Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
November 28, 2023

Overheard at Hopkins: "I bite my sister all the time"

By SOPHIA GAUTHIER | April 5, 2012

Yeah, I don't even know what this means.  I think I cried when I heard this quote because it was so entirely bizarre. Do you bite your siblings? I have one older sister and I can tell you for a fact that I have never ever had the desire to bite her.  I don't know about you, but I generally reserve the act of biting for things that are dead and processed like steamed broccoli or writing utensils.

Biting is such a primal behavior.  In the animal kingdom, biting can signify aggression, affection, hunger, boredom, communication, frustration....yeah, a lot of emotions.  My dog used to bite the wooden legs of our piano when her teeth were growing in.  That emotion is called "teething", Human babies could probably empathize.

Speaking of babies, let's examine this from a Freudian perspective.  Freud coined five stages of psychosexual development where a child fixates on deriving pleasure from various sources until they reach puberty.

The first stage is the Oral Stage and occurs when a baby is breastfeeding.  According to Freud, babies who are not breastfed enough develop an Oral Personality where they are more likely to smoke, eat, chew things, etc., later on  in life (no, I am not making this up).   Hm. Okay, I think that's enough Freud for now.

I performed a complex science experiment the other day in the MSE called "people watching".  It's a very time costly experiment.  My conclusion supports the hypothesis, "a great deal of Hopkins students chew on things." By things I mean pens, pencils, shirt collars, term papers, anything in the libs available for chewing (since obviously no one ever brings food in). Why are we constantly gnawing? Freud claims we were all deprived of adequate breastfeeding, but he's no longer alive so I'm going to refute him.

I have several of my own theories to explain these results. One, survival.  The brain needs glucose to study.  And in my experience at the MSE, there's a lot of studying and very little glucose. People study for long periods of time. Compound this by the fact that the guards are instructed to confiscate any piece of visible edible material and people start to get hungry!

My second theory is stress. The amount of studying and the lack of food at the library can produce enough stress to fuel a small war, which explains why we have guards.  People have no choice but to start thinking of socially acceptable ways to burn stress.  Throwing things is out of the question and the rest of our body is too busy sitting so we turn to our teeth.  And with the exception of the zombies that emerge from D level at 3am, we can't just go around biting people. Unless they're your sister.

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