Last Sunday, a self-organized misery poker tournament swept through Swarthmore, leaving chaos and unfinished problem sets in its wake.
Witnesses report that the first signs of impending disaster came early Sunday morning, when Swatties in states from Virginia to California reportedly woke up to the nasty feeling that they had two weeks worth of reading, an assortment of papers and a long-forgotten midterm to attend to.
“Where did my October break go?” asked the classes of 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 to an assortment of uninterested listeners, ranging from parents to unopened psychology textbooks.
“It’s like we never even left campus,” added the entire class of 2016.
Spontaneous outbreaks of misery poker left their mark on an unprepared campus. In McCabe, the onrush of anxious students overturned shelves and carrels, filling all four floors and leaving Swarthmore’s largest library reeking with a combination of stress and half-digested pasta bar.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a survivor noted that, “When I saw two grown men fighting over whether math or economics problem sets are harder, I knew that some people weren’t going to get out of there in one piece.”
“Let’s be honest, my grad school apps are a lot bigger deal,” noted the senior.
In Sharples, the situation deteriorated rapidly. By Sunday evening, 237 students had decided to skip dinner. According to a Phoenix tracking survey, 100% of those who did dine at Sharples spent their entire meal complaining either about their workload or Mitt Romney.
The tournament, which had not been announced by any campus group and did not receive any SBC funding, was the best-attended Swarthmore event in over a decade, with all 1,460 students making an appearance.
Meanwhile, professors and the administration alike struggled to come to terms with the crisis. In the aftermath of what witnesses have already begun calling “Black Sunday” in reference to the epidemic-like qualities of Misery Poker, the administration has created a committee led by Psychology Professor Barry Schwartz.
“Our best chance to prevent this epidemic is to apply my research on the paradox of choice,” said Schwartz at the first meeting of the Misery Poker Truth Committee. “If professors assign approximately twice as much work as they already do, then the plethora of choices will leave students paralyzed with indecision and no threat to anyone else’s sanity.”
The tournament ended just as swiftly as it began. At 3:15 a.m. on Monday, Admissions Dean Jim Bock was declared the winner.
“I have to spend every waking hour sorting through applications from obsessively over-extended high-schoolers,” said Bock.
“I knew I should have taken that job at Haverford,” he added.
At press time, the class of 2013 had decided to take a nap before heading back to McCabe.