Category: Variety

St. Olaf Conspiracies #1

It’s been recently noted by St. Olaf students that our proud mascot in the clouds is no longer her virginal white self. Rather, Big Ole has been stained by none other than Oles who break intervisitation hours. Yes, you who have co-ed movie nights lasting well into the wee morning hours, you who fall asleep on your friends’ futons, you are the scoundrel responsible for Big Ole’s brown shame. Like a scarlet letter, her stripe of tan sings to the sky of St. Olaf students’ misgivings.

In my investigation of this matter, I came across William Windy, who first noted the shame of Big Ole while performing his usual Sunday afternoon walk. When asked about the recent appearance of the mark, Windy stated, “In my 30 odd years of working for the college I’ve only seen the mark of the beast one other time.” Windy looked into the sky across the natural lands with memories flooding his eyes and wrinkled his nose before continuing with his sentiments.

“Fall of 2014, the brown streak first appeared in the stairwell of Mohn Hall. Normally you wouldn’t notice a thing like that, but trust me, the smell made it hard to forget.” Windy asks that students who wish to remain with the opposite sex past intervisitation hours find a communal space to do so in. “There’s public lounges in each dorm for that sort of thing, or maybe even just get up early and go to a saintly breakfast before church with each other instead.”

St. Olaf students seem less flustered by the public outing of their crusades than Windy. I interviewed Sven Anderson ’18 to get the student scoop on the Big Brown. Anderson stated, “Carleton has no intervisitation hour rules, and look at them! Two pristine white windmills. If you ask me, it’s no fault of our own, it’s a flaw in the system.” Anderson’s comments seem to resonate with the rest of the students I interviewed who claim the rule is outdated and brings confusion for non-binary students.

The administration has suggested creating a knitting circle to address the issue from both ends: “The circle would encourage students to spend their time together in a public space, thereby solving the issue of intervisitation. Together we plan to knit a sweater for Big Ole to make her presentable again for commencement and reunion weekend when parents and alumni donors will be on campus.” The circle will meet Fridays at 10 p.m. in Steensland Hall.

moore1@stolaf.edu

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St. Olaf sentiments: March 17, 2017

For the past three years I have tracked the comings and goings of numerous groups of wildlife on campus, from flocks of friendly geese to the ungodly large carp that used to lurk the natural land’s waterways by means of subterranean cave systems largely unknown to the average student. Yet even the mighty carp, with his strong tailfins and cold eyes, couldn’t manage to stay long, and the geese, whose presence set the student body into frenzy last spring, disappeared into the unknown without a trace. My theories are many, but I find it suspicious that Regents’ collection of taxidermy continues to host more and more specimens that look strangely similar to creatures that once walked the Hill as our friends. Don’t believe me? Go take a look at the stuffed geese in the science building and tell me their dead smiles aren’t the very same ones that used to smile back at you as you walked to class. And if the geese weren’t snatched up by barbaric biology students, there is no doubt that the birds were used as a substitute for the Ferndale turkey, let alone some of the more meat-heavy soups and stews. As for the carp, I can only assume it died of old age or was used for the Caf’s stickless corndogs (where the sticks disappear is anybody’s guess).

Yet one animal has always maintained a presence on the Hill, and has for the most part thrived beyond expectation: squirrels, often seen digging through our trashcans for scraps. The campus squirrels are seemingly timeless, and their numbers seem to have grown to a point where it is doubtful they can be dethroned from their lofty perch.

But a few months ago this changed with the arrival of a hawk on campus, who made its intentions clear, having devoured copious amounts of squirrel meat in a matter of weeks. When it first arrived, the bird made a spectacle outside Boe Chapel when it feasted on its first victim in broad daylight, much to the delight of the random passerby. This attack, having drawn a crowd of at least 45 individuals, was soon known campus wide, sending shockwaves through our community and affirming my belief that the squirrels’ time here on the Hill is soon to be over. It would appear that one or the other must go, a conclusion most bird experts would agree on, because as it’s well known, hawks, eagles and other raptors, being solitary and often aggressive creatures, give no quarter when it comes to cohabitation with small mammals.

It’s certainly possible to save the squirrels from their imminent downfall, and there is enough evidence to charge the hawk with reckless behavior. In fact, having eaten countless families of squirrels, the hawk sits on a slippery slope when it comes to traditional bird law, for as Charlie Kelley famously concluded, “In bird law, it’s three strikes and you’re out … bye-bye birdie.” Yet regardless of what violations of the law the campus hawk has committed, administration refrains from making any judgements, let alone responses, when it comes to matters such as these. I fear the age of the campus squirrel has come to a sudden and bloody end, heralding the coming of the age of predatory birds. I, for one, will welcome this change with open arms, as the potential benefits of having copious amounts of birds of prey on campus far outweigh the services and comforts brought to us by mere squirrels.

In a few months our furry little friends will be nothing more than old memories, and the trees, instead of being filled with the chattering of woodland critters, will be filled to the brim with the squawks and screeches of raptorial birds.

mess-variety@stolaf.edu

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Aria Academy #2: The Package

Zvezdan read her latest book next to the window overlooking her front yard as she ate pretzels on her couch, basking in the sunlight. Her faithful dog, Sputnik, who’d been adopted from the pound four years ago, slept next to her. Zvezdan had suggested the name after researching astronomy on her own and learning about the Russian satellite.

“I wish I could be in outer space right now, anywhere but here,” Zvezdan thought. After the “roof incident,” as her parents called it, they finally agreed to let Zvezdan stay home, which would’ve been perfect if her older sister Zlata wasn’t such a pest.

“You should be with friends. It’s summer!” Zlata had said after getting the mail.

“In case you forgot, I don’t have friends,” Zvezdan replied.

“Suit yourself,” Zlata said as she left the house for freshman orientation. Zlata was starting college this year, while Zvezdan would be starting 8th grade.

“Just one more year with my classmates,” Zvezdan thought to herself as she stared at her reflection in the window. Her wings fluttered. Zvezdan had first noticed them as she left summer camp with her parents. Her reflection in the window showed large, white angel wings, but nobody seemed to notice except her, and she wasn’t going to bring it up any time soon.

When Zvezdan got up from her chair, she glanced at the mail, noticing a red package addressed to her from Aria Academy. She’d never heard of that school. She opened the package to find paperwork and brochures about the school, but Zvezdan focused on the letter addressed to her parents.

“To the parents of Zvezdan Lyubov, we would like to give your daughter admission to Aria Academy based on her academic success and extracurricular activities,” Zvezdan read aloud to Sputnik, who was still snoring away on the floor. She continued to read about why her parents should choose Aria for their daughter, noting the school’s academic success, graduation rates, multitude of extracurriculars, and “their cultivation of unique young minds.”

“This seems too be good to true, doesn’t it Sputnik?” Zvezdan mused out loud. Sputnik didn’t reply. She further examined the contents of the package, full of anecdotes about the happy students on campus and how comfortable they felt. She bet those students didn’t have classmates that ran them off the roof at summer camp. The students in the brochures looked happy, genuinely happy, not like someone was asking them to smile for a photo. Their relaxed smiles were so comforting.

She took another look at her reflection in the window, her wings fluttering, somehow giving her determination.

mlecze1@stolaf.edu

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