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Filler Column

Brooks Smith | Thursday, October 29, 2009

Upon first being told, that I had attained the position of Viewpoint writer in this fair newspaper, my soul positively blazed with delight; and I set to making the ink flow from my pen, in the service of making light of things, which hereabouts are taken more seriously than they deserve. And indeed, for one or two columns, the freshness and invention which naturally arose from being a new writer with a somewhat different perspective won me some modest acclaim from close friends and immediate relations.

But being unable to sustain this mood, nor plentifully enough supplied with the wit or brains to invent new topics for discussion, I hit upon the determination to immediately let down my readers, by composing a column entirely of such desultory filler, as is usually to be found written herein when news is slow and topics of conversation are few. So I racked my brains for such well-worn topics as life at Notre Dame could supply me with, and before long had come up with a list which, if not comprehensive, at least hit upon most of the major clichés which are often remarked upon by lackwits such as myself.

It was my intention to avoid any originality in thought or word, so as to avoid putting off more traditionally minded readers, which at Notre Dame are in no short supply. Indeed, this entire column is written in the style of Jonathan Swift, complete with archaic grammar. If by some mischance I should have happened to use a novel turn of phrase, or put a new twist on an old joke, I heartily apologize for the unintentional breach of good conduct.

First, I assayed to note, that Notre Dame has entirely too many sprinklers, which cover not only grass, but also douse sidewalks and innocent passersby with their freely flowing water; and ventured to express the opinion, that perhaps we might be better served, by a higher degree of control over their volume, direction, and timing.

That topic running dry, I quickly hit upon another, which was that the squirrels, who currently run amok over the grass, and are positively shameless about begging food, have lost much of their natural fear of mankind, and pose a great danger to the student body, should they ever develop a taste for human flesh. Certainly this latter topic has been milked dry at length, by other would-be comedians, and I considered making it the entirety of my column; but in my desire to cover as much ground as possible, I regrettably had to omit it.

My next subject, was the age old question, of which dining hall was superior to the other; and indeed much ink has been spilled, defending the honour of North Dining Hall, for its free and easy seating arrangements, or upholding that of South Dining Hall, for its vaunted resemblance to the dining rooms in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

From the topic of dining halls I proceeded naturally to considering, whether the women of this fair university consume too much of the Fro-Yo provided therein, and thereby swell their girth beyond that which average males might consider attractive, and push our male population into the open arms of the Saint Mary’s population (on which more later).

Naturally, not wishing to appear partial to one sex or the other, I next chose to muse on the exceeding awkwardness of many among our male population, and their lack of social skill, especially as pertaining to interactions with females, in which discomfort in the male may be observed to increase directly in proportion to the attractiveness of the girl being spoken to.

It was my intention to dwell for some length of time on the purported lack of intelligence and loose nature of Saint Mary’s chicks, but I decided it was best to avoid sparking a tiresome Viewpoint war, as I have seen in these pages many times before over just this subject.

I meant to muse on the nonexistent dating culture here at Notre Dame, which essentially segregates its students into those looking for random hookups and those seeking their ring by spring, but a brief reflection on which camp I had been ‘sorted in’ convinced me to hastily abandon the subject.

In summation, it is my hope that, by the expedient of relying on tired and shop-worn jokes, I have managed to raise a horse-laugh or two, from the great masses, who will slap their knees indiscriminately at any minimally observant quip, which references our fair school; and that I have managed to convince the considerably smaller readership, who long for intelligent humor at Notre Dame, that I can offer them no solace. I welcome the diminished readership and expectations that will accompany my next column.

Brooks Smith is a junior math and English major at Notre Dame. He can be contacted at bsmith26@nd.edu

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