SODIUM PODIUM: Nine salty opinions to bring a tiny raging light to your life

SFU students voice their petty complaints from the comfort of home

Just because it’s funny doesn’t mean it’s satire. Illustration: Tiffany Chan/The Peak

By: Juztin Bello, Copy Editor; Harvin Bhathal, News Writer; Madeleine Chan, Staff Writer; Tiffany Chang, Peak Associate; Meera Eragoda, Staff Writer; Lubaba Mahmud, Staff Writer; Nicole Magas, Opinions Editor; Paige Riding, News Writer; Nathaniel Tok, Peak Associate

Please stop asking me if I know someone you know from SFU

SFU is a very large academic institution. We span over three campuses, offer a whole slew of programs, and have over 30,000 students. So what I truly don’t understand is why some people believe that everyone has met everyone else who attends our school. I’ve been asked countless times if “I know so-and-so who’s a blah, blah, blah major at SFU” and it irritates the hell out of me!

For clarification, I recognize how bringing the topic up is an attempt to make some sort of connection, or even just initiate a friendly discussion. But if the person I’m being asked about is in a completely different faculty or year, what are the odds of me having come across them? This only leads to me responding, “No, sorry,” then a painfully awkward silence ensues.

Honestly, if people just mentioned that they know someone who goes to SFU it would suffice. No one needs to waste time on wondering whether or not I know the individual when there’s a sporting chance that I don’t. For the rest of my time here, I only have one request, and it’s for anybody who’s thought of asking, or ever asked this question: please do us both a favour and save the conversation from predictable awkwardness by not bothering to ask it.

– Tiffany Chang


Time changes need to go so I can rest and enjoy the sun 

Give me back my sleep schedule, time changes! Illustration: Tiffany Chan/The Peak

Why does an artificial time construct get to dictate whether I sleep well or when I see the sun? 

I am (literally) tired of having days in the winter when I wake up and only have four to five hours of daylight. It’s like daylight saving was like, “Oh? Do you have seasonal depression? Here, every November let’s make it worse. And then every March, once you’ve fully adjusted, let’s fuck up your sleep schedule.” 

People may read this and think, “Why don’t you wake up earlier?” but bitch, I am a night owl through and through and nothing can change that. I am certain many other people are as well. I shouldn’t have to pry my eyes open at an early hour to be able to soak in vitamin D (AKA vitamin dopamine). My sleep schedule, my mood, and my mental health shouldn’t also be something that shifts with the biannual time change. The ghost of Simon Fraser knows there’s already so many other factors that contribute to that.

The Yukon has just axed the time change, and is now permanently on the current daylight saving time. If our neighbour to the north can cancel time changes, then why can’t we? There’s no more utilitarian use for daylight saving, so why is it actually still around? 

Time is as fake as most students’ commitment to attend every class anyway. Tradition needs to shut the fuck up and die already, like the fragile gatekeeper it is, so everyone can finally be free from this temporal hellscape.

– Madeleine Chan


Reviews don’t tell me what your book is about 

Don’t give me bling to increase book sales, give me an actual blurb of your novel. llustration: Tiffany Chan/The Peak

I walk into a bookstore, ready to treat myself after a long week. I browse through the shelves and pick up an interesting looking book. Eager to know what it’s about, I flip it over to read the back cover, only to come across the following:

“The most amazing book you’ll ever read.” — Jack Verde

“An amazing tale of family, love, identity, and death. This is a fabulous page-turner.” —  Hayley Labour

Okay, great. But what is the book really about, besides the generic themes of love and all that? Am I going to meet a quirky character with a unique perspective on life, or will I accompany a brave warrior as he fights for his kingdom? I’m trying my best to find out, but I’m hit with “New York Times Bestseller” or “Odyssey Award Nominee.” 

Where’s the damn plot? 

