class.
As English Department classes are always either relegated to the prison cells below Foss or the dangerously ramshackle Old Main, disaster was bound to strike sooner or later.
At 2:45 p.m., a student pointed out possible erotic connotations in Thoreau’s gardening habits. Cowgill, elated that someone had done the reading, spread his arms wide and tumbled into the whiteboard.
At first, nothing happened. Then, according to Professor Cowgill, the walls began to shake slightly. Tiles fell from the ceiling. “I’m used to at least three ceiling tiles crashing to the ground in a normal Old Main class,” said Cowgill. “But this was at least seven in quick succession.”
Shouting “Life is good!” Cowgill hurriedly evacuated the students through the second story windows to the UrnMort parking lot where they watched the building become rubble.
The student who had made the comment in class requested anonymity. Sources reveal that they were the only student to have completed that week’s reading from Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden.” In fact, this student was the first to completely read “Walden” in the history of the University (and perhaps the world).
“There’s actually plans for a working time machine in the last chapter,” said the student. “I guess no one’s ever read that far.
Professor Cowgill will be moving his “Literature Written in Emerson’s Backyard” seminar to Walden Pond itself, in Concord, Mass., or, failing funding, the nearest bean field.
This article first appeared in the Friday, April 6th Edition of The Echo.