Shock and Awe (from Univ. on Watch: REMASTERED edition)


The next step in contesting admission seemed obvious to me: pummel the English department into submission using “shock and awe.” The plan was simple: bombard the department with paperwork. Inundate them with busywork until everyone in the department collapsed from sheer exhaustion. I would achieve this with course petition slips, grievances, long rambling emails, handwritten notes, and anything else I could find that drew on the department’s energy.

The faculty’s energy was being depleted daily, if not by the normal events of the semester, then from my doing. But what exactly was I doing? The disconnect between what I thought I was doing and what was actually happening widened by the day, and by semester’s end I envisioned a new reality that was apparent to me alone. Now that I understood the department wanted nothing to do with me, I would create new language (meta-power) to alter the admission decision. If I couldn’t have language, then I would destroy it.

“What did you do this time, Jacques?” students asked as they passed me in the corridor. I was almost certain they knew what I was doing because I had been clear from the beginning of the campaign about my intentions. I would simply respond, “Oh, you know, dropping bombs!” Later, as my condition worsened, I simply said, “Poufff!” and gestured with my hands to indicate a bomb exploding. But these students had no idea what I was talking about. They had no idea whatsoever.

Every day, I ramped up the bombardment. More notes! More emails! More everything! Finally my health worsened to the point that my notes and emails were completely indecipherable and unreadable. By then the semester was almostover, and it seemed to me that I had won. Professors’ offices were closed and locked. The department was operating with a skeleton crew, apparent by the dwindling number of staff. But the absence of people was due to the impending summer break, not the metaphorical bombs.


  • Article By :
    J. Peters writes on his lived experience, and also brings his story into his work. J blogs daily on his site and for other sites around the United States and Europe, bringing his passion for mental health to consumers everywhere.

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