Being a co-op isn't easy. Being a frosh co-op is even more challenging. Not only do you have to be around people you don't know, work with potential-engineer jackasses, and given heaps of work a normal employee won't touch with a ten-foot pole, you have to contend with fighting with your co-workers and your fellow co-ops for benefits at your workplace.
Apparently, if you mention the word "free," "vacation," or "donut" within the earshot of any employee, you'll provoke an instinct that has been embedded within mankind for centuries. Fellow employees, no matter how friendly they may be towards you in the past, will immediately spy towards your conversation, take notes of your deals and/or freebies, and initiate a mad dash for the free product in a bid to beat everybody to it. In the end, employees turn towards each other, supervisors exercise their power to beat their subordinates, and Co-ops start beating each other senseless.
Case in point: Donut Day at work. To make up for a lack of a cafeteria (a vending machine with stale sandwiches does not count), a company that will remain nameless (let's call it, Company X) offers a large amount of donuts and bagels every Tuesday to its employees. Company X orders an abundant amount of donuts, but due to a lack of demand, orders only 5 Swiss Cheese embedded bagels. Because of its small number, these Swiss Cheese donuts have become a commodity around here. Employees camp outside the eating area each week to await the arrival of the donut boxes, and pounce on the bagels when they arrive. By the time the weak and needy (co-ops) reach the boxes, the most coveted bagels have already been snatched by regular employees who are sly enough to set up a chain of surveillance devices to track the arrival of the Swiss Cheese Donuts. In the rare opportunity that there are a few left, co-ops and regular employees fight each other for the last bagel after their supervisors had their preferred pickings. Names are thrown, gloves are dropped, pile-drivers are done on the wrestling-inclined, and taunts are shouted. In the end, a single sly person sneaks across war boundaries and steals the contested bagel from under the noses the fighters themselves.
The behaviours of these employees can be traced back to several historic periods. In the late 1940's, during the WWII economic boom, ordinary citizens found a credit of money and cash in their coffers. Men went out in search of ways to spend the money, and eventually found a 'macho' method of spending the cash: Cars. To buy a car was a 'manly' thing to do, and thus started the 'car wars.' People would crowd around dealerships and wait in lines to purchase new cars, and at one point, Ford actually ran out of new cars to sell. In the midst of waiting lines and order sheets, mobs of people started fighting outside and inside the dealerships to fight for a spot on the waiting list. Eventually, the quiet one with a large wad of cash crawled through the sea of warring potential car buyers and sneaked into the manager's office, where he would secure a brand new automobile for himself, leaving the legitimate waiters outside speechless and with a strong urge to beat the crap up of the little weasel who slyly bought the last car on the lot.
Further history can be traced of this behaviour. A million years ago, cavemen of the Northern plains hunted moose and buffalo for food and fur to make clothes to keep warm. In the beginning, cavemen co-operated and hunted as a group. However, the meat is much easier to divvy up than the fur. When it came time to decide who got the fur, the 'civilized' cavemen quickly became neanderthals and quickly felt the urge to pick up their hunting equipment to threaten each other for the ownership of the fur. One would think that the one with the largest stick would be the first to get the fur, but actually, the one with no wang at all got up, ran towards the fur, and put it on. Since soap and bathing isn't a priority on these cavemen's minds at that time, that little weasel has already transferred his body odours and dirt unto the fur, making it undesirable to the rest of the group. By the time the big boys are finished bludgeoning each other for the ownership of the already worn fur, it would have been too late.
Thus, the weasel, like everything else, enjoys a long and shady history full of plot turns and lies. So the next time you are fighting for the last Swiss Cheese Bagel, Boston Cream donut, or the last Algebra textbook in the bookstore, remember, your cavemen roots and follow the footsteps of the weasel.
Raymond CT Lai
The Frosh Cornered