Life as a college student isn’t always as easy as it’s cracked up to be. Take today, for example.
Class started at 8am, necessitating a 7:24 wake-up. Class continued until 11am, at which time I proceeded to continue studying for my Business Ethics test over a medium coffee and an everything bagel. The test itself was conveniently scheduled for 1pm, allowing for 2 hours of unadulterated study. Post-test, I had docketed a half-hour between test time and my next class, set for 2:30, for an important phone call.
The test concluded, finishing a half-hour early, and I sought out a quiet spot for my phone call. Although my mind was swimming with the tenets of Friedman(s) and Erber, I attempted to clear my head, placing my ear to the phone’s receiver in preparation for Ethan-centric discourse.
I soon came to the realization that the person on the other end of the line was not going to pick up: an oversized monkey-wrench thrown into my fragile plans. Setting my phone aside, I realized that it was a beautiful day outside. I sought out the New York Times, provided for free to all University students here on campus. I soon deduced that it was Tuesday, and cast Sections A and B of the newspaper aside on a park bench, seeking out the Tuesday Crossword.
***Brief disclaimer: Since my senior year of high school, I have been attempting the Will Shortz-edited New York Times’ Crossword Puzzle almost every Monday and Tuesday. To most Crossword snobs (including myself) the New York Times Crossword Puzzle is the only crossword puzzle worth solving. The Times’ Crossword increases in difficulty each day: starting with the (relatively) innocuous Monday puzzle to the vaunted Sunday puzzle. Of the weekly output, I can consistently complete ~50% of Monday and Tuesday’s offerings. To this date, I’ve fully completed 3 crosswords (1 Monday and 2 Tuesdays, strangely enough.) While one might scoff at this extremely low success percentage (something like .0001), I am extremely proud of my un-abetted puzzle mastery.
Reaching The Arts (Section C) of the Times, two articles on the front pages immediately caught my attention before I could begin to perform the ceremonious “crossword fold.” The first was a review of Malcolm Gladwell’s “newest” book, What the Dog Saw, a compilation of articles written for the New Yorker (a la Consider the Lobster.) I remembered that coincidentally, I was planning on giving a presentation on Gladwell next Monday, as cast the article aside in my memory bank for later reference. The second article was a discussion of the relevancy of Political Science, a field that I just so happen to major in here at college. Again, coincidentally, I was tapped for a meeting with a university Political Science professor just the next day, and made an additional mental note of this article, no doubt planning on referencing it within tomorrow’s conversation.
Finally, I set out to delve into Tuesday’s crossword puzzle. Alas, it was 2:27, and accounting, my next class, was in 3 minutes! Sitting on a bench outside the lecture hall, I found myself hard-pressed to skip a class I was literally sitting outside of. Disappointed, I tucked the Arts section under my arm and headed into class, preparing my already-exhausted mental state for rote accounting-related acumen.
I sat down as the teacher was beginning his lecture, sitting in the same seat I religiously occupy each Tuesday from 2:30 to 3:45. On my lap sat the empty crossword, begging further inspection. I conceded, and decided to dedicate the rest of the class period to the crossword. The result is available below: my fourth completed crossword of my life. Another Tuesday, too.
Normally, I don’t submit to superstition, luck, or any other forces of chance. However, the serendipity stemming from one phone call, or the lack of one, is remarkable.