Nightlife is a big part of student life. After spending your days squinting at microfilm, searching for leads on your next big assignment, mixing bubbly chemicals in the hopes of finding that next big cure, or pounding yourself into that dusty old pommel horse again and again and again, the evenings are really the only time to let it all hang loose.
Students tend to enjoy nightclubbing, karaoke, merry camaraderie and other figments of joy. Through systematic logic and painstaking research, which I haven’t the time to cover in any sufficient amount of detail, but suffice it to say that I have done the research in one way or another, I’ve found that a lot of students only do those things because of a compulsion to support the peers that surround them. It becomes a sort of reverse peer pressure as each student, in fulfilling this peculiar altruistic obligation, has it reflected back onto him or her by the very same force. So Jack agrees to go bowling with Jill only to support Jill’s need to bowl, while Jill’s need to bowl is only out of a necessity to fulfill Jack’s desire to bowl with Jill.
To be sure, I know that that’s why all students do any of those things. You might think you enjoy activities, but you don’t.
The obvious reaction to this information is to accept it as a trifling curiosity and continue on, but in fact it matters very much in the end. It’s sad really. What happens is, in time you will grow old and you will lose something special, something altogether integral to how you view yourself during this present time of youthful glee. All the things that can make you smile now will cease to do so; all those little things that can make you cry will lose their serenity and leave you wincing in humiliation. There will be no wistful nostalgia; you will look back on your youth with disappointment. You will look at your present with disillusionment. Even worse, you will look at your future with dread.
Luckily, my experiments have led to extensive testing to one day cure, or, more realistically, to mask those dire outcomes. Be careful though: if you try to enjoy any one of these things like you enjoy the things that you now believe that you actually enjoy, you will not enjoy them very much. You need to savor these activities; let them soak into your psyche. Allow them to permeate the nether-regions of your mind, beyond the reach of any social impressions. In time you will grow old, and when you do lose that special something — and you will surely lose it one day — you will still be able to look back on your activities at the very least with a little bit of self respect. The goal of these exercises is to eliminate a majority of the long-term memories that you will retain from this stage in your life. A secondary benefit is that you will become less social and far more easily entertained. Whereas before you might have needed to go for drinks with friends to have a nice time, after weeks of these exercises you should be able to get by with just TV and Bagel-fuls.
One important thing to remember about the following activities is that they are not meant to be meditative. If you sense that your mind is moving to a state of consciousness anywhere above flatness, discontinue the activity immediately, take two Bagel-fuls and watch TV for at least an hour. Try again later.
Staring into a corner
Though the name sounds meager, this activity yields the highest bang for your buck of anything I’ve tested. Just sit on a chair, or preferably the foot of your unmade bed, and pick a corner to watch. Now, don’t just watch that corner, but think about it intently.
The breathing technique that I have found to work best while performing this activity is called “the gape.” To initiate the gape, open your mouth. Next, breathe in slowly, or at normal breath speed, then pause, or don’t pause, and then slowly breathe out, or breathe out regularly. The important points are a) not to breathe more quickly than usual, and b) not to breathe through your nose.
As you sit gaping and staring, you might eventually sense that nothing is really happening. That’s good! Time will slow down, you will start to feel cumbersome and with any luck you’ll end up questioning what you’re going to do in the next few moments. That’s the magical moment of staring into a corner. Grasp that moment with all your might and toss it a few moments into the future. Any time you sense the notion that you should be doing something else, toss it a little further into the future and you’ll be free to enjoy the corner a little while longer.
Lying on the floor
Similar to staring into a corner, this activity is more sedentary, and it must be done in the late afternoon. For this one, we’ll use a closed-mouth nose-gape.
Choose a poorly lit room and lie down right there in the middle of the floor. If there’s a light on, shut it off. Try not to think of anything, and wait until the room gets just dark enough that it almost seems like you could go to sleep. At that point, sit up lamely and try to decide what to do next without thinking of anything in specific terms. So perhaps you could think about maybe doing something involving a different room of the house, or something maybe warmer, or even just nothing.
Looking at air
This one is a bit tricky, but the beauty of it is that you can do it absolutely anywhere, anytime.
Find a spot that’s not too comfortable and sit down. If you have access to an empty room, the best is to put a folding chair in the middle of it. Once seated, begin gaping and do your best not to focus on any particular shapes in the vicinity, but rather on the air between you and those shapes. It takes some practice, sort of like a magic eye, but you’ll get it.
The optimal duration of each exercise is 1.5 hours per day. In the event that you fall asleep while performing these exercises, start over when you wake up. Enjoy!