Lights out.

Every so often, history repeats itself.

Mom and dad used to tell me stories about growing up in Ghana.(R.I.P. Pres – Atta-Mills) and like all good stories, they center around some universally applicable experience.

Apparently, at a certain late hour, the lights in campus would suddenly cut off (an event known fondly as “lights out”) would take place, the expectation being that students would sleep peacefully.

My parents, being the nerdy rebels they apparently were, hid candles under the bed, and would light them in order to study after the fact.

In modern twitter speak we might add #grindhard or #burntatbothends after this, they undoubtedly had some archaic phrasing like “Puhteeng Yore Noze to de Grindstohn” (you’ll have to imagine the Ghanaian accent).

Earlier in the summer, some classmates of mine were preparing for the Neuroscience Board exam (@ Meharry we take a national Step exam after every major course…”And there was much trembling and gnashing of teeth”) in the classic windowless study room; bright and clean during the day, but strewn with Doritos, Overpriced Headphones,  red bull and (despite this)  sleeping students on the floor.

While deep in the silence of study, the storm raging outside cut the power, and they were immersed in an inky darkness best experienced on the Iowa interstate.  Imagine if you will the lights cutting off, a two second pause , and (without a word uttered) the brilliant glow of 5 cell phones simultaneously piercing the darkness. No one left, no one complained. I call it, the modern Ghanaian candle.


Lights out.

Addendum: (07/27/12)

I just heard that one of the first year medical students was also working hard during that storm in the basement alongside the deceased of the Anatomy dissection lab. When the power went off, the poor kid was instantly submerged in a deeper black than you can imagine, without a cell phone…surrounded by the smell of formaldehyde and half dissected bodies.
I just thought you should know that he suffered honestly for his craft.


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