Graffiti on a Ryerson 358 desk

We're talented and bright, we're lonely and uptight.
Watermark, The Weakerthans, anticipating the UChicago condition.

I took my first year of college calculus in a classroom denumerated Ryerson 358 at the University of Chicago. The college has played host to its fair share of graffiti, as archived by Quinn Dombroski in Crescat Graffiti, Vita Excolatur. On November 18, 2012, I tried to transcribe as much as I could of the graffiti in the classroom I'd visited so often my first year.

Many repeated phrases found their way from desk to desk; the mysterious numbers from the TV show "Lost" will be found time and again, and so will the calls to "Free Kenan" and the exploits of the cryptic "Zhou" and the Chicago legend, Davin Reed. In symbols mathematical and otherwise, class after class has left their literal and figurative mark here.

I tried my best on the Greek, Hebrew, and even runic characters, but there are some Asian scripts that I didn't know where to start copying over. So I don't claim that these are complete copies--far from it, in the case of some desks where most graffiti is too dim to make out, and the many pictures that I couldn't reproduce either. And I haven't always distinguished where one person left a message and someone else altered rather than respond to it; yes, "anal sex" did turn into "Banal Essex," both of which felt worth copying down, but oftentimes I've only left the "final" version in the list. Moreover, the "list" format isn't necessarily an accurate summary of these desks, either; some entries separated by others here are in reality quite close to and perhaps commenting on each other. You may want to draw your own interpretations.

And, no, none of the Ryerson graffiti is originally my doing. I will not confirm or deny rumors about my legacy in Eckhart Library.

Those disclaimers aside, enjoy the virtual tour of Ryerson!

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