Humans of Harker: Edgar Lin amuses himself with the absurdities of life


Rose Guan

“I don’t really care whether I’m entertaining by being the person you laugh with or the person you laugh at,” Edgar Lin (12) said. “Sometimes it just feels good to do something that’s kind of ridiculous.”

by Rose Guan, Wingspan senior staff writer and designer

“He bikes to school; he’s, like, the bike man. He eats with two knives using them as chopsticks every single day — when the chopsticks came, he still used the knives as chopsticks. When he does push-ups, he always uses his fists, and nobody uses their fists.”

That’s Adriano Hernandez’s (12) description of Edgar Lin (12), some of whose traits and habits might be called idiosyncratic or, at the very least, unconventional.

For instance, most students’ morning routines involve getting out of bed right before heading to school; if they’re up at 4, they probably stayed up late. Edgar is usually the only person awake in his house at that time, too, but this is because he wakes up much earlier than most.

“Over time, the mornings have become my favorite part of the day. Just knowing that I’m the only person around who’s awake at that time is kind of calming,” he said. “I cook myself breakfast. I eat breakfast. I can plug my earbuds in and listen to music and work without anybody distracting me.”

Edgar started going to sleep earlier than normal in his junior year, when he found that the heavy chlorination of the pools he played in as a member of the boys water polo team made it hard for him finish his homework after games and practices.

“Instead of doing work in the evening, I would go to bed immediately after I [got] home and [ate], and I would get up at around 3 or 4 in the morning to do work instead. I did decide to keep it even after the season ended because I just liked the idea of having that time to myself in the morning,” Edgar said.

After his atypical morning routine, Edgar usually rides his bicycle to school, which he’s discovered gives him a new perspective on architecture and the buildings he passes.

“I really dislike front lawns. The one thing about biking is when you’re biking, you’re a lot closer to the edge of the road and closer to buildings, and you’re not going as fast. There are architectural and landscaping things that start annoying me,” Edgar said. “Whatever I care a lot about is just whatever I come across a lot in my daily life. Something I’d say I wish other people would do is care a bit less about things sometimes. I’m not saying you have to be completely apathetic about everything, but I do feel like sometimes we care a bit too much, not the other way around.”

Andrew “Andy” Semenza (12) too describes his friendship with Edgar as “boring stretches punctuated by absurd things”— like building a six-foot-long K’nex bridge in the fourth grade.

“Superficially, he can be identified by his beyond-copious storage of completely niche and random knowledge that’s stunning to the observer. He’s an enigmatic character at his heart, though,” Andy said. “Sometimes that intellectual shell can kind of distract the observer from what he is really like inside, and I think that’s different things for different people.”

Despite Edgar’s seemingly erudite or eccentric surface qualities — he’s an officer for both Quiz Bowl and Philosophy Club — he doesn’t condescend or flaunt his knowledge.

“Edgar’s a really good friend. One time I was biking home, but then my bike broke,” Swapnil Garg (12), co-president of Quiz Bowl with Edgar, said. “Edgar ran over to me, carried my bike back to his mom’s van, and then his mom drove me home, and then he worked for like half an hour trying to fix my bike.”

In the end, Edgar tries to maintain an amusing, lighthearted attitude whether in or out of class, to bring the interesting to his friends and peers.

“I’d say [I’d like to be remembered] for being entertaining, as much as I can. Life has a lot of boring things, so that’s why I feel like if I can be a relief from those, then I’d be happy with that,” Edgar said. “I don’t really care whether I’m entertaining by being the person you laugh with or the person you laugh at. Sometimes it just feels good to do something that’s kind of ridiculous.”