Bacon is Good

by Mark Shahinian | 5/4/98 5:00am

So here's my dilemma: as a student at what will soon be one of the world's great research universities, which of man's two purposes do I try to fulfill? Do I reach for the Baconian or the Hobbesian ideal? For those of us less well-versed in philosophy, the Baconian ideal consists of finding ways to incorporate bacon into every part of your diet. I'm talking breakfast, lunch, dinner and DDS.

The Hobbesian ideal, of course, is that we all act like imaginary tigers. I've had some difficulty trying to convince people that I'm an imaginary tiger. Even sitting in the Hop and growling at people doesn't seem to work, although I usually get a table all to myself. So, the Baconian ideal may be more realistic at this point in time within the present male-dominated Eurocentric culture.

The Baconian ideal, as everybody knows, was named after Iowa hog farmer John Bacon. He was educated at the University of Iowa, a large research university where he learned to use fancy lasers (unfortunately, they were later moved to make way for a boathouse) on his way to getting a degree in Master Science. This degree naturally led to hog farming (this is Iowa) and the obvious conclusion that bacon is one of the two major food groups, the other being cheese.

Getting back to the point, though, now that the stock market has hit 20,000, the President says it's OK for us to sleep around, Pol Pot is dead and gas is a dollar a gallon, the only thing I can do with my life is struggle to incorporate bacon into my diet. Sadly, my inferior knowledge of plasma physics and other Master Sciences continues to hamper my quest.

Yesterday, for example, I tried to fry bacon for breakfast, but then forgot that you have to add 273 K to the temperature and I ended up with frozen bacon instead. Lunch was little better. I don't count myself among the brightest youths, because I did not receive secondary schooling in C++. I'm sure that's why I couldn't get the microwave to work. Finally, my carefully planned romantic dinner didn't go so well. I have to confess, I don't completely understand this one, but she didn't seem to take to the main course of bacon sauteed in wine sauce. She suddenly remembered she had to call her grandmother in Florida and, oh yeah, she was joining a convent. You're not the first, I told her. Damn, I should have studied harder in Chem 5.

I blame my unfulfilled Baconian ideal and my unfulfilling love life on Dartmouth College's "focus on undergraduate education." To do justice to its students, Dartmouth must move to increase its Total Worth (TW) according to the equation know as the CalTech Law (see below).

Currently, Dartmouth falls far short of where it should be. Take my Chem TAs, for example. Nice people, probably brilliant, but some of them spoke English, which is a big no-no in the Master Sciences. If you can't weed students out with non-English speaking TAs, how else are you going to do it? Then there is the issue of Nobel Prizes. Even Most Famous Graduate Daniel Webster: not a Nobel Winner. How can I hope to become an Uber-Student (and therefore an Uber-Person) when I can't wash the glassware of Nobel Prize winners?

The theoretical maximum of TW is, of course, Haavahd. This is what we should strive to be when we are not scheming to become Supercluster residents. Now I am going to let out Dartmouth's Big Ugly Secret, hold your breath: All Dartmouth students were rejected by Haavahd and have a secret longing to wash the glassware of Nobel Prize winners. If Dartmouth radically increases its TW, we can look forward to more classmates who go far beyond what is assigned in class. We used to call them nerds, but now as we move away from the Eurocentric tyranny of language, they are referred to as laziness-impaired individuals. For those of us who study only for exams, content in our mediocrity, perhaps there is some future as itinerant philosophers or White House interns.

I am on the verge of giving up my quest to Baconize my life, but thankfully it is not too late for others. Future generations of Dartmouth students will use particle accelerators and pick the brains of many Nobel Prize winners in their quest for culinary perfection. I will be gone in two months, though, with a tear in my eye for having wasted all that time on Ancient Greek. Maybe I'll go back to imaginary tigers. Grrr?