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April Fools’ Day: A compilation of your favorite funny memories

| Wednesday, April 1, 2020

It’s been a difficult few weeks. Lives around the world have been upended as a result of COVID-19. Pertinent to our communities was the transition to distance learning for the remainder of the semester, and we felt we needed something to brighten our spirits. April Fools’ Day seemed like the perfect opportunity.

In mid-March, we reached out to members of the community — alumni, students, family and friends — to hear your most cherished, hilarious memories from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s or Holy Cross. The responses are below. We hope you have a laugh — we did.

(For those who elected to remain anonymous, just their first name and class year are included.)


An early arrival

Back in 1955 when ND was still all-male, one of the guys in my dorm, Breen Phillips, was returning to his room from the community shower, toweling off, knowing his two roommates were there, decided to show off a little and stepped into the room naked saying “Tada.” He didn’t realize while he was in the shower, his mom, dad and girlfriend arrived earlier than expected and were sitting there in the room waiting for him.

James G. Kennedy, Class of 1959

Courtesy of Sophia Kartsonas
The fish and tank gifted to Kartsonas and her roommate.


Fishy fun

One time my friend gave my roommate and me a pet fish as a prank. He came into our room when we weren’t there and filled the floor with cups of water and put the fish tank in the middle of the floor.

Sophia Kartsonas, Class of 2021


An unexpected turn

So I’m on spring break right? And I get this email from the president of the University! Ah never mind I’ll tell you later…

Thomas Henry, Class of 2023


A witty columnist

One time, I spent an entire year writing columns that were pretty often making fun of The Observer, my editors and other columnists. Somehow, the people there don’t seem to hate me. I still don’t know why.

Danny, Class of 2020

Courtesy of Eric Buell

El Jesus

One of the last meals at South Dining Hall before Christmas Break, my friend, Stitch (real name — you will never know!), decided that it would be a waste to let the NOEL ice sculpture just be left all alone. We hatched a plan to take it and plant in front of God Quad Jesus. After successfully extracting it out the door, we wanted to celebrate the NOEL by running it through COMO [Coleman Morse Center]. When we opened the door, who was there but Carlyle Holiday, starting quarterback of the Return to Glory football year. What better way to ring in Christmas! Holiday helped us run that thing through COMO. By the time we got to the statue the “N” and “O” fell off. We still hoisted the “EL” onto the statue. Merry Christmas, El Jesus.

Eric Buell, Class of 2006



My Gateway year at Holy Cross I stole two entire pizzas from a student event, and kids tried to chase me down to get them back.

Bella, Class of 2021


The beach party

Back when Grace and Flanner were dorms, some guys down the hall decided to throw a “beach” party themed get-together in their six-man suite on the 10th floor of Grace. They brought in some sand, added a kiddie pool with a bubbler in it for the jacuzzi and cranked the heat.

It was in early March, so watching a stream of people decked out in their beachwear best, getting on the elevators to leave while dripping wet was quite a sight. RAs stopped by to just get a glimpse as they didn’t believe it was real.

The carpet soon got so wet that you could feel a low-grade electrical charge as water was getting on the outlets in the room and affecting the cords left around.

The best moment was after parietals when they hung a hose out the window to suction the kiddie pool dry. The hose only went down to about the third floor. So it was swinging the breeze spraying water everywhere.

Some other day we should talk about the Tower Wars between Grace and Flanner. They got pretty intense.

Dave Angelotti, Class of 1985


Movie night

This story dates from a time when downtown South Bend boasted four large-screen movie theaters, all of which were heavily patronized by Notre Dame guys (There were not yet any Notre Dame gals.). Each theater was fronted by a brightly lit marquee that extended over the sidewalk. One Saturday evening I was among a group of six freshmen who headed for the Colfax Theater to see a movie. As we were passing under the Colfax marquee, one of our numbers — Tom, by name — suddenly threw his hands to his face crying out, “Oh my God, I’ve been struck blind!” Shocked, the rest of us turned toward him. Tom added in an agonized voice, “I’m blind in my right eye.” He then lowered his hands, revealing that the right lens of his glasses was smeared with pigeon droppings.

