Rob a Bank for the Regents

Stress invades the undergraduate life. Classes coalesce into a festering, many-tentacled ball of hate. School becomes a deceptively cute dog that bites you on the ass every time you turn your back. Where does it start? What influence from below turns the learning experience into the loathing experience? What evil mastermind sits at the head of the table, cackling wickedly as students are crunched beneath the soles of his minions? The lord of the situation is none other than one BIG question: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie-pop?

Sorry, just a little gooney humor to brighten your squalid, broken existences. The real wracking question, the one that cracks Jimmy’s corn, the one that impacts colons, the one that flattens you beneath a life- sized, copper statue of James Earl Jones is: What is your major?

This question is associated with all sorts of barbed nastiness. I mean, this is the whole shooting match; your future depends on it (says L&S counselor, “95% of the graduates do not have careers which involve their major.” So, why are we here? Right? Right.). Many people see the essential paradox as a sort of two-pronged evil. You can choose to major in something really cool and enjoyable, and most likely end up starving in the street (or becoming an L&S counselor) or you can choose the lucrative route and end up wealthy and full of self-loathing. Decisions, decisions eh? Of course, there are some people out there who were born to be lawyers, have known their goals since weaning, and have Spiderman-like upward mobility. Kill those people.

So, you end up in the gutter, clutching your art degree in one hand and a half-bottle of cheap cooking wine in the other, while some rich bastard who majored in soil science is running his successful soil factory, producing billions of tons of prime dirt per hour, wishing that he remembered what fun meant before he’d found out about sod. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

There is an alternative.

Though Berkeley is known for having a large variety of majors, there is a crucial area which has been wholly ignored. This unrepresented field of study would provide students with exciting opportunities as well as sound careers. The field is crime.

It is time for the powers that be to recognize that students need a balance in their educations. Crime majors would provide all of the essential future security as well as interesting courses that an undergraduate could need.

The complaints about increasing casual crime and random acts of violence have been spiraling ever upward. To think what a little education would do! We wouldn’t have to put up with these two-bit punks. We wouldn’t hear sad stories about sloppy muggers botching a confrontation and making off with only a set of headphones for their efforts. The streets would be occupied by professionals. The terms “thug”, “hood”, and “yob” would disappear from the public vocabulary as common criminals are replaced by Berkeley-educated art-thieves, con men, racketeers, gun-runners, hijackers and safe-crackers.

Look at the possibilities for a piracy major. Many of the necessary classes are already in effect. Fencing, naval sciences, metallurgy (to determine whether the doubloons and pieces o’ eight are real gold or not), and oceanography are all existing courses which would create a well-rounded pirate that Cal could be proud of. New classes would include:

  • Human Biodynamics 5: Introductory Swashbuckling
  • Human Biodynamics 60: Killing Without Remorse
  • Psychology 196: Topics In Cruelty
  • Linguistics 93: Pirate Dialects on the Spanish Main
  • Integrative Biology 45: Parrots
  • Upper division coursework would include plundering along the Berkeley Marina.
    Who wouldn’t want to take these classes? The sea and the pirate way of life call to everyone. The appeal is huge. I dream of being the first pirate to graduate from Cal, a-hoisting the Jolly Roger to the top of my mast and scoring my share of loot for the brotherhood of seaborne bandits and the Golden Bears.

A concentration in crime could take the gluey, Cream of Wheat chunks out of the major decision. It would give the hapless student an appealing option. This bias towards legality has gone on long enough! To all Regents out there (I know that you read The Squelch. After bedtime. Under the covers. With a flashlight.): introduce these criminal course options. And put a million dollars in non-sequential, used twenties in the Squelch box in Eshleman. Or else Oski doesn’t eat tonight.