Don’t give me 300 lines of praise from other authors and then throw in a list of awards and accolades on the cover. I really don’t care what John Green thinks; I just want to know what the book is about. These days, I have to go on a treasure hunt to find the mini blurb — if that exists at all — about the actual content of the book. Is it on the front-flap, hidden somewhere in the introduction, or is it buried somewhere else? I’d ask Mr. Green, but he’d probably get lost in the maze too.

In the quest to sell more books, publishers have been prioritizing glowing reviews over detailed descriptions of the story for the book cover. This steals the joy from the experience of book shopping. If I were to review this tragedy, I’d sum it up with the following:

“A heart-wrenching tale.” — Bookworms.

– Lubaba Mahmud


I’m tired of always having to be the mother at the club

When a group of friends goes to the club, party roles start filling up. There’s the

Clubbing friend by choice, mother by force. Illustration: Tiffany Chan/The Peak

Adventurer, who decides to walk down Davie at 1:38 a.m. alone after downing seven Jäger bombs. Not far behind is the Signature Hoe™️, who spends the first half of the night flirting with anything with a pulse. This is also the one who later ditches their friends to get laid by a 4/10 that looks like a 9 under the club lights. Then there are those who don’t ever know their limits, downing another double directly after leaving the washroom stall with mom’s spaghetti still on their top.

My role, nine times out of 10 in these instances? Not one of the aforementioned archetypes, oh no. My destiny? I’m the club mom.

I’m talking about being the psychiatrist, the nurse, the one who holds a friend’s hair as they chundy for 30 minutes straight. While my friends get into trouble, or states of emotional distressed (often self-induced via texting exes), or blackout from drinking, I’m the one there to provide support. The whole night.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to help however I can. Sometimes. But when I go out with the same group multiple times a semester, I don’t want them to assume that their ol’ pal Mom will come to their rescue, thus never feeling the need to correct their own dumbass behavior. Give the club mom a night to be an idiot, too!

This isn’t a call-out for anyone in particular, but hey, if the uncomfortable club outfit fits . . .

– Paige Riding


Civil disobedience is supposed to be inconvenient

Step outside your privilege and take a look at what’s really going on. Illustration: Tiffany Chan/The Peak

To all the people who have complained about the Wet’suwet’en protests: demonstrations like these are meant to disrupt your life. That’s literally the whole point! Civil disobedience is used as a last resort when (largely marginalized) groups have exhausted all other methods of trying to get governments to listen to them. 

In the case of the Wet’suwet’en protests, you feel what it’s like to be inconvenienced in an incredibly minor way in order to bring attention to the major ways in which the Canadian government has and continues to dismiss the concerns of Indigenous people. 

In addition to making you understand an iota of what the Wet’suwet’en people are dealing with (disruption to your life for a few hours vs. disruption to their whole lives), protests are supposed to make you ask why and who is to blame. In this case, the why is rooted in colonization and cultural genocide, and the who is the Canadian government. 

Google it and educate yourself before slinging your ignorant and frankly racist remarks all over comment threads.

– Meera Eragoda


Not all tattoos have to mean something, some of them can be skin-deep  

As a person with 42 tattoos, it’s pretty easy for my first conversation with someone to be about the art on my arm. While most interactions are relatively lighthearted, there’s question in particular that I’m truly tired of answering:

“So, what do all of these mean?” 

I get this question a lot, and, frankly, I tend to give the same answer every time: “Some of them have meaning, but most of them don’t really mean anything.” This is received by one of two responses: either the person asks me to tell them the story behind the ones with meaning (which I begrudgingly do) or they insist that tattoos should mean something because they’re permanent. Tattoos? Permanent? Groundbreaking.

While I’m not the tattoo police, I will insist that someone shouldn’t feel like what they want or have on their body has to have some deep explanation to it. It’s annoying for me because I have so many, and thus need to vouch for multiple dumb ink children, but even a person with one or two tattoos doesn’t need that. 

