Note: Commas indicate a pause in speech. Italicized words indicate words said with emphasis.
Informant: Oh, I mean, Mudd doesn’t have bathtubs anymore because someone made meth in them.
Me: Wait, what? *laughs*
I: Not a joke.
Me: Wait, tell me more.
I: This is a real thing, um, one of our dorms, Atwood dorm, when it got installed had bathtubs in it because it was a newer dorm, right? And everyone was like yo bathtubs! and then um, one day, uh, somebody, and by somebody I mean- I think I think I think it was the FBI, um, came to Atwood and they were like Yo! there’s been a suspiciously high amount of like, drugs going through here. And we were like, that’s strange. um I mean it’s a college campus, so we expect the usual amount of drugs going through here, but an unusual amount…but then they were like no no no no not like that, like drug trafficking. and the school is like what do you mean? and they were like well we suspect that someone at Mudd has been, um, like, creating meth. and they were like, what? and then um, the the I don’t know when it was. But anyway, the FBI like, kinda starts to narrow down who the student is and then they come to the realization that this kid has been cooking meth in the bathtub. and, um, and the story ends and he like jumps out of like a 2 story building and like, attempts to get away and then he is caught and then they took all of our bathtubs out because the meth thing.
The informant said he learned about these legends from a seminar called Mudd lore. He also commented that these stories highlight the “evil genius aspect of our Mudd lore” that is a “kinda little fun and cute little STEM moment.”
Context of Performance:
Legends are grounded in the real world as dubiously true. While this story definitely happened in real life, it has since been elevated to legendary status, to the extent that it is told in a seminar. In addition, this story has definitely changed over time. Was it really the FBI, or was it the local police? This legend likely gains credibility because its effects can be tangibly seen on Harvey Mudd’s campus. Where are the bathtubs?
For this specific legend, I think there is something about STEM schools and breaking the law in very nerdy ways, such as creating meth. I’ve heard stories about a student at MIT who also created meth in their dorm room, and even a Boston University professor who was creating meth at their home.