Reports from the depths of Latrobe Hall claim a near-mythical happening: the sighting of a civil engineer. As always, the intrepid staff of the Black and Blue Jay were first on the scene to investigate.
We came upon the sight of a grown man hunched over a desk, surrounded by empty bottles of Hennessy and the splinters of what the man states was once a perfectly preserved Babylonian abacus from circa 2500 B.C.E.
The unarmed man identified himself as a senior assistant professor from the Whiting School of Engineering’s oft overlooked Civil Engineering department. He tearfully explained how the venerable field of civil engineering at Johns Hopkins was reduced to a lone man with a (now broken) abacus.
“I’m all that’s left. They’ve turned off the heat, the water and the power. We haven’t gotten money in a while — I think some intern accidentally deleted us from the budget spreadsheet but no one noticed. That would’ve been… around 2008?” The engineer’s eyes glazed over as he confronted the past.
“It was just my boy Jimmy and I for a while. We told ourselves: ‘The show must go on!’ And it did for a while. We survived off Snickers and Altoids, and tried to research. Then my TI-84 broke and I couldn’t afford a new one. But when Jimmy was sleeping I used my compass to rip his kidneys out and sold ‘em online. I bought this abacus we saw on Ebay real cheap, sold by some poor history major-turned-unemployed-junkie. HA! Idiot should’ve studied something USEFUL!” The professor sneered to no one particular.
He then rambled on about how his initial enthusiasm to use the same abacus as the builders of the walls of Babylon, which faded when he realized he could not read the Cuneiform that was used in the Uruk IV period. His frustrations were only amplified when he realized the abacus had no substitute for the “Tetris” application he had often used on his old calculator.
Eventually, the abacus’s stint in civil engineering was ended by a drunken rage that ended the meticulously preserved and millennial old relic. The professor ended our interview with an emphatic “Fuck it, I’m going into consulting” before absconding back into the darkness of Latrobe.