Author Archives: Nicole Rodriguez

The Humboldt Hack

Informant was a 19 year old male friend who is studying Engineering at Humboldt State University. He came home for the weekend and we exchanged stories about our individual college experiences.


Informant: There’s this thing here called the Humboldt Hack

Collector: What’s that?

Informant: So when people move up there a lot of them develop a really nasty wet cough and people call it the Humboldt hack. supposedly it is caused by the always damp cold air and the mold and mildew caused by these conditions. however I hypothesize that the Humboldt hack actually occurs because people smoke all kinds of stuff they have never smoked before and they smoke more of it than they ever thought possible and thus they develop a cough because no matter what you are smoking it is bad for your lungs. Either way all the sinks and showers in the bathrooms always have nasty phlegm in them that people cough up. Super gross.

Collector: Ew. Who told you about the hack?

Informant: Umm, multiple people. Jacquie, for one, but she is Mormon and she doesn’t smoke anything. She lives on the first floor of my building but mostly resides in my room.

This legend seems to have some evidence that makes sense, according to my informant. I’m not entirely sure how mildew and mold affects the function of the lungs, but it seems to be a valid reason. Although, my informant’s theory also seems likely since Humboldt State is known for their…recreational activities. This hack thing was probably developed in order to dissuade students from harming their lungs further with illegal substances by telling them their lungs are already being affected by the very air they breathe.

The Turn Up Burger

Story: A few weeks ago I was on the phone with my mom and she was visiting my older sister in san diego. so they were both on the line. and this is a story my sister told me while i was on the phone.

one night my sister took my mom to the gaslamp quarter which is like this area in downtown san diego with a big nightlife scene and they went to some restaurant for dinner.

now before i tell you what happened let me just preface this by saying that my mom doesn’t ever drink and never really did. she drank a little bit when she was younger but she’s never actually been drunk.

so anyway, at the restaurant I guess she ordered this burger and it came with this special aioli sauce. and a little while after eating the burger my mom started to feel a little dizzy

so they checked what was in that aioli and i guess there was a little bit of tequila in the aioli.

so basically my mom got drunk off of a mayonnaise type sauce on her burger

she could barely walk home

there was probably a teaspoon of that sauce on the burger and my mom got legitimately drunk after eating it.

my sister asked her if it felt like she was drunk and my mom was like, “i have no clue what being drunk feels like”

also my mom is 52

so i just thought that was the cutest and funniest thing


My informant was a 19 year old female student who used to have the same writing class as me the previous semester. I was heading to the dining hall at Parkside when I spotted her outside, studying at one of the tables. We chatted and she told me this story.

I think it’s pretty funny because I never knew that anyone could get drunk off of a burger. Since her sister told this to her, I figured it could be considered folklore since it was passed to her orally and I’m pretty sure there’s some exaggeration to the whole thing so there’s some variation to it. In conclusion, I need to find this burger and try it.

The Key to Happiness

The story: God is trying to hide happiness in a place where the devil can’t get to it. God tries hiding it in the highest mountain on Earth. The Devil finds it. God then tries burying it in the deepest ocean trench. The Devil still finds it. Finally, God hides happiness the only place he can think to hide it: The human heart. The devil has since been unable to touch it. The key to happiness is within.

Informant was a 19 year old male student who I chatted with during our Russian Modern Art class. He’s a Film and Television Production Major.

Collector:  Who told this story to you?

Informant: My Dad, and his grandmother told it to him.

Collector: What was the occasion? Just general good advice?

Informant: It was during a time in my life when I was somewhat melancholy, my Dad told me this to ease my mind. At the time, I was trying to find happiness through external means: Other people, excessive academic performance, and material things like fancy clothes and so on. I was looking for happiness everywhere except within.

Collector: I’m guessing this story meant a lot to you, correct?

Informant: Yea, well, the thought that the key to one’s contentment lies within is an interesting one, and very uplifting. It means that one does not necessarily need to rely on other people, objects, or institutions to find happiness in one’s life. All too often, a reason a person says they aren’t happy is because they feel like external influences on their life reject them. This philosophy stresses the opposite–the need to reject external influences before they reject you. Not only is it a simple piece of wisdom, therefore, but one that goes against traditional expectations.

I thought this story was very inspirational, and whether or not the grandmother heard it from someone else or just made it up, it still has a great message to be passed on to future generations. Advice is usually given down in form of a story, which I believe is because people are more likely to sit down and listen to a narrative than a lecture. It’s an indirect way of telling people how they should approach their problems without being pushy.

What did the Casket Say?


What did one casket say to the sick casket?


Informant was a 19 year old male friend who is studying Engineering at Humboldt State University. He came home for the weekend and we exchanged riddles and stories and jokes, etc.

Collector: What?

Informant: Is that you coughing? (Laughs)

Collector: Where’d you get that one from?

Informant: The internet. I was procrastinating on my statics homework and looked up “funny stuff” on google. I thought it was pretty good – don’t you?

Collector: Yeah, I guess so, well, it makes sense. Any particular reason you remembered this one? Or was it just because you thought it was funny?

Informant: Yeah, it was amusing. It gave me the giggles.

This joke reminds me of something we learned in class, although it pertains more specifically with riddles. It was said that riddles are used by children in order to learn the meaning of words and this seems pretty applicable to this joke, considering it’s a play on words. “Coughing” sounds like “coffin”, which is synonymous to casket so in order to get the joke you’d have to learn what a homophone is and what synonyms are.

The Annex

Informant was a 19 year old male friend who is studying Engineering at Humboldt State University. He came home for the weekend and we exchanged stories about our individual college experiences.

Collector: What about hauntings? Do you have any ghost stories? Humboldt is in the middle of freaking nowhere.

Informant: Oh, supposedly the Annex is haunted.

Collector: What’s that?

Informant: Well it is this old university building on 14th and C street. It used to be the Trinity hospital but now it is just an old rundown building where the university stores furniture. People have told me that there are desks stacked to the ceiling in there. the original hospital was on g street but it moved after it burned down. The annex building then opened in the 1940’s and there was a lot of people who died there including some polio patients in iron lungs and stuff. So supposedly it is haunted and definitely structurally unsound which is why it closed in 1989. Oh, and the school bought it in the1970’s when the hospital closed. They used to use it for office buildings.

Collector: Who told you about the Annex?

Informant: Sarah, who used to be the president of ERESA, and also the vice president of ERESA told me about it. We talked about it during a meeting while we were planning our Halloween party thingy. Oh, it stands for Environmental Resources Engineering Student Association.

What I gathered from this is that the school really doesn’t want anyone going to this annex place and whether it be from actual ghosts or the fact that it’s structurally unsound, it seems like an overall bad idea to do so anyway. What I’m curious about is what the school uses the building for now since my informant specified that they “used” to use it for offices.