The Yale Police Department is searching for a single suspect responsible for thousands, possibly millions, of jaywalking infractions committed since Aug. 23. The individual of undisclosed age, gender and appearance has been sighted terrorizing literally every intersection in New Haven at all hours of the day, night and morning.
“We’re not releasing a name,” wrote Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins in an e-blast this past Wednesday. “You know who you are.”
A felony in Connecticut, jaywalking is defined as blatantly disobeying pedestrian traffic laws by walking out into the middle of a vehicular pathway to get to your Secret Jane Austen Society Biannual Tea and Restrictive Corsets Gala 34 seconds faster. It was criminalized in 1946 after an oblivious-but-always-late-to-something Handsome Dan handler led three consecutive mascots (III, IV and V) into oncoming traffic in the span of a week, resulting in a bulldog mortality rate of 100%. Articles from the time indicate that the Yale community has never grieved so deeply, except for a two-week period in 1987 when chicken tenders were removed from dining hall menus; the dining halls were draped in black, and small children/Saybrugians wept in the streets. Thankfully, a student hunger strike forced the administration to reinstate everyone’s favorite food.
Jaywalking has associated penalties of eight to 10 years’ hard labor sanding the corners of furniture to fit into Morse and Stiles dorm rooms or, alternatively, forced transfer to Timothy Dwight. There have been 14 jaywalking-related injuries reported this year alone. Completely unrelated is the fact that they all involved Directed Studies students sprinting to the Writing Center the night before an essay was due.
A similar problem exists in Cambridge, only instead of being struck by automobiles, several Harvard students have been pounded into the dust by horse-drawn carriages while crossing the campus’ dirt roads. However, no legal action has been taken as Massachusetts has no laws prohibiting jaywalking. In fact, it has no laws befitting a civilized society in general.
Named for Yalies’ most defining characteristic, the Jaded Jaywalker has prompted outcry in the Yale community. Some support the suspect, some stand in opposition and others are unable to comment because they are bedridden in the Yale Health Center with injuries typical of sudden, violent impacts.
Tolkien enthusiast Viggo McKellen supports the Jaded Jaywalker’s intransigence. “The streets of New Haven are like the Battle of the Five Armies,” he said as he polished his war hammer. “It’s a mass scramble for dominance. Everyone wants that beautiful black tarmac, which is almost as precious as Smaug’s treasure.” He hoisted his war hammer onto his shoulder before charging into Elm Street, screaming a battle cry.
“It’s not my religion,” asserts L.S. De Woodstock. “They’re lying to us with those flashing, orange lights and walking men. None of it means anything. It’s all chaos underneath.”
Meanwhile, an entire team of Yale psychologists, neurosurgeons and ornithologists have published the study, “A Comprehensive Analysis of the Cultural, Biological, Psychological, Sociological, Pharmacological, Cosmetological and Mixological Phenomenology of the Jaded Jaywalker,” which seeks to answer the question, “Why does the Jaded Jaywalker cross the road?” After 2,000 pages of experiments, clinical studies and unethical animal testing, they concluded that the Jaded Jaywalker “simply wants to get to the other side.”
Others have taken a more metaphysical approach. “The question is not who crossed the road,” mused Yale philosophy professor Gallina Fowl, sipping tea and gazing out the rain-streaked window, “but why did the jaywalker cross the road?”
One self-confessed occasional jaywalker who wished to be referred to only as “The Lemming” explained, “If you see other people going, you go. It’s like, if I’m in trouble, you’re in trouble, too. Safety in numbers. They can’t run over all of us, right?”
Yale admission officers have always stressed the importance of Yale’s close-knit, collaborative and trusting community, so it’s heartening to see that students subscribe to Yale ideals even to the point of mass vehicular death. Should this line of thought persist, though, there will be significantly fewer than 5,453 suspects to investigate.
In response to this tumult, University President Peter Salovey released an official statement Thursday night: “In an effort to protect our students’ autonomy and respect the efforts of the Yale Police Department, the board of trustees has purchased the steam tunnels underneath Old Campus, Cross Campus and parts of Prospect Street from their former owners, a group of entrepreneurial-minded, subterranean mole people. They are now approved for student and pedestrian use.”
The steam tunnels will open for student traffic beginning this Friday, Oct. 13. To gain access, simply knock on one of the tiles in front of Sterling Memorial Library until you are assisted by one of the friendly Yale Tunnel Trolls.
Claire Zalla | firstname.lastname@example.org