It’s happened before, and it’ll happen again, with increasing frequency as Finals Week approaches. You need to use a computer, and enter our new Info Commons, only to find it overcrowded. Surely there’s a free terminal SOMEWHERE, but the question is, how do you find it?
#1: Be Really Tall
This first step is essential. If you are tall, say 6’3″ and above, you have a tactical view of the Info Commons layout. You can spot the black-and-coffee screensaver of an idling terminal from twenty yards away, and know in which direction to head.
If, however, you have the misfortune to be vertically challenged, we are sorry, but you will be forced to enter the Labyrinth. You must walk in circles, rounding each desk to be sure an unused computer isn’t lurking behind it, peering around corners. It is probably advisable to carry a compass. In the event that you become disoriented and forget which way the Info Commons entrance is, do not panic! Remember that moss is more likely to grow on the north side of desks. If neccessary, send up a flare or build a signal fire, and someone from the Info Commons HelpDesk will send out a guide to assist you. Rest assured, only three students have died of starvation in the Labyrinth since the Info Commons was constructed. The odds are in your favor.
#2: Be Really Fast
You will not be the only student looking for a terminal. In fact, the chances are that the entire student body of Binghamton University will be inside the Info Commons at the same time you are, as well as most of the faculty and a substantial percentage of BCC’s population. They will be standing around all throughout the Labyrinth, and unfortunately that means when a computer becomes free, someone else might be closer to it than you are.
Speed is of the essence. Before going to the Commons, we recommend you practice cutting-in-front-of-people skills. When entering a classroom, see which chair a classmate is heading toward and try to get there before him. Get ahead of people in line at the Food Court. When you have mastered these skills you will be ready to race in the Commons.
If you are not fast enough, and the other student is about to sit at the computer, it may be advisable to kick the student’s groin or elbow the student’s throat. Then, while they are distracted, you can sit down and log in.
#3: Harrass People
If no unused computer terminals become available, you can try to force one open. Find a student who is using a computer in a non-academic way, such as using AIM, Facebook, or Myspace. Ask if they’re done with the computer. If the answer is no, crouch down beside them. Stare at them with a blank expression. Do not answer when they speak to you. Do not move when they try to push you away.
If this technique proves ineffective, ask “Are you done yet?” at a rate of once every three seconds. Studies show that this will dislodge most computer-users in under ten minutes’ time.
If your subject proves to be one of the tenacious 3% of the population, begin pelting them with spitwads or fecal matter until they leave. Student-removal techniques such as Wet Willies, Atomic Wedgies or Swirlies are best left to the professionals and should be used only as a last resort.
When the student moves on, calmly sit down and log yourself in.
#4: The Ol’ Switcheroo
When a student prints something out, and leaves the computer to go to the printer, sit down quickly. Log the student off and log yourself in. Open a word-processor document such as a half-finished essay and spread your gear around the desk in such a way to suggest you have been there a long time.
When the student returns, act very engrossed in what you are doing. Chances are the student will already be disoriented by the twisting passages of the Labyrinth and will assume they’ve come to the wrong place. If the student demands that you leave or insists the terminal is theirs, act shocked and offended. Command them to go away. If they persist, hit them with the keyboard.
#5: Last Resorts and Miscellania
–Pull the Fire Alarm. Follow everyone out. Stay close to the doors. As soon as you are allowed back inside, race for the nearest terminal and log in.
–Attack a random terminal user from behind. Try to make it a killing blow. We reccommend the Neck Break or the Windpipe Crusher
–Scream out loud that George W. Bush is visiting campus, and is making a pro-war speech at Dickinson quad. Hand out protest signs to the students as they file out.
–No matter what, while in the Information Commons DO NOT LOOK UP! If you do, you may see the Binghamton University administrators watching you from the second floor balcony, while scientists take notes. You may discover that there is no computer terminal at the heart of the Commons: only a peice of cheese as they take you back to your cage.