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Club 23 nostalgia

Troy Mathew | Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Being a second semester senior is obviously terrifying. All of us are teetering on the precipice of adulthood, and have to deal with all the difficult questions posed by such a position – Where will I live? Will I have a job? Will I have health insurance? Is health insurance even a thing people have anymore? Why is everyone getting engaged?
Beyond merely the tribulations of senior year, it’s the strange emotional responses that people have to these stresses that are interesting and unique to Notre Dame. Personally, I have had a strange nostalgic and emotional reaction to my waning days as a pseudo-adult.
Cramming into a sweaty, strobe-lighted dorm room and clambering desperately for the last Natty Light does not seem inherently desirable, but for second-semester seniors, the scene represents a relatively simpler time. Rather than vying for elusive entry-level positions, the prevailing concern of those days was safely transporting a suitcase full of beer from the parking lot to the dorm, or making sure you got into the same physical education class as your friends.
Football season? Let’s not even go there.
Amid all this nostalgia, however, is one very important void – my Monday night void, left in the absence of Club 23. I’m aware Club 23 closed a pretty long time ago, and I’m also aware an inexplicably sticky carpet and air composed of approximately 70 percent cigarette smoke are not totally desirable things in and of themselves. But nostalgia is emotional. It’s impervious to logic.
Club 23 just seemed to have the magic formula for creating the perfect college dive bar. First, there were the frozen long islands. The secret recipe – two parts gin, two parts rum and one part lethal venom – was delivered, unassumingly, in delicious slushy form. And I could pay for it with the change I found under the seat in my car. I’m simply not convinced things like that exist in the post-graduate world.
Also, a lot of its allure resided in the fact that no one was really sure what Club 23 was. Was it a converted house? Why was the entire floor carpeted? Why did it vaguely feel as if I were in the house of my great-aunt or something? These enigmatic questions may never be answered but represented Club 23’s mystique.
Nostalgia is a funny thing because it can leave you pining for things you weren’t even that crazy about at the time. All our experiences at Notre Dame are tied to a multitude of other memories and feelings, so missing a dive bar turns out to be missing a lot more than just a dive bar.