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Concerning giraffes

Matthew Balkey | Thursday, February 10, 2011

I write in response to The Observer’s Question of the Day regarding the placement of a giraffe in a refrigerator. The responses, while funny, were necessarily limited to trite one-liners, and do not, in my opinion, fully capture the spirit of such an undertaking at Notre Dame. Here’s how it would really work:

First, putting a giraffe in a refrigerator is most definitely an event. Which means it’s going to need SAO approval. They will have to clear it with the Office of Risk Management. The general counsel will then produce a custom consent waiver which the giraffe must sign before participating. Of course, giraffes are not legally empowered to consent to anything, so you’d have to get your AR who is a law student to file a motion with the US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana requesting power of attorney. Once the waiver has been signed, a t-shirt committee will be formed to design a commemorative jersey for this momentous occasion. The shirt will naturally require separate SAO approval. These shirts will then be sold from a table in South Dining Hall to benefit some worthy charity. As the giraffe presumably hails from Africa, it would be best if the charity was involved in building schools in Uganda or something. If that falls through, there’s always the South Bend Center for the Homeless.

As for the refrigerator, university policy probably requires an Energy Star-certified model, even though it will never actually be used for refrigeration. In fact, it will need to be unplugged and have the refrigerant drained, which will likely require some sort of EPA disposal permit. At this juncture, the Philosophy Department and the College of Science will jointly convene a panel discussion of distinguished faculty to debate whether or not the appliance, sans refrigerant, is still, ontologically, a refrigerator.

By the time all the pieces are in place, the giraffe, which was already at an advanced age when we obtained it from the Potawatomi Zoo, will likely have died. Fr. Jenkins will preside over the memorial service in the Basilica. Finally, the giraffe, according to its final wishes as conveyed by University Spokesman Dennis Brown, will be cremated and the urn deposited in the refrigerator. The entire assembly will then be interred in a LEED Gold-rated mausoleum in the Cedar Grove cemetery, donated by the (pick one: Eck/Jordan/DeBartolo/Pasquerilla) family. I guess there’s only question left: How do we get the giraffe into the crematorium?

Matthew Balkey

Dillon Hall

Feb. 9