The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Opinion | Campus Scout | Scout battles writer’s block

Opinion+%7C+Campus+Scout+%7C+Scout+battles+writers+block
Amy Sanchez

“Hear ye, hear ye! It’s time to go to sleep!”

If you had the misfortune to encounter this proclamation in the past few days, The DI submits its deepest apologies. Campus Scout has been in a bit of a professional rut lately and has gone to great lengths to rekindle what he once described as the “burning eternal flame of his blessed wily brain.”

Emerging from the steam tunnels a week ago covered in raccoon fur and old saltine crumbs — unfortunately for Scout, Doordash doesn’t deliver underground —, Scout resolved to finally create something substantial for his peers at the newspaper. Perhaps this time it could be a thrilling expose on JSM Realty or another profile on the notorious Rapping Professor

However, Scout has also been obsessed with cheap YA Fantasy novels as of late, and so his self-conceived occupation of them came to fruition.

Walking down Chalmers with a powdered wig and a massive bell, Scout found that student sleep schedules were in more dire need than he thought. Here was a chance to make a difference! Students not asleep by sundown would feel a wrath greater than that of Azgararoth the Evil, the antagonist of Scout’s recent favorite youth fantasy novel, “Twelve Golden Swans: A Lucy Petrie Adventure in the Snowy Winderland Saga — An Autobiography.” 

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    Scout approached Armory, where he could at least give guidance to the brave knights within, but all he found was a custodian who shot him a menacing glare and a group of RSO meetings ranging from the Ladybug Preservation Society to the World-Traveling Society, whose activity this week was choosing from a wide array of dusty National Geographic VHS tapes. 

    Perhaps the role of town crier was too noble for an uncultured cesspool like the Land of Chambana. 

    Scout turned back to his stacks of books in the steam tunnels he’d ritualistically nabbed from the Main Stacks over the decades. He opened a copy of  “Respectable Professions for Any Young Lad,” published the same year Gerald Ford entered eighth grade. 

    The next day, Scout set out wearing a ruby red sleeping cap and onesie pajamas. After all, the elevators on campus weren’t going to operate themselves.

    To get the most bang for his buck, Scout entered the tallest building we could find: the Campus Instructional Facility. This modern marvel of grandiose architecture perfectly complemented Scout’s professional attire, and he soon made a splash among the intelligentsia. 

    Scout felt genuine joy to meet so many different people, mostly engineers. Eventually, he had to wear a nose plug to bear working in a confined space with so many members of the Grainger College of Engineering, but such a thing was a minor inconvenience compared to the invaluable experience he received. 

    However, Scout’s finger began to be rubbed raw from pressing the same four buttons constantly, and the nose plug began to inexplicably grow moss like the north side of a redwood tree. Scout stomped out of the CIF, frustrated at his lack of purpose in the universe.

    There he went, walking depressedly down Green Street as the sunset. Looking around, Scout realized the absence of the top-hatted lamplighters and the newspaper stands on the corners. Perhaps his literature was lying to him.

    Not anywhere was there vacancy for someone to operate the telegraphs, nor were there any positions available to help leave people’s milk on their doorsteps for the next morning. Technology was advancing faster than Scout could fathom.

    In his sad stupor, Scout ended up atop Foellinger Auditorium, reclining in his favorite deck chair as he watched campus settle down for the night. He’d gone from writer to town crier to elevator operator — obsolete profession to obsolete profession. 

    If a computer could best him at every one of them, what was even the point of trying?

    For a long while, he sat there, lost in his own head. Maybe he was indeed trying too hard. After all, he was Campus Scout, not Lester Holt. He could tell the stories no one else dared, from the secret swimming pool atop the Funk Library to the Ape Laboratories of Davenport Hall. 

    That was his true place, there atop Foellinger, like a self-effacing gargoyle without pride or shame. Someone else could put the campus to sleep — he would wake it up, with his energizing rhetoric. 

    Scout jumped for joy and sped off to create his next big story. The trials of the magical land of Thamazasha could wait. It was time to be a writer once more. 

     

    *Campus Scout writes opinion-based, satirical stories and uses fictional sourcing.*

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    About the Contributors
    Campus Scout is The Daily Illini's satirical columnist and is quite the character. Their identity, as per tradition, is kept a secret. Scout is known to make riveting social commentary and uses only the most reliable (fictitious) sources. Scout has been a part of the University for decades, disappearing briefly but returning as a writer in 2021 to cause a ruckus about the things that matter.
    Amy Sanchez, Graphics Editor
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