BlogDailyCarrels: The best of the Rock’s pen/pencil graffiti

We’ve all seen them: in the depths of finals, on Friday evening study sessions when the place is depressingly empty, or when we gaze up, bleary-eyed, from the papers and theses and problem sets we’re struggling to complete overnight. They sustain us and annoy us and distract us. They are little snippets of wisdom and beauty. They are technically illegal vandalism of university property. They are the many examples of pen and pencil graffiti on the desks of the John D. Rockefeller library, and some of them are pretty awesome.

After exhaustive research and in-the-field study, here are some of the most clever, moving, funny, and brilliant notes ever to be etched into the desks of this hallowed place of study.


A second floor gem. At first glance, a seemingly casual note on the lack of apparently desirable “normal” guys at RISD, but let’s think about it. Does this unnamed RISD student truly crave a “normal” love interest? Is he/she unaware that variety is indeed the spice of life? Should the men of RISD feel insulted for being deemed undesirable, or should we men of Brown take offense for being called “normal” when we probably all like to think of ourselves as quirky and unique? I’m quirky. I’m unique. There’s emotional baggage here for everyone involved, if you care to unpack it.


It’s simple, fun to say, and reminiscent of childhood via The Lion King. A good pick-me-up, something that’s all too rare in the darkness of long study sessions. Snag this desk for finals.


I don’t know why an emaciated man sitting under a tree has anything to do with Taylor Swift, nor do I know why someone obviously put a great deal of effort into censoring part of the image. Unless you’re the artist, you probably don’t either. Still, it’s aesthetically pleasing and very modern art.


So deep.


Some people might find this line a bit cliché for their tastes. I found its haiku-like nature refreshingly simple and uplifting. Not to mention it has an absurd amount of artsy cover photo potential, if you’re into that kind of thing.


…Not if you’re wasting time scribbling into desks, it doesn’t. In all seriousness, though, this comment is definitely a motivator for cranking out those long papers. Thanks to whoever sacrificed his brilliance so that we might have it instead.


Ooooookay. Right. Like people care what gets written on paper (in fairness, the Federalist Papers were written on paper—they have “paper” in the name—and those blew up).


Very much in the vein of the “her smile promised spring” comment; cliché but with a grain of truth. Again, put this shit on Facebook, and you’re on your way to being known as one artsy motherfucker.


The second comment really is pretty funny. Not funny in a laugh-out-loud way, but funny in an “I’m an academic and I mentally acknowledge that a joke on the relative hardness of sciences is quite clever” way.


If you’re anywhere near as skilled as I am at the art of procrastinating, you will need this reminder. Like a dosage of Adderall, except not really like that at all. Still, it’s a nice gesture and will at least make you feel slightly guilty about browsing Reddit rather than doing your reading.


This drawing gets points for being, objectively, very disturbing. Not even particularly funny, not even merely weird (though it is that), but straight-up unnerving to look at. Study at this desk if you’re reading Gothic horror. Otherwise, steer clear.

And the winner is…


On the second floor of the Rock, scrawled boldly into the surface of desk 25, is an ongoing battle in the age-old war of the cynics and the idealists. Read the whole debate and then make up your mind: which side will you take? Is love truly just an illusion, or is it worth pursuing? I can’t technically encourage vandalism of university property, but it’s obvious that the debate is not over. Not yet. For those with something to say, there’s plenty of blank space on the desk…

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