December’s welcome twist of fate

By Kris Kotarski

Good stories often border on the ridiculous, so consider this one.

At the beginning of my second year at your friendly student newspaper, I was appointed interim Sports Editor. I didn’t know how to write, didn’t know how to edit and certainly didn’t understand the world I was about to enter. I had just come back from one of those life-altering trips and I was ready for a change. To hell with it I thought, so I gave it a try.

Before the bylines and the photo credits ever made their way into the paper, I met one Rob South, the former Students’ Union President turned Gauntlet News Editor. From being the news, Rob came to control the news. I thought that was incredibly funny and we became great friends.

Late one night, just for kicks, we came up with an economic formula for true love. It was a nifty little equation to calculate a person’s "marginal propensity to fall in love." Before you judge us, it was probably something like 2 a.m. and we were both exhausted from campus newspaper toil.

The formula lived in the corner of my storyboard for the rest of the fall and winter semesters. During that time I went through a relationship or two, met some of my best friends and actually got kind of good at my job. Rob left halfway through that school year but the fruit of one night’s stupid ramblings stayed behind.
Sometime in March, I applied the numbers. A couple of my friends were about to get engaged, others were either starting or ending meaningful relationships, and there were those on the weekly prowl for "fun." I crunched the numbers analyzing everyone and when I analyzed myself, I ranked among the lowest. So did Rob. Figures.

March puddles gave way to spring showers and, as the saying goes, love was in the air. While most of my friends were in relationships by the end of the summer, I did what the formula said I would do-nothing. Remember? My marginal propensity was low. Fall flew by without an afterthought. Then came December, with its sleepless nights, stressful finals, lack of time and lack of daylight. It took its toll.

December was depressing, I saw love crumble all around me. Every friend with a significant other went through it: the doubts, tears and even occasional infidelities. I figured love was something people engaged in only when it was convenient. I saw many of those I held in high regard do things they should have never done and say things they should have never said. I had a crush on a girl but I pushed it away. "What’s the point?" I thought. It’s all doomed to fail anyway.
On the last day of finals I walked to my car through empty halls. The only people around were studying quietly for late afternoon exams and the only sounds came from a group of students with an acoustic guitar. They were singing Christmas carols and there was a couple snuggled up nearby singing along, completely serene in each other’s arms. I knew them both and said hello. They smiled back and wished me a Merry Christmas. Around them was all the turmoil of the world, all the bad feelings, lies and broken hearts-but they didn’t care. They were in their own world, where it wasn’t December at all.

It had been almost two years since I felt like that. Seeing them, my marginal propensity shot right up. Maybe, it’s too bad it took this long.

Feedback on this article can be sent to

Leave a comment