PRATIE PLACE

Friday, April 14, 2006

Life with Zed

I am here visiting Zed at Wesleyan. Student life here is extremely amusing in some ways. For example, last night Zed took a plastic spoon out of his pocket and explained to me that he was involved in a campus-wide game of Assassins.

If you don't know Assassins, it works like this. The coordinators assign you a name of someone you may or not know. Over the coming days, at your own pace, your assignment is to identify, track down that person, and hit them with your plastic spoon. At the same time, someone you don't know has been given *you* as her target, and her goal is to hit you with her own plastic spoon.

If you get hit by the plastic spoon of your assigned assassin, you are out of the game. Last student standing wins the game.

A few concessions have been made to allow the students to live more or less normal lives. For example, you can't tag someone in a dining hall (we don't want speed chases through the dining hall), in bathrooms (for obvious reasons), or in classes (ditto). Additionally, you can't tag someone in his own room (However, there is a "vampire clause:" if the victim *invites* you of his own free will into his room, you are then allowed to kill him there.)

The Assassins game that Zed is playing involves kids from his dorm and kids from a different dorm a few blocks away. The student life coordinators set it up between these two dorms in order to encourage more contact between them, as there are few friendships that bridge these two dorms.

Of course, this backfired horribly. Whenever Zed meets people from this dorm, he is immediately terrified that they are only being friendly to him in order to kill him, and he tries to get away as quickly as possible. The student life coordinators could not have invented a better way to encourage general paranoia and inter-dorm antagonism if they'd tried. At least one of Zed's friends is so nervous that she is barely leaving her room this week.

So far this morning, things seem quiet.

But I'll keep you posted.

--Melina

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