He noticed it early his freshman year, but it did not bother him that much. After all, things had been that way even in high school. If he got a B+ or two, so what? He could not envision it fucking up his life. Occasionally, he wondered why the professors wanted to make his life miserable, whether they got some sort of sadistic pleasure out of knowing that he hated and feared them.
But he did not worry much. He thought they were unimportant.
* * *
Sometime in the spring of his sophomore year, he noticed a pattern had developed. It was no longer just the occasional B+ or the floater that he got stuck with. Of course, he did not get along well with his senior tutor; ever since he moved in, the tutor had gone out of his way to have an influence over his life. That was what Harvard was all about--who could wield the most amount of influence over others. And students had few opportunities to control professors or administrators. The system was just unfair.
* * *
About this time, he got into drugs. Not acid or mesc, but a lot of dope smoking. It made it easier to get through the day, and made it easier to put up with the people he had to confront. Whenever he smoked, it became clear that the world was divided into two camps. Some were for him and some were against. But at least it was clear. Once, he got stoned, sprawled out on his bed, and flipped on the stereo. And it was just like the man said: "We won't get fooled again."
One night, he smoked a little too much, and went to bed feeling sick. That night, he had a terrible dream. He could not remember it too well the next day, but the bits and pieces were frightening enough. He dreamed that in his senior year, he wrote a thesis that the Government Department rejected because of an incorrect citation. His adviser read the thesis, praised it, and had not mentioned any possibility that his footnotes might be improper. The rejection was hard enough to accept, but then the department decided to make an example of his case, and denied him credit for his tutorial. Without the credit, he did not have enough courses to graduate.
The department listened unsympathetically; his tutor, who was responsible for grading him, refused to come to his defense. It was obvious the department had pressured the tutor--after all, they had control over the tutor's future, too.
The department was using him as an example to future Government concentrators, he was told. But he knew the real truth; he knew that unseen forces were at work behind closed doors, plotting to ruin his life. And they had the advantage: They could see his closed, confidential file. It was all too real.
He woke up feeling very paranoid. Too much dope, he thought.
* * *
Paranoia strikes deep,
Into your life it will creep,
It starts when you're always afraid,
Step out of line, the men come, and take you away.