Chloe Fellwock is a sophomore advertising major and writes “Full Dis-Chlo-sure" for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Chloe at email@example.com.
Classes have started up again, and as part of my schedule this semester I’m taking a humanities course through the Honors College.
According to my professor, the class’ objective is to attempt to define what it means to live a good life. The great thinkers of the world have spent their lives grappling with that question… why didn’t they just take this class?
As we’ve done with all eternal questions, we consult the work of a man who probably thought pickles were witchcraft and drove 1820 Carts.
This week, we studied John Keats’ “Ode to a Grecian Urn.” It’s a beautiful poem which evokes such theories as “Maybe the urn itself represents the universal and timeless human experience while ironically containing the ashes of someone who proved to be mortal.”
Or, the equally chilling, “maybe he just likes urns.”
In a recent class session, I made a comment on this stanza:
“Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.”
After I commented on it, my professor said, “Yes. Well, we can see that Keats is really going through something here.”
“Yeah,” I replied, “tuberculosis.” Because Keats would go on to die of tuberculosis. Seems pretty obvious he was going through something.
Most of the class was silent. Only my professor and one of my friends chuckled. But even as they laughed, there was a stifled reverence at the fact I had cracked a joke about a famous dead man.
When I relayed this story to my dad, I thought, “What if I evoke the anger of Dead Poet John Keats? What if he haunts me?”
Then I thought: What will Dead Poet John Keats do, anyways? For that matter, what would any ghost from the olden days do?
I have always been afraid of the darker supernatural, and it’s not that I don’t fear demons, evil spirits or garden variety poltergeists. That’s not the case. But with this I realized that your run-of-the-mill ghosts just aren’t that scary.
Take a look at any horror movie. A family that’s by far too accepting of the incredibly low price of a gently-used Victorian mansion moves in. And that night, what happens?
Doors close. Cabinets open. TVs and radios flick on.
I’ve had worse happen to me while babysitting, and frankly the risk of the kid not liking me and not getting hired again is scarier than anything ghosts can do. You think I’m intimidated by moving furniture? I’ll just put it back! If you do it frequently, I’ll become “swole,” as the kids say, from moving it and then you’ll be too scared to mess with me. If I really get sick of it, I can tape things shut and unplug my electronics. They won’t know how to plug it back in. Try messing with my magic voice box now, ghost.
In addition to not understanding modern technology, these ghosts probably aren’t the most progressive folks. They haven’t kept up with our social progress.
Let’s say some ghost comes to haunt me. They’re gonna take one look at me and be too terrified to do anything. They’ll probably think I’m a witch, with my voting rights and wearing of pants.
To them, I’m the real threat. I have a level of power that any ghost could only dream of.
But just for fun, let’s say this ghost is more courageous than I give them credit for. Let’s say I come home to a house just crawling with ghosts. Or say I go and visit a friend who lives in Elliott Hall. We all know that place is haunted!
I am prepared.
Tactic One: Paint your nails red. This is a subtle one, but think about it. Nail polish wasn’t a thing in the United States until the 1920s. When this absolute relic sees your bright red nails, they will assume that it is, in fact, blood on your hands. They’ll know you’re nobody to be trifled with and flee the premises.
But let’s say you don’t want to do that or it doesn’t work. Let’s move on to Tactic Two: Assert your dominance by haunting back. They’re causing a ruckus? Simple. Go to your kitchen and start opening everything. Turn on the blender. Blast the radio. Run around and slam things shut. Do whatever they do to you. While you’re running around, scream, “Oh wow! Look at that! I can move things too! I’m turning on the blender! Causing a ruckus! And guess what else I can do? RESPERATE, YOU COWARD!”
If they still aren’t gone, here we go, Tactic Three: The Shyamalan. Invite all your friends over for a movie night. Make snacks, get comfy seating. Pop in a copy of The Sixth Sense and turn out the lights. When the little boy says, “I see dead people,” jump up and shout, “Like you, you pathetic ghost! That’s you! Get out of my house, sicko!’
If these don’t work, call a priest. But I feel like we can handle Dead Poet John Keats, or any ghost for that matter, on our own. Yes, even the Elliott ones.