Dating back to ancient times, there has always been a natural human desire to possess some advantage over others. Ever since the invention of large seating areas, this desire has manifested itself in the form of the “power seat.” Roughly translated, the power seat refers to, “A seat in which one can view all others but all others may not be able to view you.”

Think back to elementary school, to the little vehicle called the school bus. Where did all the cool kids want to sit? The back of the bus? Correction – the power seat of the bus.

In the back of the bus, you could see everyone and literally no one could see you without turning, that is with the exception of the bus driver in that giant mirror.

The back of the bus gave free reign for its inhabitants to stare without restraint, make faces or even throw things at all the other bus-riders. The power was limitless. Now, you may be asking yourself, where else does the power seat exists? Well, think about classes and shows – why is it that all the awesome people sit in the back? It’s not because they have really good vision, it’s because they know about the power seat.

However, the power seat is taken to the next level in the Periodical Reading Room at Rush Rhees Library. The PRR is a notorious study area in which over 100 inhabitants crowd into a world full of very little productivity and a lot of awkward eye contact. Every time I walk into the PRR, I look to the two ends of the room. The PRR boasts 16 power seats – eight on the back tables of each side.

I not only need to see an open seat, but it has to have an open buffer on both sides. Why is this buffer necessary? Well, I guess it’s just sort of creepy sitting next to people you don’t know with so many open seats. That’s just my personal preference.

If there are no power seats available given my criteria, I depart. However, if I do manage to see an available power seat, I quickly head for it.

You see, the PRR power seat has been given a boost by modern technology. Not only can I throw things, make faces and stare at others without their knowledge, I can also look at my laptop. That’s right, I can go on Facebook and look at the hot girl sitting in front of me and she would be none the wiser. I can send instant messages to others making fun of people in the room and they would have no idea.

I could even watch movies, edit my Kelly Clarkson Web site or watch porn. Yes, porn, and absolutely no one would know. Well, maybe if I was wearing sweatpants someone might, but that’s getting off topic.

The bottom line is, the power seat is something a lot of people don’t fully recognize, and just because I wrote this article praising it does not mean you should try to get it at the periodicals next time you go or that you should try and sneak a peak at my computer screen – don’t even think about it. With great power, comes great responsibility, and the power seat is no exception. Please use it wisely.

Rosen can be reached at

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