Terence E. Byrne, Class of 1957


Duck love

One rainy day in the early spring of ’84, I went to North Dining Hall for lunch. It was just after noon, and the place was crowded and bustling. I got my food, walked into the dining room and immediately noticed a couple dozen people crowded around the big picture window that faced North Quad, craning their necks to get a look at something outside. There was a lot of yelling and rowdy laughter. They sounded like rabid fans watching a close football game, jumping up and down and shouting: “Come on!” “Ooh, yeah!” “Go! GO! GOGOGOGOGOGOGOGO!” “GET IT!” punctuated by an occasional crowd-wide “AAAAAAGH!” or “NOOOOOOO!!!!” As it got louder, more people joined the swarm at the window.

Courtesy of Nancy Walsh
Nancy Walsh, taken around the time she was in college.

My curiosity piqued, I put my tray down and made my way into the crowd, weaving around until I got a clear line of sight to the quad. It turns out the attraction was ducks — two ordinary mallard ducks, one male, one female. The male was frantically chasing the female around right in front of the dining hall, and repeatedly making clumsy attempts to, um, engage in duck-xual relations with her. The male (let’s call him Howard) was clearly a drake on a mission, determined to have his way with the female (let’s call her Mary Quack) ASAP, regardless of how many college students were lewdly ogling and shrieking at them like deranged stalkers.

(I hasten to point out here that Howard and Mary Quack, as good ND lake ducks, undoubtedly had known each other for a long time, respected and loved each other very much, were in a committed relationship and shared a desire to start a family.)

Despite their loving bond, Mary Quack was not in the mood. But the crowd, which grew larger and noisier as more students poured into the dining area, was on Howard’s side. Every time Howard caught up to Mary Quack and attempted to mount her, she would speed up and run away, or spin around and hiss menacingly at him, or lunge at his neck and try to crush his windpipe, or flap her wings frenetically and knock him away. With each failed attempt, the raucous spectators, disappointed, would boo and sigh loudly, then regather their resolve and start encouraging Howard again. “SO close — next time!” “Don’t give up, man!”

Feeding off the energy of the audience, Howard, burning with fowl desire, doggedly kept at it. Finally, after five more minutes of fending him off, Mary Quack grew weary of the chase and stopped running, opting instead to grudgingly accept Howard‘s invitation to fly high upon the wings of love. The crowd, seeing it was his big chance, grew more frenzied, urging Howard to “GO FOR IT NOW!” and “Go git ‘er!”

And there, as a beautiful 15-to-20-second act of sweet ducky love was consummated on the lawn of North Dining Hall, the hormonal young crowd went insane, whooping, whistling, dancing, pounding their fists on the tables and high-fiving all around. It was a special moment of great joy and wild celebration. (Did I mention it was 1984, when it was a three-to-one male-female ratio at ND?)

Howard and Mary Quack, having celebrated their love, waddled away to find a dry place to smoke a couple cigarettes and talk about their feelings. They never looked back or acknowledged the throng of voyeurs pressed up against the windows. As the ducks walked away, the emotionally spent but satisfied crowd dispersed to finish their lunch.

Nancy L. Walsh, Class of 1985


Dropping the … race?

Not my favorite, but maybe most prophetic. I was filming an interview of students canvassing for Mayor Pete in Iowa, and when I tried to change the angle, I slipped and fell in the snow. And then the next day I went to an actual caucus, only to find out that the entire system for recording results was not working correctly and that results were delayed indefinitely. I don’t know if the slipping on snow was supposed to foreshadow the caucus, and if the caucus was supposed to foreshadow 2020 as a whole, and if 2020 is going to foreshadow our adult lives, but I don’t not know that. You know?

