Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter
As I write this, I am watching the Detroit-Nashville hockey game trying not to have a cardiac event. One of my friends FB messages me and informs me that our dear alma mater Aquinas College (not the one in TN; the one in MI) called to ask for money. To give you an idea, not a month after graduation, they will write and call you asking for alumni donations, nvm the 40k in student debt we have because of their “generous” financial aid program (yeah, generous if you fulfill their idea of an “ideal” AQ student: modernist anti-Catholic liberal with a penchant for clothes hangers on pro-life crosses.)
Oh, we just lost the game. Bah.
Anywho, as she talked to the poor student whose job it is to call unsuspecting alumni to ask for money, she says something to the tune of “…Well … when you guys stop funding heresy, I’ll give you all a call back.” The silence that ensued thereafter was probably that delightful awkward that can only happen when the caller realizes: a.) “Crap, that’s not on the script,” and b.) “Great, another one of those closed-minded homophobic misogynistic, backwards, rigid Catholics.”
I am sure my friend savored that. I know I would have. After a period of silence, she hung up on the poor child of God because it was most probably apparent that the girl had nothing more to say.
We then discussed how I have not been called or anything. I commented that I am probably on the “DO NOT call” list because I made a name for myself as being someone who shot from the hip and did not take any crap when it came to the Catholicity of the college.
We reminisced about a particular anecdote that had gone down in the legend book of my inner circle of friends.
You know you have made a name for yourself as a member of the Church militant when the President of your college makes some poorly-veiled attempt to stamp you as one of the main contributors to the cancellation of an event on campus that was anything but faithful to the Church (it was an apostate who hated the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and presented his vitriol as intellectual thought rather than spiritual venom).
I was sitting in his history class (the man was the most droll and boring prof I have EVER had … more monotone than the first recorded voice and more boring than watching clear shellac dry) one morning (it was my first class of the day) when he decides that he is going to morosely rant about how outsiders have no right (namely the Church) to interfere in the affairs of a private organization (namely the College, nvm the College purports to be Catholic) and how there are certain people (namely me … he was looking right at me at that point) who should have just kept their mouth shut.
That was the day I was blackballed. That was the day my name became Mudd at the College.
Mind you, I had been forming a name for myself since the day I set foot on campus when I questioned the morality of having the College improv troupe (that was not even funny … bunch of bleeding heart liberals who thought that making quasi-witty remarks about Bush and sex would make them look intelligent … more like cliche ignoramuses) do a “performance” on safe sexuality on campus (how to subliminate the pangs of what is left of a conscience and be controlled by one’s baser urges which have been enflamed further by alcohol and stupidity). Then there was the fact that I wore a mantilla whenever I entered the chapel (I was told to take it off by the head of campus ministry). There was also the fact that I knelt during the Consecration and received Communion on my tongue (both being the ordinary manners of doing such things). Then there was the peaceful but assertive “retaliation” for the numerous times that the Pro-Life group was attacked by means of slander, libel, and attacks on property (you know, the typical clothes hangers on the crosses and the half-dead Sharpie scribbles on all of our pro-life posters).
Oh, and the time I was one micrometer away from chewing out the Dean of Students (another bleeding heart liberal who was NOT AT ALL subtle about her hatred of the Church and her actual teachings) after she FORBADE the Pro-Life group from posting the Fulton Sheen Spiritual Adoption Prayer over nine months with a different picture a month detailing the development of a person in the womb while allowing the angry feminist group to hang their T-shirts that were emblazoned with offensive words and inappropriate images in a VERY public place. Her justification: the pictures were graphic and were offensive. They were ultrasound pics. Not pics of aborted children (I personally blocked that because some persons in the group wanted to use those in one way or another … not very smart for a campus FILLED with post-abortive women who were in varying levels of post-abortive stress. They may not have been aware. But I was. I talked to some and their pain and regret were real.
There are other stories but I will spare you.
It’s a wonder we survived with souls intact (one of my profs actually wrote that on a card they gave me before I graduated) and a conscience that had not been totally euthanized.
But there was a diamond in the rough. The Theology (and history) department but I will focus on the former since I was a Theology major.
While the College was selling its soul to the lowest common denominator and offering it on the altar of moral relativism and anti-Catholicism (subtle or overt), the Theology department was a safe place where the practicing Catholics (both the sanctimonious ones and the genuine ones) could gather and talk about the Church without being chewed out. During our classes, we discussed everything about Holy Mother Church and her teaching. We learned how to defend it. We learned to pick our battles (I missed that lecture at times). We learned that being faithful to the Church in her entirety IS an important thing. Vital to salvation and true freedom.
We also had an amazing barbeque at the end of the school year with booze for those who were of age.
Then there were my friends (like the one about whom I was telling you) and our time together.
We would always sit in the exact same place in the cafeteria. We gave it various names (the Jewish Viking Table was a classic). We created our own quasi-Catholic cult (the Wege Rite Catholic Church) where one of us was the Pope and we had a whole Curia set up. I overthrew the Pope and declared him anathema. The tiara was the cheap metal napkin basket and we had to wear it when making proclamations (the bestowing of nicknames, etc.). When the College replaced the metal ones with crappy plastic box things, that was fun.
On Saint Patrick’s Day, we would blast Flogging Molly songs, while singing the songs, and banging our fists on the table. Sometimes, others would join us. There were also the random accent days when we (usually me and a couple others) would talk in random accents taking on random personalities, etc. and making up characters with whom to interact. There were the days when the objective was the see who could “break” me fastest and how (no amount of therapy or meds will wipe those stains/burns from my mind and soul). So many memories.
When things got crazy, we would get together and just putz. Sometimes we just hung out at one of the apartments we lived in. Sometimes we went to the bar in Eastown and bought each other rounds of drinks. Sometimes we went to Smitty’s (the coolest liquor store within walking distance of the College), picked up a six pack, went back to an apartment, watched a Wings game and played Guitar Hero during intermission (I can still hear the banging on the walls from the girls next door whom we were probably interrupting their vacuous “Sex and the City” party or making their day-old hangovers worse because we were yelling at the TV).
We did all of this together. We hung out. We went out. We went thrifting. We just enjoyed our time together. To be honest, I miss that the most about College. I will always have fond memories of spending time with my friends. How we were all nerds/geeks at heart. Theology (and Philosophy) majors (namely me) would chillax with Psych majors, Art majors, Geography majors, English majors, and Math majors. We would have the most interesting conversations about the most random things. They would start off simple but they would evolve into witty deep conversations about the meaning of things in the context of this, that, or another thing. Not all of us Catholic, so that made things all the more interesting. The philosophy of being from the POV of a Catholic, a Protestant, an agnostic, and a Wicca can be very very different but also share some common things.
For all the crazy things we did (most of us, myself included) never did some things that many college students do and later regret. The vast majority, if not all, of us graduated with some kind of honors (I was a member of the National Theology Honor Society) and we all had pretty good work ethics. But we still had fun.
I do miss this. And there are days when I really miss it. I am grateful that God permitted me to meet these people because they really helped me survive the rough things about going to a Catholyc college that was openly anti-Catholic (unless the Bishop or Catholic benefactors were there). I am grateful because they will always be my dearest friends because for four years, we spent almost everyday together.
All right. I have to head to bed. Have a nice night, everyone!