CB reporters had to provide a steady supply of Kleenex as emotion, tears and tear-snot poured out of sophomore Nick Cataton early this afternoon.  ”Franklin turned to me with this look like he’d forgotten to grab his laundry out of the dryer. “Oh, uh, we already got housing.’ I mean, is that all I am to him? Forgotten laundry?”

Nick was hospitalized early this semester for a work overdose that nearly took his life. “I registered for 20 units. I thought I could handle the high, you know? But I caved a week in.” He dropped the popular elective WRIT 242, “Practical Papers While Plastered” the day before his collapse; EMTs surgically removed his underwater basket-weaving GE when he flatlined on the ambulance ride to Good Samaritan Hospital.

“It used to be that these kids would be alright if we could get their BAC, their Boring Academic Content, down to 12 units,” sighs Dr. Monique “Moni” Grubber, who specializes in first world diseases, “but in the past few years I’ve seen more and more of these “work comas’ coming out of USC.” These students, unable to cope with even a minimum course load, cease to exhibit higher brain functions such as sleep or keeping in touch with friends and family. “They spend their days on homework and Youtube. It’s tragic.”

Doctors were thrilled on Thursday when Nick showed signs of an early recovery, wishing his girlfriend a belated Happy Valentine’s Day. He sped through the initial steps of the standard therapy course: he went on a date, called home, and intentionally ignored a minor assignment.

The setback came when he rang up his friends from the semester before to hang out. “I hadn’t talked to anyone in a month,” Nick said, “and I thought we’d all laugh about how nobody was together enough to go off and find their own housing.”

In fact, Nick’s friends, Franklin Middier and Don Givadam, had scouted out an apartment for half the monthly they had expected to pay, including utilities, just south of campus on Nonesuch Way. Franklin first told Nick about the opportunity in detail, then nonchalantly crushed his erstwhile friend’s dreams with the news that he and Don had already signed the two-person lease.

“Of course I got mad!” Nick fumed. “Just because I never hang out with them anymore and didn’t bother to call doesn’t give them the right to do that! That’s like saying that you can’t ace a final if you never go to lecture!”

Nick plans to pursue other options in the area, and has a spot in UHR as a final backup, “kind of like a cyanide pill.” Even so, he still yearns for the camaraderie he might have had with Middier and Givadam. “I thought they couldn’t imagine living without me,” he said, eyes shining. “I was wrong.”

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