Genius: Freshman Puts out of Order Sign on Shower So No One Else Will Use It


Photo by efes / CC0

Freshman Brian Harrison (W ‘21) was more than excited to come to Penn. He couldn’t wait to start his new college life, and meet all the other extraordinary people in the strongest class Penn has ever seen.

Wide-eyed Brian thought college would be a walk in the park. He got along with his roommate, loved the dining hall food, and found a cool group of friends. Everything seemed to be going well until he counted the rooms in his hall.

Brian’s hall in Hill College House had 34 residents, but only 3 showers. With some quick arithmetic (Brian scored a 770 on his SAT Math), he concluded that each shower would be used by around 10 people.

“That won’t do,” Harrison thought. “At home, my shower was only used by one person— me. It’s so unfair that the administration expects us to share a shower with a bunch of strangers! Like, no other university does this."

Clever Brian came up with an idea. He hopped onto Photoshop, which he was extremely familiar with from all his nonprofit experience, and designed an authentic “Out of Order” sign. He then printed 80 copies (in case they were taken down by maintenance) and taped one onto the shower he had selected.

“Honestly, they wouldn’t even want to share a shower with me anyway. I kinda shed a lot, so my hair gets all over the ground. And sometimes I’ll splash water everywhere so the entire ground gets all wet and disgusting. I don’t want to get into it too much, but I think that the rest of the hall will appreciate me for this. I’m only doing what’s best for all of us.”

So far, Brian has had a few close calls with his crafty ruse. He was spotted once emerging from an “Out Of Order” shower, but with some quick thinking on his feet, got out unscathed and revealed nothing.

“I just told him I was helping track the water levels in the shower,” Brian explained. “That’s why I was in flip flops and had a towel with me. I was really surprised I was able to think of that on the spot -- I guess I can react quickly in situations like these.”

Brian hopes that no one catches on to the curious case of the indefinitely broken shower, but will be reaping the benefits until they do.