Gretchen Hopkirk, Class of 2020


A repeated lecture

I had stats with Professor Cho. Cho wrote every word he spoke in class on the blackboard. He taught two classes of stats each semester. It became apparent, after a very short time, that each class was word-for-word the exact same as the other. If you missed your class, you could get the notes from anyone in either class and not have missed a thing. Or, you could get the notes from any year previous. All of them the same.

This was 1990 and even his jokes were often Vietnam-era jokes (and placed in the exact same position of each lecture), which were often lost on 20-year-olds 16 or 17 years after the war had ended.

One morning, I sat for class, and in walked Prof. Cho. He started lecturing and writing as he went along. The writing on the blackboard was helpful as he was very hard to understand. I noticed, this particular morning, that he was repeating the previous lecture he had presented to us. I looked back, and word-for-word, he was giving the exact same lecture he’d given in our last class. I raised my hand.

Now, I was a 35-year-old undergrad in a sophomore class. Every student in that class was glaring at me. I was the old guy, ruining their free run. So, I slowly pulled down my arm, and opened my Econ book, as I’d taken my son to Cub Scouts the night before and was running behind.

Sure enough, Prof. Cho, at the exact point he had two days earlier, walked to my desk (Same desk. Being the old guy I sat in front.), put his chalk-covered finger pointed on the corner of my desk, all very deja vu-like, and asked me the same word-for-word question he had in the Tuesday class. Of course, I gave him the same answer. I got it right the first time. He smiled. “Correct!” and turned, then stopped, and came back to me. “Let me see your notes.”

I handed him my notes. He flipped through. Looked at me. “I already give this lecture. Why you not tell me?” And then came a defining moment in my life: “I didn’t understand it the first time and was hoping it would be more clear to me today.” He turned, grabbed his materials and headed for the door. “No more class for you today!” and charged out.

Defining moment? I was on track to get an MBA. It was that experience I started thinking: Law School? Also, all of those sophomores had elevated me to a different level after that moment. Now, the C- in stats (my only C- in college) may have been a contributing factor to the decision. However, today I am a criminal trial attorney and love it. Thank you, Professor Cho.

Jeffrey Majerek, Class of 1992


Twitter to the rescue

After a night I find difficult to remember, I woke up inside the Duncan Student Center while it was still under construction. After exploring the new gym, career center and brick oven at Modern Market, I realized I did not have my phone, student ID or winter coat. I had to log into a computer to Twitter DM a friend to come rescue me.

Emma, Class of 2020


Tom, the hero?

Last semester, I wrote an article in The Observer about Tommy McNamara, a truly heroic Notre Dame lacrosse player, who not only stopped a robbery at The General but chased the assailant through the streets, retrieved the stolen purse and then offered to mentor the kid. Honestly, Tommy is a real hero. During these trying times I hope all of us can emulate his selflessness.

Courtesy of Tom Naatz
Tom Naatz, The Observer reporter who does not play D1 lacrosse.

The thing is, at the end of every Observer web article, there’s a button that says “Contact [the author].” If you hit it, it generates an email to whoever wrote the articles. So my articles always have the button that says “Contact Tom.” Here’s the thing — a bunch of people who read the article hit that button thinking the email was going to Tommy. I got at least 20 emails from people lauding “my” heroism, saluting “my” bravery and expressing total awe at “my” charity towards the assailant. One woman said she wished “she had a son like [me].” All of the emails were absolutely spot-on. Tommy is a hero. The messages were just directed to the wrong guy. I got so many emails that I tried to forward all of them to Tommy, but eventually, I got so many that I fell behind and couldn’t catch up.

More perplexingly, there were also a bunch of people — some of whom I know rather well — who just skimmed the article quickly, saw the headline and my name at the top of it, and assumed that I was the one who stopped the robbery. I’m a TA for the philosophy department; when I walked into the first teaching team meeting after the article was published, everyone clapped for me. Never mind the fact all of these people were aware I wrote for The Observer on a weekly basis and don’t play lacrosse. It’s become sort of a joke in the philo department: A lot of times when I walk into teaching team meetings now, the lead TAs ask if I’ve stopped any robberies recently.

