How to not be watched


If you're in the Hub, do not look up from the paper. They're behind you, in front of you, and above you. They're always observing. They are the Watchers. 

Scholars maintain that the creepy table bars built on the second floor of the Hub were originally intended for students to mind their own business and eat a meal. However, since the inception of the Watcher Booths, the area has only been a breeding ground for Facebook stalkers taking a break from the Internet.

Have no fear, baby Tigers, for I am here to help protect you from their constant stares and not-so-subtle laughter. Yes, they're laughing at you, not with you.  

First, I ask that you take a copy of The New York Times, National Enquirer or some other credible newspaper and put it on the outside of the newspaper you are now reading. No, you're not reading Marty McFly's 1950-2000 Sports Almanac, but the Watchers make assumptions based off of what they see. Which brings us to… 

Disguises. If they can't recognize you, they may stare more. But if you consistently bring different disguises, their brains will have trouble processing their prey and eventually give up. Don't be afraid to wear a hat to the Hub. Not something too big, because they'll see.

Also, remove any of those sparkly authenticity stickers on baseball caps that people have decided is cool to never take off. Would you leave the sticker on an apple before eating? No. You know what else had shiny authenticity stickers on them? Beanie Babies. The Watchers are attracted to shiny stuff, so it's not worth it (and avoid those old silver disco pants from that 70s-themed party). 

The Stare Back. Any brave readers of this article may have already snuck a glance over their shoulder. They were watching, weren't they? If you truly want to prove your dominance and eat that overpriced fruit cup in peace, stare back. Say to yourself "I am a basilisk. Their stares can't penetrate me. Hissss…" Occasionally, the Watcher will engage in the staring contest, but that's usually a defense mechanism. Eventually, all Watchers look away.  

The Long Shot. Many of you may have noticed the mini-basketball hoop has been placed back into its annoyingly inconvenient position in the Hub. Utilize this. Every time a goal is made, the conversation-interrupting buzzer sounds. Contrary to the rest of the Hub, this buzz scares away the vigilant Watchers. Some theorize that it reminds them of a time when they were social and went to sports games. But I support Pavlov's Facebook Theory. Every small beep of the buzzer reminds them of a Facebook chat message. As everyone knows, Watchers only eat when on Facebook. Instantly, the Watchers begin to salivate and remember that food is actually served in the Hub. 

Be Really Loud. If anything, I found that this merely draws attention to you. But with the right amount of excessive laughter and overly friendly "hello's," the Watchers begin to evacuate the Hub in pursuit of their safe, dark dorm rooms. 

The important thing to remember is the Hub is a safe place to be. Though Watchers lurk on every corner and sushi is in constant danger of being three days old, the Hub can be a place of judgment-free solace.  

If you ever feel the desire to climb that staircase to sit at the Watcher's Booth, be careful. It starts with harmless observation games about the people eating below.  

"What will he grow up to be?" or, "What Hogwarts house do you think she'd be in?" but always ends in disaster. Before you know it, you'll be staring mindlessly at the eaters below for hours. You won't recall the taste of food, nor the sound of water. You won't remember the touch of grass on your feet.  

At the risk of referencing "Lord of the Rings" too much, I will stop here. Be safe, friends. And remember, there's always the Den. 

— Jorgenson is a sophomore from Shawnee, Kan., majoring in English writing and film studies.