Combat Zone

Student analyzes peers; ascends above them

By Anna Ghram

In the ever-present quest for personal perfection and omniscience, we often find ourselves searching for answers in useless places. Many of us fall victim to the pull of capitalism and half-baked marketing schemes; many more get locked into patterns of perfectionism, addictive behaviors, and co-dependent relationships. Now, common advice on these matters usually fluctuates between “everyone is imperfect” to “everyone is perfect the way they are,” neither of which presents any useful input on how to banish lingering personal flaws.
However, one student at the University of Puget Sound appears to have stumbled upon a solution. In a complete departure from commonly-touted self-help anthems, junior Brors Smors has found himself one step closer to perfection simply through analyzing his peers.
It is an unconventional approach, but one  that is long overdue. Smors is currently in the process of marketing his approach to the general public, so if you, like the vast majority of people, have ever found yourself Googling Wikihow articles entitled, “How to Be an Adult,” then sit tight, buckle your seatbelts and get ready for some comprehensive answers.
The Flail caught up with Smors over coffee at the most popular café in town, which, according to Smors, is a hotspot for collecting intel and furthering his career as a spiritual guru. “Just the sheer amount of people coming in and out — you can never run out of things to analyze. I love to stare at people for several minutes straight and just imagine what kind of childhood trauma they must have been through.”
Pointing to an obviously dishevelled and gaunt-looking student, Smors remarked, “That’s Kenny Keane. He hasn’t slept in three days straight because of a supposed ‘term paper,’ but I’ve seen this kind of pattern consistent across Kenny’s college experience and prior years. Poor guy,” Smors sighed sympathetically. “His lack of sleep is obviously due to difficulties in executive functioning, stemming from being neglected as a baby. His inhibition and flexible thinking are not up to par with his age; in those skills his competence is most likely closer to that of a 10-year-old.”
Smors then turned to focus on a well-poised young female dressed in a miniskirt. “Over there, we can see Nora Sneeze, talking with her rather large cohort of friends. Though she may look like a normal, well-adjusted human, she uses her social status as her sole source of self-affirmation. Though she may seem positive and happy, her self-worth rests above a deep void of nothingness. It’s only a matter of time before she caves into her latent insecurities and falls into the dredges of society.”
Here, Smors is quick to inform us that his psychoanalysis is not for the purpose of aiding those so gravely afflicted. Nor is it to simply vilify them in a public and degrading way. Rather, Smors emphasized the importance of such measures for one’s own spiritual development. According to Smors himself, “It is only through deep analysis of the flaws of other people that we can begin to reach our own perfection. It’s a long and intense process, really — deconstructing people’s lives and turning these pieces into tools of self-affirmation and confidence-building.”
One of Smors’ few remaining friends demanded that he visit the school’s health center, suspecting that some traumatizing event in Smors’ own life had caused him to begin acting in such a way. Smors said that, though he definitely did not need counseling, he went out of pity for the friend. He found the visit to be wholly useless, as the counselor seemed to feel some unconscious urge to pry deep into Smors’ life. “The counselor seemed to be in the grips of some very serious psychological disorder — perhaps brought on by the interference of an overprotective aunt. I left as soon as I could.”
Though he felt a little sad about the loss of a friend, Smors maintains that his own path will be the one of greatest personal growth. “As the sole remaining human without any significant psychological damage, I’ve been really working on congratulating myself on my relative competence and lack of self-destructive tendencies.”