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OP-ED: My Name Tent Doesn’t Define Me, My Pensive Sighing Does

Photo by Oscar Eichmann

It looks like Gravesend, today, as I glance left, right, and inwards from my front row seat of MGMT 3010 and I can't help but think about what I'm doing it all for. I choose to absorb, to consume knowledge, to let ideas permeate the membrane of my consciousness until I've postulated a higher thesis on the class content. Today I am self-actualizing: this class is showing me my value, our value; let us derive value together. 

I've got a complaint, and buddy-oh-boy is it multi-faceted. 

This pithy system known as 'participation' feels like an attack on my intellectual ideals. There is a flimsy joke of a name tent in front of me; Professor knows me only by its content. The eroding specks of black ink give me substance; whenever I raise my hand, it is this name tent that quantifies my being, gives me value, allows memory of my past wicked ideas. 

But, Mary, I fear I'm not that kind of thinker:

I torment myself needlessly with tasks to consume the void of my cog-like existence, facilitating the propagation of capitalist ideals until my Maximiser mindset surmounts the Satisficer. 

I constantly explore the ways in which our individual, special snowflake talents might combine to produce a synergy, Dios Mio, which might allow us to achieve more together than individually. 

I wonder, ugh, about my OCEAN or CANOE personality spread. 

I'm a thinker, not a paper pusher. 

Further in my mind palace: 

I see engrained in this folded gloss paper the various layers of mulch and labor squelched and pressed deeply, intrinsically into its very fabric. I see the squid, milked for their ink, who gave their lives for its fair construction. I think of the elephants, vaguely. 

Yet my professor, my peers, see just a name tent. Because of me, the name tent's value, its unique traits and whole origin story are erased, and I just don't think that's right. This is my Chernobyl. Add in the fact that I never raise it, and that is a deadweight loss I am unwilling to overlook. I have truly ventured so far up the river that I am now coming to see the rigid mistakes of my earlier form. Eliot had it right, I have explored. 

And so, please, signor, let us move on from this weak tchotchke. I, and my name tent are more than my name tent. 

Instead, let the rhythmic sighing I'm emitting spark joy for us all. 

The horror, goddam the horror.