Morals of the story:

  1. The emails that come out of the “Contact” buttons at the bottom of Observer articles go to the author of the article.
  2. Read Observer articles all the way through.
  3. Know your friends well enough to be aware as to whether or not they are NCAA D1 Varsity Athletes.

Tom Naatz, Class of 2020


An unexpected success

Elevator Pitch

An auto-fictitious account of a partially realized venture

Late October, 2018. Innovation Park. 

Ideate, Disrupt, Compete: Make the World a Better Place™ at a 10% annual return. 

Take a number (Adam and I do) and have some Chick-fil-A while you wait. We promise we don’t (explicitly) hate the gays. Our boy Jesus positively loves them so long as they “unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the Difficulties they may encounter from their condition” (2358). It’s just that he (and we) love chicken more. No harm, no fowl. 

No. 2 lads, get ready. You’ll have 60 seconds to woo investors with your plan to Make the World a Better Place™ at a 10% annual return. Not a second more. Make it count. 

“This app will revolutionize the way we think about hyper-targeted, high-impact, high-return micro-loans,” No. 1 says in his size-to-big suit as the Evangelical nuggets smite me with a bad case of heartburn. Everyone nods in approval. I pound my chest in a display of pained confidence. 

“Brilliant work Tom,” the Star-bellied Sneetch (moderator to this glorious competition) screeches into her microphone. “Next!” 

Adam and I, nuggets in hand, rise from our seats. Our close-cropped shorts give the room the gift of our glorious thighs. Star-bellied Sneetch seems displeased.  

“When you’re ready.” 

We saunter forward, like oats at the mercy of a box fan. 

Adam and I shake the Sneetch’s hand. Six furious pumps. 

He grabs the microphone, starts. 

“We all know what it is.”

I nod, respond. 

“But rarely do we consider what it is like.” 

Adam latches on, and we’re off. 

“Donny, this is true. What is inside blinds us from what it outside. Those things beyond the things.” 

The audience seems puzzled. The Sneetch raises an eyebrow. 

“How often we think about what we need to do, but never about why the need is there when it comes to essence.” 

“A quintessence really.” 


“The fundamental understanding of what it feels like to experience the color red.”

“We hear you Mary. Loud and clear.”

The Sneetch’s eyebrows mutate: a code furrow. 

“Introducing Qualia.”

“Industry’s first ever meta-consultancy.” 

“Specializing in…”





“Mis en scene.” 

Courtesy of Michael Donovan
Michael Donovan, right, and Adam before the pitch competition.

“Mis en abyme.” 

“And all those other things holding your infantile business up to the mirror, threatening to rip its sacred I from its falsified objective pillow into the thorny waters of subjective.”

Audience is thoroughly confused. The Sneetch tries to shake out its bubbling rage. 

“We’ve got you covered.”

“Ego, id, whatever lies between.”

“Choose life.” 

“Choose Qualia.”

I drop the mic, and we sprint toward the door leaving the audience, the Sneetch and the chicken (all three of them fried) behind. 

Outside, the freezing rain doesn’t get along with our fashion-forward aesthetic. We don’t care. We just solved business. 

One hour and 37 minutes later, our friend sends us a text.

“You got fifth place. $15 in flex points. Sneetch is f—–g pissed.”

“Where do we collect?” 

“You gotta come back and get it.” 

Our other friend, Ennui, comes back out to greet us. Together, the three of us dance away in the rain. 

Michael Donovan, Class of 2020

A Geriatric Superhero

Courtesy of Carlo Perri
Carlo “Mermaid Man” Perri, right, and his friend on the night the story takes place.

Date: 11/1/17. Time: Unknown. Location: Unknown. Assets: one pair of chartreuse green tights (men’s size M) and one pair of hot pink bunny slippers (badly worn). Objective: Survive.

