It may be cool and cloudy here in beautiful Notre Dame, Indiana; but there is warmth and sunshine to be found at the Bookstore in the piece of light reading which I have written for students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends of Our Lady’s University. The book is called Father Sorin Says. I didn’t select the title, the publisher did (though, to be honest, “Sorin Says” was a game students and I played on the quadrangle…and in the dormitories…and in the classroom…and in church…).
The book is divided into chapters on The University, which is humorous; Football, which is humorous; our Rivals, which was written in pure acid; The Church, which is humorous; and Inspiration, which will lift you up in times of darkness and troubles. You ask: What, beyond laughter and joy, is your new book good for, Reverend Father? I shall give you 12 edifying uses, one for each Apostle.
* To serve as a study break, after reading dense philosophy, slogging through complex equations, or labeling the reproductive organs of the bullfrog; the book will either give you a relaxing laugh or serve to help you put off returning to homework until tomorrow.
* When the power goes out and the brain-wasting machine known as a television, or worse the soul-stealing device known as an xbox, no longer function, light a candle and have a group reading with your roommates (if you want to light a candle and say a prayer, go to the Grotto…after reading a few pages).
* During the interminable time-outs at games in the Stadium – when, rather than playing energizing music, we hand out awards for a grade school coloring-contests in Mishawaka – pull out the book, read a few pages, and get back into the spirit of the game.
* Leave a copy in your home bathroom or in your hall bathroom, so that having a prolonged sit-down is not wasted time. But please sponge the book off after you wash your hands; I would hate for it to become a vector of disease.
* A perfect gift any time of the year for a fanatic alum (graduate or subway variety); for parents who are not alums, so they might better understand what is happening to their student-children and the significant changes their offspring are going through; for prospective students to show them the glories that may be theirs; or as a Christmas stocking-stuffer for the naughty lad, to blunt the blow of receiving a cow-pie-sized lump of coal.
* As a gift for friends who currently attend or have graduated from a different college, so that they might know the joy and joviality with which you are or were blessed; or to make them sick with rage and envy (or to give them a big, literary sharp-stick-in-the-eye if they are from Michigan, USC, Boston College, Florida State…).
* If you are a student, to hide inside the “Complete Works of Shakespeare” or “Principles of Economics” so that you don’t fall asleep to the dulcet tones of your professor during an endless Tuesday-Thursday class that meets after a heavy lunch. If you are an alum, to hide inside the “Human Resources Sensitivity Training Manual” during that three-day seminar – though it may not be good to burst out laughing during one of those meetings.
* When your dorm fire alarm goes off in the depth of winter, grab a coat and this book before evacuation. If it’s a real fire, you may be outside for quite some time; if it’s a false alarm, you’ll be outside for only 30 to 45 minutes. Either way, some group reading will warm you hearts, if not your extremities.
* Add a false section of about a hundred pages, hollow-out the whole thing, and you have an innocuous holder for transporting a flask of…ginger ale…into the Stadium. (This, of course, applies only to alums – unless you need such a carrying case for visiting every floor of the library during Senior Week to…return all your other books).
* For my CSC brothers, bring this book into the Confessional with you, so that you have something uplifting to read between penitents; or so that you have something interesting to read while listening to another litany of “I broke parietals, “I shoved a guy’s head in a toilet,” “I cheered for an SEC team,” “I like the playoff system,” “I watched ESPN alone, in my room, with the lights out, and I enjoyed it.”
* For hall rectors, read this book as you are sitting wide-awake at 3:00 in the morning on a Saturday, wishing for a gas leak to make the animals sleepy, stewing in your own juices, hating your life, and contemplating taking a bath face-down in the tub. This book will serve as an pleasant distraction and bring peace to your looong nights.
* Finally, this book is good for plagiarism. You can quote the jokes to friends and claim you made them up. You can copy passages from the inspirational writings and use them in public speaking to enthrall your audience. I don’t mind – everyone at or from Notre Dame has been stealing my words since 1842.
I have written this book for the benefit of all who love Our Lady’s University. I receive no proceeds from the sale of the book, as I have a vow of poverty (at least that’s what they told me when they cut me out of getting cash from Sorin Society donations). You can find Father Sorin Says in the Bookstore starting today, and come Monday it will be sold at a place called Amazon by retired she-warriors (for that, I presume, is who must run such a store). Enjoy!