A study of U.Va. tablers


Humor columnist Justine Baird breaks down the different categories of tablers.

Ariana Gueranmayeh | Cavalier Daily

We fake phone calls because of them. We put our headphones on to protect ourselves from them. We take the long way to class just to avoid them. They are dangerous and unpredictable. They can smell you from a mile away. You know what I’m talking about. The chaos that ensues on the South Lawn like clockwork every sunny day? The flood of flyers being shoved in front of your face outside of Fresh Food & Co? The Illuminati triangle of cheap plastic tables near the Whispering Wall? If you guessed tablers, you’re right. They’re a part of any normal day on Grounds. They’re a member of the outdoors community at our school, along with the fearless squirrels and occasional bunny. After spending two years avoiding their weirdly tiny papers and loud pop music, I have realized they are a unique kind. Not only are tablers unique as a whole, but they have many different subspecies. Here are some of the species I have come across.

1) The Loud Ones. The Loud tablers are often the dominant tablers. They stand in the middle of their habitat — the table — and they shout with force. They shout almost always in statements. For example, “Come to our concert this Friday!” or “Free coffee!” I believe The Loud Ones rely on their strong voices to overwhelm pedestrians. They want their words to be your thoughts. At times, their volume is used as a scare tactic to force individuals to take a flyer or sign a petition. Beware of The Loud Ones, they are often the leaders.

2) The Logical Ones. The Logical tablers try to use reason to get you. They reel you in with simple questions. For example, they will ask you, “What are you doing this weekend?” or “Do you like comedy?” and before you know it, you are taking a flyer for a stand-up show. They capitalize on your kindness and then bite, forcing you to take a flyer because you have a soft spot for puppies or showtunes. Their main tactic is to use your guilt. You just said you were a fan of amateur photography, so why wouldn’t you go to a photography exhibit at the Fralin? Good question. Beware of The Logical Ones — they are often the brains. 

3) The Apathetic Ones. The Apathetic tablers are the most friendly of all tablers. If you come across an Apathetic tabler, do not be afraid. This species normally prefers to look at their iPhones or to talk to fellow Apathetic friends. These tablers may be doing something more important, like writing a Collab assignment due next class. The Apathetics are normally not enthusiastic about their cause, and it is most likely that they were forced to be tablers. Do not beware of the Apathetic ones — they are the weakest. 

4) The Religious Ones. The Religious ones are very philosophical. While they are not the most forceful ones, they are still dangerous. They reel you in with absurd ideas that have never crossed anyone’s mind. But, their strategy seems to work. People try to ignore them like any other tablers, but you sometimes end up passing their table while also contemplating religion. Then, a little part of you wants to go back and answer their poll. After I personally pass their large whiteboards with their grand questions about God’s gender, I really do wonder. Could God be a woman? I mean, maybe. Beware of The Religious Ones, they are the most cunning.

5) The Musical Ones. The Musical Ones play their own music. Somehow, they can afford to produce their own music and put it on Spotify? Please let me know how that works. They also have the biggest speakers to drown out other tablers’ mainstream music with their sick tracks. They don’t care if you have already heard an acapella group cover Rolling in the Deep — their cover is definitely better, and they will play it at the highest volume available. Beware of The Musical Ones, they really like to sing. 

These are the main tablers I have encountered thus far on Grounds. Please be wary of all species and approach them with caution. If you cannot avoid them, just try your best to be invisible. That may be difficult, but it’s better than being awkwardly stuck with a flyer in your hand for the rest of your walk to class. 

Justine Baird is a Humor Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at humor@cavalierdaily.com.

related stories