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Townies are people, too

Kate Gales | Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Some people are afraid of living away from home for the first time. They worry about doing their own laundry, getting stuck with an awful roommate, getting less than a 4.0 or turning into walking dynamos of duLac infractions. My greatest fear, however, was to live among the townies.Coming here in August 2003, I knew all about townies, thanks to the educational power of the Keenan Revue. My best friend’s older brother, who is now a senior RA in Keenan, had a copy of the 2002 Revue. My first viewing of this traditional production prominently featured an original song describing the many qualities of the townie. Thanks to the Revue, I knew that townies are people who live in trailers, live and die by the glories of NASCAR and marry their cousins. They like to go hunting and hang around gas stations. Most townies are employed at Meijer or tattoo parlors and sell beer to underage Notre Dame students.Now, I know the Revue isn’t always about the truth. From it, I heard that Zahm guys were gay (my dad lived in Zahm), Cavanaugh girls are easy (then I got my housing form – guess where I live) and Saint Mary’s chicks are husband hunters (my mom is a proud Saint Mary’s grad – okay, this one could be true). I took all this information with a grain of salt. But I knew the Revue would never lie about townies.With the same care I took purchasing textbooks and extra-long sheets, I prepared to defend myself against the forthcoming townie onslaught in South Bend. I was fully prepared to stop, drop and roll far from these strangely-bred creatures.They say college is a learning experience. I’ve picked up a little accounting here and also learned how to throw a really fun pre-SYR party. But perhaps the most important thing I’ve come to know is that townies are people, too. They can even be your friends. Imagine my surprise when I actually made friends with two townies. They didn’t wear Dale Earnhardt gear! Their teeth were straight! They lived in houses and their parents had normal jobs. They had normal names like Megan and Kirsten. They were totally and completely normal. They were people.Townies are just like the other kids at Notre Dame, except you want to come visit them during the school year, not in the summertime. They have sweet perks – you can spend holidays with them, they usually have cars and know where the fun restaurants are. One campus figure even pointed out that “all townie girls are hot.” Now there’s a compliment.Townies are people, too, with feelings and everything. Sometimes they get self-conscious about being from South Bend, like when Kirsten introduces herself as simply from Indiana or when Megan specifies that she’s from Mishawaka. Townies – it’s okay – you can’t help where you’re from. People spend a lot of time here talking about discrimination. We’re all aware of prejudicial tensions – but the townie label has floated under the radar at this school, and that is never fair. Today, take the opportunity to tell a townie how much you appreciate them, hometown notwithstanding. South Bend? Fine by me.