A recent outbreak in shoeless students has the Student Health Department on edge. While the laid back maritime climate of the area is certainly one of the UCSB’s most prominent selling points, it is a double-edged sword, as it is accompanied by a dangerous condition — inimical to both student health and the maintenance of reputation — referred to by Student Health as Bare Foot Syndrome. Male and female carriers alike have been observed carriers of BFS, while researchers note that those affected share a greater-than-average love of the beach, frequent surfing, and obliviousness.
“There are beachgoers, and then there are actual beachgoers,” explains coastal studies expert Professor David Lesscondo, adding that most of the student body is represented by the former, while the “actual beachgoers” of the latter can be described more accurately as surfers who attend classes in their spare time.
Studies suggest that BFS develops during the critical juncture of transition from beachgoer to surfer. Researchers initially suspected a correlation with overexposure to local IV ocean water, but the results of a certain Norwegian experiment say otherwise, as five brave volunteers were able to mutate into surfers, despite being in the Oslo Fjord. Subsequent reexamination yielded the true culprit: the surfboard itself.
“Mass-produced boards are coated with a chemical preservative that negatively affects the human mind with prolonged skin to board contact,” one surfboard manufacturer testified, going on to explain that this preservative encourages the brain to produce mass quantities of oblivic acid—a chemical distinguishable by its creation of an intense obliviousness in affected individuals that borders on willful negligence. The surfboard manufacturer noted that this is always present in BFS-positive adults.
Compared to flatulence by Santa Barbara health officials, BFS is relatively harmless outdoors but can be potentially deadly indoors. The severity of the carrier’s condition is directly proportional to the quantity of oblivic acid in his or her system. Those who display their BFS exclusively outdoors are considered early-onset and easily curable, with their oblivic acid levels being relatively stable.
However, health officials warn that carriers who show symptoms in public indoor settings possess terminal BFS, and are in constant danger of oblivic acid poisoning. With the sincerest conviction, carriers seem to be truly unaware that they are several minutes late to class, disrupting lecture with their loud voices, and even that their shoes and socks are missing or have somehow been misplaced. For many, the third factor is arguably the worst, as the accumulation of dirt and countless other substances that results from countless hours of shoelessness turns carriers’ feet black; this phenomenon is known as eclipsing. Eclipsing, while certainly harmful to those afflicted, also endangers nearby students, due to its odorous and unsanitary nature.
While BFS in its current state is not contagious, Professor Lesscondo states that he and his colleagues are still far from finding a cure. Until then, the Gauchos will have to remain mindful of their BFS positive peers.
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