Reserve me a Nobel spot, book me a speaking tour, and stick me in the corner office; there’s irrefutable evidence that I’m a genius on the level of my Fulbright-endowed professor, Dr. Gene Yuss. How do I know? Just as I opened the door to leave the fourth-four, single-stall restroom, Dr. Yuss was standing there, surprised to see that I had beat him to the commode.
Our eyes locked. After a beat of silence, Yuss smiled weakly and blurted, “Tohar! I was just thinking about you. Did you see that uh,” he paused for a moment as he fumbled for a topic that wouldn’t sound profoundly awkward, “that scholarship the advisors emailed out? The Goldman Sachs Scholarship for Larry David Lovers? You should definitely apply.”
Limply drying my hands against my jeans, I managed a meek “oh yeah totally, I’ll check that out,” as I jockeyed to escape the doorframe. As Dr. Yuss squeaked “take care,” I escaped to the endless rolling horizon of hallway ahead of me, eager to forget the interaction.
By the next morning, however, I was inundated by my classmates’ murmurs. “Did you hear,” one whispered during Yuss’ lab section, “that Prof. totally copied someone yesterday? Apparently he was the second to use the bathroom that morning. And this is after he accepted that Fulbright funding for ‘first to fully chart UC Berkeley’s bathrooms.’”
By lunch, the Cartography of Commode Kinesthetics announced that Dr. Yuss’ research was under review for authenticity. An email circulated within the department cast “serious doubts on the originality of the research” while “inviting the brave undergraduate who Yuss plagiarized” to “come forward and bask in the limelight you so bravely deserve.”
By the beginning of the following lecture, Dr. Yuss approached me again for a quick “check-in” about the lab. Leaning his palm against my desk, he brusquely blurted “You know what you could have cost me? My research, my tenure, my PARKING SPOT? Yet I am loath to admit, you’ve earned my respect, you bastard. How did you get the balls to break ground on the fourth floor toilet without me? Honestly, I see myself in you – I was once the vibrant young man who saw through the charade, took risks, and pissed in whatever corner I pleased. God damn it, I respect you.”
Presently, I have been tentatively awarded a lecturer position alongside Dr. Yuss, and received campus recognition for being “among the next generation of pioneers, trendsetters, and stall-sitters.”