Popular Opinion

Columns | monatoemboel | June 2013

Once upon a time my friends and I went on a field trip to a crumbling fort dating back to the 17th century and looking it. A fitting backdrop for the old-as-time dilemma every student of philosophy has to face sooner or later: Do we admit to studying philosophy and accept the consequences or pretend to be astrophysics majors instead?

We didn’t know our fellow field-trippers so introductions were inevitable. It was a med student who "popped the question."

After a moment’s hesitation, I finally mumbled "philosophy," and hoped for the best. Expecting the default blank stare, an eye-roll or amused snort, his reaction caught me quite off guard. Coming to a halt, he eyed me strangely.

"Oh no, you’re gonna fuck with my head now, aren’t you!?"

Not the most quick-witted person, I just blinked and responded with an incredulous "no?" I had never heard that one before.

Apparently uncomfortable in the company of a philosophy major, he fell silent. Yet after awhile, he tentatively asked, "So. What do you do in philosophy?" This time, I had an answer. "Oh you know, everything," I said and thought about it for a moment, "and nothing, really."

And he gaped at me and exclaimed: "See? See? You’re doing it already!"

I didn’t see him again after that.

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