Columbia Conspiracies: Why did Dean Valentini say hi to me?

Updated: Dec. 16, 12:55 p.m.

It was a standard Friday morning. By 9:30 a.m. I was on my second cappuccino and heading from Wien to Butler, ready to start my third. Out of nowhere I was graced by the vision of a suited, bespectacled man walking opposite me; a man I had only seen before in acceptance packages and life-sized cardboard cutouts. He nodded and greeted me good morning. I stared back in awe. It was minutes after in the ButCaf that I realized Dean Valentini had said hi to me.

But why me of all people? I don’t know Dean Valentini, not personally at least. And he certainly doesn’t know me. Why all of a sudden pretend like we’re friendly colleagues? Or old drinking buddies? Something doesn’t quite add up.

So why did Dean Valentini say hi to me? I have three theories.

1. The Recruitment Theory
In the 2003 masterpiece, Agent Cody Banks, a young Frankie Muniz plays a teenager recruited by the CIA’s young spy program to investigate the daughter of a renowned nanobot scientist. Cut to a decade later and Frankie Muniz is me. Am I being recruited by Dean Valentini to solve a Columbia mystery? Next move is yours, Val.

2. The Christmas Carol Theory
In the famous Christmas tale, the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of a former business associate who warns him that if he doesn’t change his mean ways before it’s too late, he will meet a miserable fate. Christmas time is coming and the ghosts of former Deans are stirring. Although certainly not a Scrooge, perhaps Dean Valentini was recently visited by an old Dean, and his greeting was an attempt to spread holiday cheer before it’s too late?

via Wikimedia Commons

3. The Self-Esteem Theory
Or maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised that Valentini would say hi to me. After all, my therapist says I’m a valuable person who has something to offer. I’m a regular Spectrum blogger, my GPA is a positive number, and I’ve already finished my language requirement halfway through sophomore year. Aside from why would a whole college campus turn its back on me, why wouldn’t Dean Valentini say hi? Maybe this is the self-esteem boost my parents said I needed. Big things are coming and Dean Valentini knows it.

Whatever your intentions may be, Dean Valentini, know that I’m onto you. You may be able to greet the common folk of Columbia University without raising an eyebrow but I’m analyzing your soft-spoken syllables, waiting for you to slip up and reveal your true motives. 

Until then, wherever happenings don’t quite add up, Columbia Conspiracies will be one (too many) step(s) behind.


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