How did it come to this? What happened? Let me start from the beginning.

It was the eve of Halloween my sophomore year. My friends had just finished their nightly post-dinner NBA 2K16 session, and we gathered to “make merry” in anticipation of a night to remember. But first – there were the costumes. Time: 7:45 pm (ET).

Three super suits – one for each of us-  peer-reviewed (and confirmed) to enhance our experiences that night. The first decided to dress as Robert Smith, the lead singer of the popular 80’s rock band, The Cure. His hair – messy, his eyeliner – tasteful. The other and myself decided to dress in tandem as Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy from Nickelodeon’s hit cartoon, Spongebob Squarepants. Our costumes were meticulously constructed to match those of the characters: a red short-sleeve T-shirt, black tidy-whities, flipper-esque shoes, skin-tone tights, a white sailor hat, and a seductive black mask for my friend, and an orange shirt, green tights, bunny slippers, an M belt, and lilac seashell bra for me. We drank liquid courage like it was going out of style to whatever esoteric electronic songs Robert Smith had queued up, and when we’d drained the last few drops from our supplies, we decided it was time to go. Slightly inebriated yelps, cheers for much-anticipated debauchery, and chest bumps preceded our departure. Time: 10:03 pm.

We stumbled and giggled with hordes of our compatriots across campus to our first destination of the evening, Stanford Hall. We entered our desired room and vaporized alcohol stung our lungs – in only the way that active undergraduate students could appreciate. It was crowded, but we shuffled our way through the crowd to the bar whose tender, albeit in good spirits, could certainly not walk a straight line at that moment, let alone manage his counter. Drinks were every man for himself. I grabbed three – one for each of us, and headed over to my friends. Naturally introverted, they required a small but firm push from behind to begin a social interaction. I steered us to a pair of unoccupied girls. They were dressed in what appeared to be regular outfits, although they assured us they were pop singers of some sort. Conversation was dry, and although they were interested in what I had to say, I decided to leave them with my friends and obtain another drink. When I had returned, they had become quite invested in one another – no doubt with help from the atmosphere and certain substances. Since they appeared to be getting along well, I offered them to come along with us as we went to our next destination at an O’Neill off-campus house party. They agreed. Time: 11:34 pm.

We arrived at the O’Neill House and I quickly separated myself from their natural pairings, finding another girl that was entertained enough by my unorthodox dancing style to give me company. Now pay attention. The unfortunate part about wearing tights designed for a geriatric superhero under the sea is that they don’t contain pockets, which I needed to hold my cell phone. As the dancing progressed, I found it awkward to hold my phone in my hand, so, in my very inebriated state, I lodged it inside my glove. Seeing that it was sufficiently snug, I continued dancing. After an undetermined amount of time, I noticed it was gone (naturally). I requested that my partner and I take a break so that I might search for it and she acquiesced, never to return. After 10 minutes of crawling on a surface with the adhesive strength of superglue and finding nothing amidst the tangle of legs around me, I gave up. I wandered around to see if I could find my friends, and I did, but they were… busy… with their new female friends. I elected not to bother them for my phone and told them I was going back to campus. One asked if I was going to be alright returning on my own. I dismissed him and moved on. Before exiting, I found the host of the party, my good friend, dressed (or rather, undressed) like a jungle cat at a women’s entertainment club. I asked him to keep an eye out for my phone. He agreed and even offered to search the house afterward for it if no one came forward. I proceeded to exit the house and turn right – toward campus. Time: 12:30 am (allegedly).

