“I thought I was having sex, but it turns out I just passed out on top of the dryer while it was on.”

People say some damn funny things when they think nobody else can hear them. Aside from reading the on-campus rags, prying into the personal lives of strangers – better known as “eavesdropping” – is the best alternative to paying attention in lecture.

Take this girl in one of my lectures. She is telling her friend about her weekend of alcohol-soaked naughtiness and the professor’s voice cuts out just as her story concludes with her passed out on a thump-thump-thumping washing machine that just became her new best friend. She probably didn’t know I heard that story, but now her life is presented for the amusement of the entire Nexus Friday readership. Both of them.

Sexual misadventures are not the only topics that lend themselves to good eavesdropping, however. Often, one can deepen his or her understanding of popular culture by leeching the culture of others. Sitting by a nerd cluster, for example, can provide scintillating insights about enchanted swords, long-legged anime girls or how Hollywood will bastardize somebody’s favorite super-villain.

“Dude, I got online and read the new script for the Superman movie they’re making, and they totally fucked up Lex Luthor’s character,” said one fellow with a facial expression usually worn by war refugees.

Not to be outdone, the nerds’ female counterparts are an efficient way to catch oneself up on the most recent developments of WB programming. Most people don’t realize, apparently, that this season of “Dawson’s Creek” falls short of the high quality of the previous ones. Two girls in my English lecture, however, are spreading the message one eavesdropper at a time.

An often-overlooked aspect of eavesdropping is the gathering of shit – as in, “Now I’ve got some shit on that person I hate.” Since everybody in Isla Vista is connected by merely three or four individuals, the laws of chance ensure that if one eventually listens to enough strangers talk about their weekend, you’ll eventually find out your old roommate’s sexual predilections extend beyond the usual scope of the species Homo sapiens.

Most importantly, one should shed the aura of shame often attached to secretly initiating oneself into other people’s conversations. Minding one’s business is simply biologically impossible; the human ear is programmed to automatically prick up at the sound of certain words and phrases, like “nipple,” “engorged” and “pungent discharge.” Words like these invite the human mind to abandon its present task and ask, “Hey, what the hell is that guy over there talking about, anyway?”

Truly, the very cosmology of the universe conspires to eliminate privacy in lecture hall-based conversations. Cosmic law that states no matter what level the background noise of the conversations around a person starts at, that level will drop to silence whenever the most humiliating combination of words assembles. This results in an entire section of Campbell Hall hearing the tail ends of stories and meeting them with shocked glances.

“… and I had to clean guacamole from the weirdest places.”

“… just glad the doctor didn’t laugh when I asked.”

“… smelled like old potatoes.”

So whether it’s to pass the time in a dull lecture, collect humorous anecdotes to tell your friends or just settle a personal vendetta, eavesdropping is the cool thing to do.

By the way, if you’re drunk-on-the-dryer girl, please e-mail and explain the events leading up to your romantic entanglement with a cleaning appliance. It just sounded so romantic.

Daily Nexus county editor Drew Mackie didn’t have a thing for appliances before this fateful eavesdrop. At least he’s not the only one.