Let me introduce you to the fourth floor of Sheldon Court.
Notorious for its silence and empty fridge, Sheldon’s fourth floor is most certainly not the center of Collegetown’s night life. If you don’t already know, Sheldon Court is an upperclassmen dorm located directly across from Collegetown’s famous CTB (College Town Bagels) and the entrance of Cornell University. On any given Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night, you could easily spot a handful of college students stumbling around Sheldon Court’s entrance waiting for friends before starting their search for a good party. However, inside of Sheldon Court, the social environment is very different.
In defense of the notorious fourth floor, I want to point out that silence in not necessarily a precursor for boredom. We, the residents of the fourth floor, engage in the same amount of dorm floor shenanigans as any other floor or dorm on campus. We’re just more…quiet about it.
Now let me introduce you to two of our floor’s most common sources of harmless pranks and mysterious shenanigans: The Batman and Arnold.
These two residents are not actually named “The Batman” and “Arnold.” Their nicknames began to stick as it became more and more difficult to talk about their adventures without simultaneously getting them into trouble. These two undergraduate students are also one another’s roommates—a decision by Cornell’s housing office that I will never fully understand. They’re both very interesting and fun people to talk to; however, they also have the tendency to give our RA (residential adviser) and myself miniature heart attacks from time to time.
Arnold and I have been engaged in a prank war for some time now. Although it started with minor annoyances (i.e. pushing all the elevator floor buttons whenever the other was trying to go downstairs), we gradually reached a point where something larger needed to occur. The Batman, seeing this point as an opportunity, eagerly joined in to help me get back at Arnold. Hence, we begin the story of….
The Disappearing Lounge Furniture
A few nights ago, Cornell University found itself in an electrical black-out. It only lasted 20 minutes, but it was just enough time for all of the fourth floor residents to exit their rooms and engage in a conversation that would last until early the next morning. Arnold and The Batman also left their rooms and, right before Arnold decided to leave Sheldon Court for some unknown errand, he decided that the best way to exit the lounge would be to pull my chair from underneath me and make me to fall heavily onto the floor as he walked over to the elevator.
That was when the dominoes began to fall.
I wanted to get back at Arnold to balance out our prank ledger, and The Batman happened to have a key to Arnold’s room. A few other residents of the fourth floor decided to join in on our brainstorming session, and finally we all decided that the best way to get back at Arnold would be to crowd his room with chairs. So we took a few chairs from the floor lounge and stacked them in a pile on his bed. But it didn’t look drastic enough. So The Batman grabbed a few more chairs. Then some residents decided that the sofa should go in there as well.
Then the table.
And our other table.
And our wet floor sign.
In short, it didn’t take very long before all of our floor’s lounge and kitchen furniture was settled cozily inside of Arnold’s room. How no one—let alone our RA—came to realize what we were doing as we traveled down the hall with sofas on our backs is beyond my comprehension. However, as we stood staring into the confines of Arnold’s room, I have to admit that we felt proud of our accomplishment.
We decided that we would leave the furniture in Arnold’s room until Arnold came to see it. Then The Batman would knock on our doors and we would all come to both witness Arnold’s shock and to help The Batman replace the furniture. The lounge would be returned to its original condition, all before any of the maintenance staff could come in the morning and be any the wiser of our plot. There was, however, one key issue with our plan….
Arnold never came home.
He stayed overnight at his girlfriend’s place. No Arnold meant no knocking. No knocking meant no group return of the furniture. No furniture meant the maintenance staff came in at 8am and saw nothing but a bare floor and panicked. And, as to be expected, a panicked maintenance staff meant that our RA was quickly knocking on our doors at 8:30am to ask if any of us knew where the furniture was.
With quick looks and steady nods, our floor-mates all managed to plausibly deny that they had anything to do with the furniture. When it came to The Batman and I, however, our RA was a bit more suspicious. Careful with his words, The Batman promised over email that the furniture would be returned by the late afternoon. The exchange, in itself, was a treasure. Only The Batman could be so diplomatic as to be able to both diffuse tensions and avoid any culpability whatsoever.
So our entire floor once again came together to remove the furniture from Arnold’s room. Arnold, who had missed the entire extravaganza, came to laugh at our failed prank. I reminded him, however, that our failure only meant that I still owed Arnold a prank to balance out our ledger. Although Arnold didn’t seem too frightened by my threat, he did immediately turn to The Batman to try and work out a truce. Arnold thinks he has succeeded, but I doubt that The Batman will change his pranking ways anytime soon.
The purpose of this story was not only to introduce you to The Batman and Arnold, but to show you the interesting culture of Sheldon’s fourth floor. To anyone who had walked by later that afternoon, they would have thought that the floor was a boring place. However, had they only been there but a few hours before, they would have seen one our floor’s greatest landmarks: our disappearing lounge.