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Things that go bump in the night Learning more about myself in an African jungle
Ad Lib "Dread" defined
Periscope Science and conscience
Letters Admissions; sports memories

 

Ad Lib

"Dread" defined...

Fear is an occasional leap of the heart, a once-in-a-while thought, but it never sticks around very long. Dread, though, is a constant, crawling fear of something coming at you, like you’re tied to the train tracks and the 4:30 from Peekskill is due any minute. It can blot out the world around you, making you feel like everything is in sepia tones… until you get past the Dreaded Thing (a meeting you know will go bad, a speech you have to give) and everything goes back to normal.

JOHN SANDERS, IT user services consultant

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In John Irving’s novel The World According to Garp, young T. S. Garp is at the ocean’s edge, and his mother yells to him, “Beware the undertow!” The sound of the waves makes it hard to hear, and he imagines a large, menacing toad lurking under the waves, waiting to pull him under. The “Undertoad” is the unseen, pervasive threat that strikes without warning. It is these sudden, unexpected horrors in life that I equate with dread.

DEBBIE FRANKEL REESE ’63, artist

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There’s a fine line between dread and mystery, and cosmology and astronomy straddle that line. Vast empty space, infinities, black holes, the possibility of intelligent extraterrestrial life, even asteroids are dreadful, as well as beautiful, to think about. One of my favorite descriptions of this dread is from Blaise Pascal’s Pensées, including his famous line “The silence of those infinite spaces terrifies me.”

MARY CRONE ODEKON, associate professor of physics

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As a coach, I dread seeing weather reports in March and April when snow is expected overnight—then I dread just getting out of bed! Also, when I have to tell a player he’s not good enough to make the team, that’s always a very difficult part of my job. Other than that, going to the dentist is what I dread the most.

RON PLOURDE, head baseball coach

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PICK YOUR OWN. What concept would you like to ad lib about? If there’s a topic you’d like to see addressed in this column, send an e-mail to srosenbe@skidmore.edu or call 518-580-5747.