We’ve all seen them. Perched between sinks, those strange, lusterless metal boxes on the lavatory walls continue to perplex us. They’ve been there for ages, and yet no one quite knows what they are, or why they’re there. The purpose of the artistic rectangular button at the bottom of the metal box is also unknown. Perhaps most confusing of all is the uncanny sight of otherwise pacifistic students engaging in a boxing match with these buttons before washing their hands. Punching the button does absolutely nothing, yet students continue to do this strange social ritual with moral fervor, as if in a competition to be most obligated towards the function of whatever the button may have once done. However, last Thursday, during fifth period, student Jamie Ellensburg claims she pressed the button and “shrieked.” “The weirdest thing happened. I pressed the button and… goo came out! I tried to wash it off as best I could, and it just started bubbling, the goo, and it freaked me out even more. I wanted to cry.”
Jamie tells us she “ran through the halls like Paul Revere,” shouting the news of the dispensed goo. Students cheered and immediately rushed into the restroom, knocking each other out in the struggle to “sniff the goo,” which strangely smelled like artificial perfume. One student even pulled the fire alarm in order to have individual access. We talked to the now-suspended Tech senior Elanora Holmes. “This is the best day of my life,” she tells us. “I put some in a little baggie to show my grandma. She graduated in the class of 1950. Nothing came out then either.”
However, school administration is a bit more concerned. When the school biology teacher was notified of the incident, she immediately rushed Jamie into her biology lab to have her hosed down. “Nothing is supposed to come out of that box,” the teacher told us. “In all the years I’ve been here, nothing. I have no clue what it’s for, but if pink goo is coming out, that’s got to be mold or something.” The teacher brought the pink substance to the lab. They ran several PCR tests and came to no conclusions, but observed that the substance indeed formed bubbles when placed in contact with water. Or as the teacher said, “It seems to form a sort of… lipid bilayer.”
Recent concerns over what the goo is have prompted discussion to resurface– why do we have those strange metal boxes, and why do we punch the buttons of the boxes? Here at The Scribble, we asked students what they thought the purpose of the metal boxes could be.
“Maybe it turns the sink on? I don’t know.”
“Whatever it is, that button’s dirty. Everyone punches it after they pee. Or poop, if they’re weird.”
“It’s kind of like a social ritual.”
“It’s like a reward.”
“I think it’s just a manners thing. You get weird looks when you don’t.”
“I just have this weird urge to do it. Maybe it’s a caveman instinct? I don’t know.”
“I thought it was just decor.”
“It inspired me to take an anthropology class.”
“There’s a rumor going around that they used it for coke in the 80s.”
Some students have, oddly enough, suggested placing soap in the strange metal containers. Student body President Zoe Lloyd-Trotter said, “I guess that would be convenient and sanitary. I still haven’t figured out what those boxes were used for, but that doesn’t mean we have to be stuck on it. It’s time to invent a new use for it.” Menstrual products, pain medications, and cocaine were also other popular suggestions by students.