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Where’s my Malfoy?

| Monday, April 8, 2019

During my time here at Notre Dame, I’ve had a pretty fulfilling college experience. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve tried new things, I’ve made great new friends — most of the things you hear about people doing in college. But I do feel like I am missing one important thing: a nemesis.

Now don’t get me wrong — I’m not looking for someone to hate, or some kind of scapegoat for personal failures. But people always say that everyone’s the hero of their own story, so how is my story going to be any good without a solid arch-rival villain-type? Think of all of mankind’s greatest stories; every good protagonist has someone to do battle with — a foil, an enemy. Tom has Jerry, Othello has Iago, Holmes has Moriarity, Potter has Malfoy, Hamilton has Burr and Kimmel’s got Damon.

Every compelling hero seems to need someone to act in opposition to. Someone to provide contrast, to motivate the main character, to make them change and become better. Jon Snow wouldn’t be half as compelling and bada— if he didn’t have to go up against Ramsay Bolton. In “No Country For Old Men,” the story of Llewelyn Moss would be an open and shut tale of some dude getting lucky and finding money in a desert if it weren’t for Anton Chigurh. The point is that enemies, time and time again, seem to be important. They can help shape heroes, define them and make them better.

Maybe it’s a credit to the University and its students, but I have never found anyone that I would call my own nemesis. No one has made themselves the antagonist of the Max Lander story, and honestly, I’m a little disappointed. My greatest battles have been against either myself or intangible concepts. Every day I struggle against deadlines, sleep-deprivation, the indefatigable march of time and my own personal apathy. While victory is always satisfying, I sort of feel like these situations lack the motivational potential that a true, tangible nemesis would provide.

Now I’m not saying I want someone who’s going to try and throw me off a waterfall, or shoot me in a duel or trick me into strangling my wife. I’m not looking for someone that I’m going to end up fighting in some sort of overblown fight-to-the-death type of scenario. I do not hate my fellow man, and I’m not really looking for someone who I don’t have to feel bad about detesting either. I just feel like having someone to compete against, to strive to best, to — even just playfully — scheme to destroy would really motivate me in a way I’m not sure I can on my own. My point is that it seems like having one or two really good, classic enemies might make for a better, more compelling Max than the one who greatest struggle is turning in his homework on time.

I just want someone who is always there to act against me, who I can always count on to do their best to foil me and my goals; who I can compete against and who can motivate me to be my best self. So I guess applications are open. If this sounds like you, get in touch — maybe you can be the arch-nemesis I’ve been searching for.

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

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