My second school was a school for smart kids where posted on all doors were little signs that said “pull” and we’d stand around and argue and debate and pontificate and procrastinate and obfuscate and subliminate about who should push and why and in what manner said pushing should—I mean could; no value judgments, please—commence while faculty and their sycophantic phd lackeys looked down upon us pre-Raphaelite-minded serfs from their gothic windows with antediluvian disdain and high-minded amusement. We never got anywhere, never got in, most of us. But we talked a lot, and used a lot of adjectives. And some of us sure looked the part, forlorn and inelegant and transparent as mirrors.
At first astounded by our callow pretension, I then realized it’s everywhere, if it’s even here too in a place like this, I thought, remember thinking, the last locale-type on earth in which I in my querulous delusion expected such philistinism might lurk, however inadvertent it was, however unknowingly ironical, which was probably what killed naïve, wish-hopeful me and replaced him with naïve, embittered but seeing me, still gazing at the proud towers but aware of the petri dish. So I tried to push my way out but only ended up falling through the cracks in my own façade and stumbling into a hallway of mirrors I’m still learning to call home.
Vonnegut schooled there too, leaving without his degree, and he said the secret ingredient in his books was the absence of villains. “Society can be a villain, just the way a mother can be,” he said. Society can also be stupid, a sum of pushing parts at a pull door.