Today is March 10, 2014. Russian president Vladimir Putin has sent troops into the Ukraine amid talk of dividing the country; the most sought after Mexican cartel “El Chapo” has been captured; the Winter Hunger Game – I mean Olympics- are closing; the outspoken Republican Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker wants to run for president! Yes, these things are important, but they are not the most pressing issues affecting students today. What is? I’ll tell you — Print Cards.
Yes, Print Cards. I want to give you some statistics on them — 99.98% of Berkeley City College students have filed formal complaints to President Obama and the Vice President. They all demanded that “Print Cards” be abolished from the BCC library and computer lab immediately. Unfortunately, Obama and Biden’s secretaries responded that they do not handle such trivial requests.
Last semester, Print Cards were responsible for 20 motor vehicle accidents, 14 pedestrian deaths and a whopping 2,516 bicycle accidents. I presented these statistics to the Board of Education and a press secretary responded, “The Board of Education takes these allegations very seriously. We are further investigating how flimsy pieces of paper valued between one to five dollars can cause such chaos and destruction.”
The last accident caused by these Print Cards lead to twenty-one year old Qiyamah Hameed going into a coma for over 5 months. I tracked her down recently to try to make sense of the many rumors circulating around her accident.
Apparently, Ms. Hameed was running late for class on September 1st, 2013. “I was running late,” she said. Apparently, after running to the librarian and pulling out a one dollar bill, the librarian slapped her across the face. “He slapped me,” she said. She was then told to march her “entitled ass” to the cashier’s office and purchase a Print Card like everyone else.
In tears, Ms. Hameed made her way to the Cashier’s Office. When she arrived at the office, her life changed. “I shouldn’t have gone to that office, man,” she told me.
Ms. Hameed knew that she wanted to purchase a Print Card, but she didn’t expect to be asked by the cashier the following question: how much? “I had no idea,” she told me in a panic. “How much what? Am I worth? Sleep I get? Tigers? I couldn’t think. I flipped a [word removed from publication].”
From here, the story is more concrete. Witnesses say that Ms. Hameed’s left side started to twitch uncontrollably. Then she started to experience convulsions. After doubling over, she began to foam at the mouth and scream, ultimately blacking out.
After a brief silence, I noticed that tears were pouring from Ms. Hameed’s eyes. I squeezed her hand lightly to inform her that I was still present during her moment of pain. I looked up and finally realized where we were — in an inpatient home for people who’ve experienced severe trauma. I recognized a man walking 100 yards in front of us as the first person affected by these Print Cards. He is now a white man. He was once black.
“Who were you, Qiyamah, before this incident?” I asked her. A tiny smile made its way to her face. Apparently, she was a candidate for Senate. Before that, she had been a finalist in the Miss America pageants. She was known as the “most interesting woman in the world,” but now she is known as the “woman who had a seizure, stroke, and a heart attack simultaneously at the Cashier’s Office.” I asked her how the incident has changed her life. She responded, “It ruined me, man. It ruined me like crack.”
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