author no.2: an interlude of literacy

Charles Bowen
October 10, 1958, Scholastic #2

Now that the school year has swung ponderously into its usual dignified crawl, and a few of the more blatant errors of the first frantic weeks are being corrected-notably the authorship of this column-I feel the desirability of publishing a Solemn Proclamation of Policy and General Manifesto (in this shabby, cheaply bound, free edition) so that my millions of eager readers will know where I stand:

I. I will publish all the news I see fit, and when it doesn't fit, I will suitably distort it. After all, this is a lot of space to have to fill, and I'm not a Pulitzer. (I'm a Catholic.)

II. I will fearlessly speak out in defense of the helpless students of this University and shield them against any unjust oppression. (Doesn't that make you feel good?) It is a little-known fact that my influence alone has once more terrified the administration into granting us Christmas vacation and causing the year to be divided into two semesters, the second not to begin until the first shall have ended. But I digress.

III. I will continue the tradition of the Sorin joke. Yes, I live there too. We're everywhere.

IV. I will never represent St. Mary's girls as vicious, mercenary husband-hunters. After all, this is supposed to be a pleasant column. (See title.)

V. I will ever strive earnestly to live up to the literary traditions set by my predecessors, Shakespeare and Milton, with about the success you'd expect. (Of course they're my predecessors, you idiot. I wasn't born until 1937.)

Courageously inscribed this tenth day of October, 1958, by

-CHARLES BOWEN.

Ah! Now we can begin. I suppose first I'd better thank the office handyman for filling in for me last week. He did a pretty fair job considering his near illiteracy. I suppose he'll be back again next week, unless good taste wins out - an eventuality which, in view of the crackbrained editorship of this journalistic playpen, is discouragingly unlikely.

Besides, I think he's blackmailing one of the editors.

I certainly wouldn't recommend reading his puerile maunderings. People say that all artistic interests should be encouraged, but I don't know. I bet old Papa Presley would think twice now before he brought home that toy guitar.

Perhaps I should explain my residence in the tradition-reeking (Editor's note: So that's what it is.) hall next to Sacred Heart Church. It isn't that I want to live there (unlike Bellairs, who actually seems to like it, and even gloat over it - an activity which I regard as several times lower than bragging about a case of acne.) No, I didn't choose to live in Sorin Hall, but due to an unfortunate occurrence in my remote youth, I am forced to live in this crumbling ruin.

When I was seventeen months old, my father, leaning a little too eagerly across a railing at Marineland, Florida, to catch a glimpse of the giant octopus, let me slip out of his arms and fall into the lair of the monster below. Well, needless to say, Dad's whole afternoon was ruined, but the incident was eventually forgotten, and it wasn't until six years later, when the octopus one day failed to show up at feeding time, that I was thought of again. The pool was hastily drained, and I was discovered munching sleepily on the last tentacle of my erstwhile foster parent. Understandably, this incident has sharply affected my life. You know what the Jesuits say about those first seven years.

One of the less fortunate effects has been that I still cannot spend much time above water. This is the lamentable circumstance which necessitates my residence in Sorin basement. (There are a few bright spots, though. For instance, nobody wants to borrow a six-armed sports jacket.)

I share my room with a toothless old plaster bishop, who is fighting a losing battle with dry rot. I wish I could tell you his name, but I don't know it. If anyone has any suggestions as to a means of identifying him, I wish they would drop in (literally) at 39 Sorin and help me out. There's something eerie about living with a bishop for two years and never learning his name. (If my search fails to turn up any clues, perhaps later in the year I will hold a Name-the-Bishop Contest and award His Excellency to the winner. I am presumably graduating next June, if no responsible official of the College of Arts and Letters sees this column in the meantime, and I'd like to see that the bishop gets a good home.)

Now down to the serious, uplifting business of this column. A local talent, who shall remain nameless until the reviews are out, has written a starkly realistic one-act drama entitled "Freshman Mixer." I know these things are usually introduced in the Juggler, but they have already turned this one down. In fact, the author was severely manhandled by several members of the Juggler staff as he was attempting to re-enter their office. (Of course, this was back when they had an office.) But again I digress. Here, then, is:

FRESHMAN MIXER
A starkly realistic one-act drama
CAST OF CHARACTERS

BOY - a boy
GIRL - a girl
BILLION-FOOTED MANSWARM - sort of a Greek chorus, except that they all sweat profusely.

(NOTE: During the Drama the chorus, which fills the entire stage, circulates madly, so that no two lines are spoken by the same character, as they cannot remain in sight long enough. The lines of BOY and GIRL are spoken by whoever is closest to the audience. As the chorus keeps up a constant buzzing, with the result that the speeches are generally undistinguishable anyhow, we do not feel that any additional confusion will result.)

BOY: Where are you from?

GIRL: (Answers will vary. See note.) And where are you from?

CHORUS: Where are we from? We are from the million tiny towns and great cities in this giant land. We form a great, trampling crowd. (They trample.)

BOY: Which school are you from? St. Joe's, St. Mary's, or St. Mary's?

GIRL: (See note.) I guess you go to Notre Dame, giggle, giggle. Do you have the rector with the tennis shoes?

BOY: (mistily) Yes, I go to Notre Dame.

CHORUS: (chanting in a minor key)

Cheer, cheer for ol' Notre Dame,
Get off my foot and I'll do the same;
Send the volleyed thunder high,
And get your fat elbow out of my eye.

BOY: Do you like modern jazz?

GIRL: Tell me about the rector with the tennis shoes.

VOICE: Busses are now loading for St. Joe's, St. Mary's, and St. Mary's.

BOY: But we just-

GIRL: But we-

BOY: Good-bye. . .

GIRL: Good-bye. . .

CHORUS: You say good-bye,
And you say good-bye.
But we go on forever.
We trample, we shove,
We sing, we sweat, (They do so.)
And we go on forever.
Cheer, cheer for ol' Notre Dame...

VOICE: BUSSES ARE NOW LOADING. . .

CHORUS: Cheer, cheer, for ol' Notre Dame. . .

VOICE: FAILURE TO WILL RESULT IN....

CHORUS: Ah, youth, Ah, life, Ah, rats.

CURTAIN


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