“I’m currently enrolled in a philosophy class,” said Matt, in his exclusive One-on-One interview with The Bunion. “The professor proposed a paradox for us to discuss: what happens when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force? The students in class pointed out how an unstoppable force can’t really exist if there’s an immovable object, and vice versa. They said it’s a flawed paradox, a false dilemma, an impossible situation. They were all wrong. I’ve lived this paradox myself and I’ve survived to tell the tale. The immovable object? My professor. The unstoppable force? My unshakable urge to pee.”
At first glance, Matt Campbell (CAS ‘22) seems like your typical freshman, but underneath that thin facade lies a man who has gone to hell and back. I sat down with Matt, the student who infamously asked if he could go to the bathroom in college, to write down his harrowing tale.
That fateful day started out like any other. Matt woke up, had breakfast, and went to his first class. A typical day. But the day took a dark turn when, in between his first and second classes, Matt stopped to fill his sustainability@BU-issued water bottle.
“This silver bottle is a curse…” said Matt, clutching said bottle in his hands. His hands were shaking. His face was sullen. “I don’t know what it is but ever since they gave me this wretched flask, I can’t stop drinking from it…” His eyes watered as he began to chug the whole thing.
Matt’s unquenchable thirst had made him a slave to the bathroom. Usually the urge to pee would hit him right when class was about to end, but this time, it hit him right as class was about to begin. And it hit him hard.
“The pain was intolerable,” recalled Matt. “To make matters worse, my professor entered into a 5 minute tangent about his trip to Niagara Falls. He described the cascades with such a vivid detail… Their torrential force… Their unstoppable currents…”
At that moment, Matt collapsed. His face trembled, tears ran down his cheek. The water bottle still hung from the tip of his fingers. The once hopeful freshman had turned into a mess of emotions.
“I couldn’t keep it in any longer! I just couldn’t! I raised my hand as the professor was wrapping up his Niagara Falls story and with the very last bit of my power I cried out: ‘Teacher, may I please go to the bathroom?’”
As soon as Matt asked his question, the whole room fell silent. If looks could kill, poor Matt would have been dead a million times over. Just like the paradox of the immovable object and the unstoppable force, Matt and the professor waged a war of attrition where both parties did not know how to proceed: the professor not sure how to respond, Matt not knowing that in college when you need to use the bathroom you just stand up and go.
“That’s when I realized,” said Matt with a quivering voice. “There’s only one option when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force.” Matt rose from the floor, but kept his head down. “One of them has to yield.”
When Mother Nature calls, one has to answer. Unfortunately for Matt, Mother Nature couldn’t wait any longer. As Matt’s pants got warm, his heart grew colder. Boston failed Matt. Matt failed himself.
“Sure, I survived to tell my story… But the scars are there. I won’t ever be the same. I miss my home, I miss my family, I miss my dignity…”
Matt excused himself to use the bathroom. Or at least that’s what he told me when he left our interview. I haven’t seen Matt in a while, but I hope he’s doing alright. I hope he knows that in a world as dark and bleak as this one, we need people like him: survivors brave enough to share their stories so that people like us can learn from them.
For some Matt Campbell might be a loser but to me, he’s a hero.