and entering

HUDS Union vs. Harvard: 9,475th Rock-Paper-Scissors Round Ends in Tie

Kramer and Hausammann have probably developed carpal tunnel syndrome, but given the waiting list at UHS, there's really no way to tell.

CAMBRIDGE, MA—As the university confronts annoyed students, dining hall closures, and starving mice, Local 26 and the Harvard Management Corporation both played “scissors” in round 9,475 of the rock-paper-scissors-format negotiations.

“It’s been psychologically draining, in an absolute way,” union negotiator Michael Kramer told reporters between rounds.  “I’ve developed PTSD: Post-Traumatic Scissors Disorder. I go home and try to eat dinner and I can’t grip the fork; my hand just clenches automatically into a fist and then two fingers pop back out, over and over. Have you ever tried to hug your kids like that?”

“For a while, it looked like we were making progress,” said Marilyn Hausammann, Harvard Vice President for Human Resources. “We both played ‘paper’ about 1,500 times, and we’d added a lot of good material to the contract. But we’ve been stuck on scissors for about 5,000 rounds now and any remaining piece of the agreement has been shredded to bits, as well as my handbag, three negotiating tables, and an unlucky moth.” 

“The probability of this is extremely unlikely, but it’s not mathematically impossible,” stated Mathematics Professor Paul Bamberg smugly, from his negotiating-room perch atop a pile of 800 discarded rocks from the first 400 rounds. 

“Statistics people, though, will tell you this is essentially impossible,” Bamberg added, pointing toward the scorch-marks in the back of the room where Stat 110 professor Joe Blitzstein had stood before his head spontaneously exploded after the 3,200th round.  

History Professor Ann Blair noted that this is fast becoming the most historic game of rock-paper-scissors since Gavrilo Princip played “gun” against Archduke Franz Ferdinand. 

Every few rounds, Kramer’s eyes seem to dart to the small pile of rocks in front of him, wondering if he should risk switching from the infinite scissors stalemate. “But that’s what they expect me to do,” Kramer said, as he played scissors six more times. “I know that as soon as I play rock, they’re going to play paper, and that’s game over. That’s no good.” 

Rumor has it that rock-paper-scissors champion Jason Simmons is flying in from Geneva, having just finished mediating the Syria ceasefire deal.

© 2016