If you’re a person who asks someone what their tattoos mean, try holding yourself back to merely complimenting the artwork upon their fleshy canvases. While gawking is appreciated, questioning is not. 

People should be able to get meaningless tattoos without being questioned for it — we’re the ones paying for these tattoos to be put on our bodies, we should be the ones deciding whether they need to mean something or not.

– Juztin Bello


Are you out of ur(inal) mind? Put your phone away!

Now is not that time to use that. Illustration: Tiffany Chan/The Peak

There’s little else that confuses and disgusts me more than witnessing the cultural phenomenon of guys using their phones at the urinal. I cannot stress this enough: the urinal is not a place to go on your phone. It is a sacred space — a space for release, a space for a person to unleash their inner animal. It is not, I repeat, not a space to watch the end of the Netflix episode you couldn’t finish last night. 

Just think about it for a second. The droplets of urine that splash against the urinal and then onto you are going to seep into the cracks of your device and permeate the depths of your Netflix episode. Then you place your phone back into your pocket, wash your hands (if even), and later, place your hands in your pockets. It’s an asinine cycle.

Not only is it unhygienic to whip out your phone at the urinal, it is astoundingly disruptive for those around you. 

I am trying to spend the few minutes I have in my break from class in a space of privacy, only to hear KJ Apa’s voice as the wall of the third urinal down is glazed.

I do not need this in my life. 

If that is not enough, the potential danger of dropping an expensive phone in the urinal should steer anyone away from even thinking of doing such suspect activity

But perhaps that is what urinal cellphone users deserve.

– Harvin Bhathal


Do we really need all these SFU watering holes?

This is not how I pictured my time at SFU. Illustration: Tiffany Chan/The Peak

One reason why I don’t hike so much anymore is because of one hike years ago, when I ended up going through a swamp. During that time, my feet and socks got soaked through my supposedly waterproof boots. The feeling of walking for eight hours until the next stopping point with water sloughing through my boots, and my subsequently itchy feet for weeks afterwards is something I would rather not repeat. 

Yet, for whatever reason, SFU is determined to give me the opportunity to relive my experience in tiny, piecemeal moments. I’m talking, of course, about the random pools of water collecting at exits from Convo Mall going to the WMC. With all other paths blocked off by construction, I get to waddle through those “cute” little ponds, often inescapably near an outdoor staircase or doorway. 

Seriously, whenever I met with people from UBC and they bragged about their school, I used to be able to tell them “at least I stay dry on campus when it rains.” Indeed, that was apparently Gordon Shrum’s vision for students when SFU’s design was first being considered. As a UBC professor taking over as Chancellor of the brand new university, he felt it best for students to stay dry in Raincouver. 

Unfortunately, those deep quagmires, combined with my broke-ass shoes with extra holes for “breathability,” means that while my body stays dry, my feet do not.

– Nathaniel Tok


If only one person is talking at a meeting it should really just be an email

I really, really value efficiency in my life. The reality of my own mortality has made me realize that there are far better uses for my time than jam-packed commutes, uncoordinated errand running, and yes, sitting in on a meeting simply to be an extra butt in a chair.

Not all in-person meetings are pointless; let’s get that out of the way. Sometimes, it’s actually good to get a group of people together and hear everyone’s input on a project that’s right there on the table in front of everyone. I’m not talking about those meetings: I’m talking about the meetings where one person does all the talking to a group of half-zoned-out placeholders; the meetings where thoughts from the group are discouraged or shot down. In short, the meetings that could just be an email blast.

These meetings are especially irritating when they involve a long commute, like, for example up to SFU. I’m not just wasting an hour of my life sitting here listening to what I could read in 15 minutes, but I’ve lost three hours total in getting there and back as well! 

If we take nothing else from our current pandemic situation (aside from good hygiene — seriously people, wash your goddamn hands!) could we at least in the future reevaluate mandatory attendance meetings? Could they really not just be an email afterall?

– Nicole Magas