Open Letter to the Moth on the Lecture Hall Window


Dear Moth:

Why are you clinging to the classroom window? You don’t need to go to college. Be grateful that you don’t have to buy into the system of higher education to advance your career as a moth. Your status in life has been granted to you with no need to prove yourself, and though you may think that this position bears little potential, there must be something comforting about such simplicity.

Even if you have a natural penchant for expanding your horizons, Moth, I doubt you can understand the symbols inscribed on the blackboard in faded chalk. Nanostructured compound eyes are great for flight orientation in the dark, but are subpar in matters of lexicography. Yet there you remain, with your lepidopteran proboscis pressed against the glass like a child by a case of penny-candy.

Compared with those of us within these four walls, with opposable digits curled around mass-produced Ticonderoga pencils and vertebrate spines arched over humorously small wooden desks, you are in the unique position to leave any time you desire without social judgement. You are under no obligation to stay. You do not share the burden of capitalism and anxiety and calculus and standards of achievement. Moth, surely your tiny wood-camoflage wings have enough strength left to propel you to the cozy electric glow of a humming power plant or a water treatment tank close to the warm earth.

I can’t be sure why you chose the vague glow of the lecture hall above the other vague glows you perceive. Even if you are only here because you are reluctant to leave the warmth of the heated building, that makes you smarter than the rest of us. We, who by our own volition readily leave at a moment’s notice the heating mechanisms that our species has evolved over thousands of years to create. Perhaps you, Moth, are the most learned in this institute of higher learning. These century-aged buildings have come to symbolize intelligence, yet those who plant themselves on their periphery are in possession of the most worthy claim on common knowledge. You are beyond our arbitrary measures of intellect. If you really are graced by such insight:

Go hibernate, Moth. I’ll be happy if at least one of us can.




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