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My regrets

Andrew Miller | Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It’s now time for us as seniors to start thinking about what we could have or should have done differently over the course of our undergraduate years at Notre Dame. For instance, a close friend of mine jokingly told me he has nothing but regrets. Yet my biggest regret involves the columns I didn’t write. So instead of talking about all the things I have loved about Notre Dame, I’m going to make this column a collection of the failed columns I tried to write this year but could never finish.

First: “Raise High the Stock Portfolios, Investors.”

I wanted to write an elegy to the financial industry last fall and started to do so in a parody of John Milton’s “Lycidas.” This was as far as I got:

… Yet once more, o ye bankers, and once more you executives proud, with paychecks never dwindling, I come to ask of you: How could such things happen? Where have gone the glory days of our youth, the days of the tech bubble booming with rises economic and complete? Where has gone the security of our economic future? Bitter times and financial constraints have brought me to this point. The dollar is dead, dead before it had time to fully flourish. Yet what currencies would not mourn with me as I bemoan the demise of such an entity?

Not all is bad, say some. The optimist comes to a new point in his analysis: “Weep no more, oh guardians of our wallets and purses! For the dollar is not dead though it be sinking to its lower limits. Time will come again when we will rejoice in its power.” Thus the golden swan takes leave in better straights than us. He looks out on fresh industries and markets new …

Second: “The Redness of the Ginger.”

I wanted to write about people with red hair because I have red hair and I feel that ever since the “South Park” episode “Ginger Kids” premiered, us redheads have been inordinately mocked. The title of the column is an allusion to a chapter in “Moby-Dick” and initially the whole column was going to be a parody of Ishmael’s lengthy yet meaningful cetological discourses in that novel. But again, this is as far as I got:

… What the red-haired child is to the general non-redheaded community has been exhaustively discussed: in an episode of “South Park,” in the predominating culture of British society, in whispered rumors that red hair is the proverbial mark of Cain. What the red-haired child is to me has yet remained unsaid.

Reasons abound as to why the topic of red hair is perennially intriguing. For me, a currently balding redhead, I have reduced the answers I have given in the past to this single idea: It is the redness of the hair which above all things appalls most people. But how can I try to explain what this means; and yet, in some inconceivable, indiscernible way, explain myself I must, otherwise this entire column is for naught.

There is fear of the redhead in our social environment. He is a person that walks among brown and blonde haired peoples different and definitively in the minority. He is a person that stands out in any racial crowd. He is a person that cannot help but make himself aware of his inherent superficial inferiority. But there must be reasons for these truths; there must be a determinable answer as to why …

Third: “The Family Band.”

I’ve always wanted a family band and I wanted to write a column about how best to form one. I planned to talk about how a family band would go through the full range of rock and roll experiences from booming early success to utter destruction through a lifestyle of sex and drugs. But I was never able to achieve the right tone and I was only ever satisfied with the first line (“So lately I’ve decided to form a family band”) and the last line (“You know, I just can’t handle this right now. I’m never going to form a family band”). Anyone who wants to try to figure out what goes in between these two lines please send me an e-mail.

So there they are: the three columns I could never write. There was a column I finished about Notre Dame indignation; but it was mean and I only wanted to publish it because of one joke (“What use is dialogue when both sides of the aisle are riding the Loud Bus to Crazy Town?”). I almost wrote columns about excessive hugging, eating dinner in the DH alone and facial hair in college.

But I didn’t.

And now I realize that my biggest regret in college is not applying to be an Observer Columnist until the fall of my senior year.

I would like to thank any readers I may or may not have, my friends, The Observer for publishing me and particularly Brad Blomstrom and Alex Duffy who always, always got the joke.

Andrew Miller is a senior English major. He can be contacted at amille15@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.