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Every so often, a freshman going off to college fails to adjust properly to the sudden freedom. Without parents constantly looking over his shoulder, the frosh will become markedly less responsible, in extreme cases ceasing to bathe, do laundry, or eat properly. Normally, such people shape up within the first few weeks of their college career, having realized that smelly people who eat only junk food don't normally attract dates, but every so often there will be a frosh who just doesn't get it.

About twenty years ago, one such frosh wound up on Fifth East, in the East Campus dormitory at MIT. He was the worst kind of irresponsible frosh- he not only never bathed, but he apparently only had one shirt (his favority, lucky, silk shirt) which he wore constantly. He wasn't terribly sociable to boot, and spent most of his time in his room. His hallmates were hoping that he'd shape up in a week or two, but a month went by and he still always wore that same shirt.

Now, there's a tradition at MIT, more common then than it is now, of Shower Night. The night before the first 8.01, or Freshman Physics, exam, upperclassmen take whatever freshmen they can find and stick them in the shower, clothes and all. Many freshmen, you see, forget that they are on Pass/No Record grading, and think they have to study madly for that first exam. They're usually wrong, and the upperclassmen try to get them out of that mindset using a good soaking.

That year, the upperclassmen went out on Shower Night to find their hall's frosh. Most of them were fairly simple, but then they found the subject of our tale. The freshman begged and pleaded not to be showered, but to no avail. As far as the upperclassmen were concerned, this was going to be his only shower for the month, so he certainly needed it! When it became clear that despite his protests, the showering was inevitable, the freshman tried one last plea: "Go ahead and shower me if you're so determined, but let me take my lucky silk shirt off first!" The upperclassmen considered it, and then tossed the freshman into the running water, shirt and all. After all, the shirt hadn't been washed in two months either.

The freshman survived the showering, and after that he became a much nicer person to live near. He starting bathing regularly, wore more than one outfit, and even started hanging out with his hallmates. The upperclassmen, who had been a little worried after his outburst on Shower Night, relaxed and decided that all the freshman had needed to turn into a real person was just a good wetting.

The frosh hadn't forgotten, though. One day, a few weeks later, one of the upperclassmen who had assisted in the showering came home to discover a twenty-five gallon garbage can sitting on his desk, on top of all of his papers. The can was full to just over the brim with water, just waiting to spill. The upperclassman laboriously started emptying the can drop by drop until the water level was low enough that he could pour it into a larger can on the floor in front of the desk. Very carefully, he started to tilt the garbage can to pour the water... and discovered that the bottom had been removed, and that his room and papers were now entirely soaked.

The next week, the second of the upperclassmen who'd participated came home from class one evening, put his key into the lock, turned, and watched in bewilderment as the door (key and all) flew straight across the room until it hit the window. The hinges, you see, had been carefully removed, so that the only thing connecting the door to its frame was the latch.The radiator had then been removed from the connecting pipes, tied to the doorknob, and dropped out the window.

The third upperclassman came from a large family, and was in the habit of spending hours in the bathroom reading, since it had been the only place he could find any privacy growing up. The freshman carefully painted the hall toilet seat with conductive paint, attached some wires and a power source, and waited until the upperclassman went in with a magazine. After about ten minutes, when the upperclassman had time to finish his business, he flipped the switch. The reading habit mysteriously ceased shortly thereafter.

Now at this point, the fourth and last upperclassman was extremely nervous. A week went by, and he started asking friends to open doors for him, and looking out for people following him. Another week passed with no signs of retribution, and the paranoid upperclassman started spending more and more time in his room, waiting for the other shoe to drop. As the weeks went by, and nothing happened, the poor upperclassman's nerves got worse and worse, until eventually winter break rolled around and he fled home to recuperate.

And so the freshman got his revenge.

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