I wandered in the same direction for what I presumed to have been about 20 minutes. It was actually an hour. After that time elapsed, I paused to gain my bearings. I had absolutely ZERO idea what my locus was. I reached for my phone and realized once again that it was gone. I was alone. It was getting cold, and I was in some sort of residential neighborhood on the outskirts of downtown. The minutes began to drag and panic set in. It was getting uncomfortably cold now, and I could feel my limbs stiffening. I began to trot, still in the same direction, but only for about five minutes. I stopped and realized that I wasn’t warming up and my thin slippers were becoming tattered. That was untenable. Immediately, my mind raced to every survival tip I’d accumulated from reality TV star Bear Grills over the years. I looked around. I had to conserve warmth. I began frantically stuffing my shirt with fallen leaves to insulate myself. It wasn’t working. I no longer had a concept of time. There’s no way I could make it back to campus in the shape I was in that night without help. I found a shapely bush and considered trying to make a shelter in it for the night – perhaps the pine needles would save me from hypothermia. Their painfully sharp pricks informed me that that was a terrible idea. I was going to have to go back the way I came, and no matter how tired I became, I resolved that I couldn’t stop, or I might die (melodramatic in hindsight, but fight-or-flight in the moment). Time: Unknown.

Courtesy of Carlo Perri
A rug similar to the one Perri used the night of the story. “It looked like this one but more dingy,” Perri said. “It was like splotchy and stuff. This was probably it brand new.”

After a few blocks, I noticed a large rug on the side of the road. It was large and fuzzy. It occurred to me: this rug could save my life. When I picked it up off its trash pile, it smelled distinctly of mold and cat urine, had multiple brown stains on it, and it was heavy – probably a decorative rug from someone’s dining room. But it was warm. I quickly wrapped myself in it and felt my morale skyrocket. For a second, I forgot how badly my bruised and blistering feet felt, and I trudged on. Eventually, I heard loud music again – what sounded like a party – but in a different house. There were three young men walking to it, and I startled them when I asked them which direction was campus. They thought I was homeless. After divulging to them my dorm, they guffawed and began to walk away. I shed my rug and stood between them and the house and became erratically aggressive. Fearing me, they pointed me in the general direction in which I was walking and ran away. Their gesture confirmed my realization from what must’ve been nearly an hour before our encounter: that I had been walking in the opposite direction from the moment I left the house. I resolved to continue. My legs were heavy, and eventually, I found myself crossing a bridge into downtown South Bend. A minivan pulled up beside me as I walked on the sidewalk and drove slowly to match my pace. The passenger rolled down his window, and together with the driver, began mocking me. This part of the night is still fuzzy, but I remember his red Durag glimmering in the slowly passing streetlights as he pointed and shouted and cackled: “bunny slipper-wearin’, ratchet, homeless-lookin’ a–!! Hahahaha!! You ain’t even got pants man!!” After they’d had their fill, they sped away. Time: Unknown.

I exited downtown walking on N. Michigan St. I was frigid. My hands had turned the same shade of lilac as my seashell pasties. Then, approaching Lot D, I saw the Dome. My ordeal was almost over. I entered my dorm, took the elevator to my floor, and hobbled down my hallway, still clutching my rug. Two individuals sitting at the end of my hallway – two different friends than those with whom I’d gone out,  but close friends nonetheless – shouted, “Oh My God!!! Carlo?! Is that you?!?!!” They raced toward me and embraced me tightly. “We were getting worried, man. You weren’t answering your phone and nobody’d seen you! We were going to wait til daybreak and then file a missing persons report!” Daybreak was only a few hours away. They attempted to remove my rug. I fought them vehemently. I tried to go to my room, only to find the door locked with my roommate (Robert Smith) inside. My friends would not let me near the door (for reasons you might infer). Mermaid Man came out of his room to see what the scuffle was about, realized that it was me, and brought me my phone, which immediately made me more docile. He also pointed out that I still had my wallet (which until then I’d forgotten I’d had). Together, the three of them dragged me into an open bed in one of their rooms. I spent the night there, still in my slippers. Time: 4 am.

When I awoke, I realized that what had happened had been real. I went outside and clipped out a portion of the rug that I’d carried. Then I changed and showered and proceeded to meet my parents for a tailgate. 

I still have that rug clipping. To this day, it sits on my desk beside my lamp at school.

Carlo Perri, Class of 2020


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