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The A&L blues

Molly Sammon | Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I’m all out of the obligatory “congratulations” to each of my friends who have accepted job offers at some of the world’s top corporations. They’ve been wooed by companies offering them $60,000 starting salaries with full benefits and the chance to live in the trendy areas of America’s biggest cities. Lately, these congratulations I’ve dished out are accompanied by an equally obnoxious eye-roll, the kind you can see from 20 feet away. I’d like to offer them another deep and heart felt congratulations, a congratulations that they’ve befriended a lowly Arts and Letters major who might need some transition housing for a year.

Each job accepted by my accounting major friends is the promise of another Potterybarn leather sectional somewhere on the Upper-East Side where I can sleep when my downtown studio apartment’s heating breaks down or the place becomes infested with mutant cockroaches. Congratulations on your new job and your new roommate, my newly rich friends.

I will not be the good roommate, either — I’ll be the annoying one. I’ll ask to be everyone’s plus one to all the fancy cocktail parties after hours just so I have an excuse to change out of sweatpants. I will wake up at 10 a.m., only to eat cereal and watch Regis and Kelly, specifically looking for inspiration from Regis (a fellow social science major from Notre Dame) and wondering how he got his big break that pays the bills. Maybe around noon, I will start my shift at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

I have already picked out which of my dear friends I’m going to have accept an offer of friendly sponsorship while I find my own way without the name “Mendoza” on my diploma.

My friend Matt just accepted a job working in New York City, with a starting salary that will probably allow him to buy his own Rolls Royce by his 23rd birthday. He’s guaranteed Brooks Brothers suits and a leather briefcase, full of papers that look important, and probably are. Years from now, when he’s married to his third Swedish supermodel wife, if he’s feeling particularly charitable and wants to leave Park Avenue for the day, hopefully he’ll be able to reach out to my children and take them to the Central Park Zoo or to Yankees games, because I certainly won’t be able to spoil them as he could. When they ask me why Uncle Matt is so rich, I’ll tell them the truth.

“Well, children, Uncle Matt majored in Finance, like all good Domers should. He resisted the promise of a beautiful arts education where you can throw away the graph paper and the calculator used for playing games in high school biology. Where instead of doing accounting problems and natural logs, you get to read really great books by the world’s most fascinating people that expand your mind and then write papers about them. How could you resist something like that?”

Hopefully, they will decide to major in whatever they like most, but I should start saving now to show them someone can make money and be an Arts and Letters major. But just in case, I better check if the Bed, Bath, and Beyond down the street from Matt’s potential apartment is hiring a new night-shift manager starting this May.

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Molly Sammon at msammon@nd.edu