Who Can I Call in Antartica?
By KATE ROWLAND
Following my last column, I received several entirely anticipated hostile e-mails and letters, not a one of which minced words in sharing opinions of me. "You're just a stupid woman" was the most frequent comment I heard, but the comment "You're too hard-nosed and aren't open to discussion" was close behind.
That's just plain insulting. I take pride in being open to discussion. Discussion is vital to an open and intellectual state of being. In the interests of furthering such a state of being, I present to the Notre Dame community the following questions. Read them. Think about them. Discuss them with your friends, classmates, and professors. Let these questions enlighten you and bring you to a higher existence. Try not to fight about them. Arguments I try to stimulate. Fistfights I do not abide.
Who on earth looks at a hunk of mozzarella cheese and says, "Gee, I should bread this and fry it"? And who goes and markets that to restaurants and dining halls as a cheese stick? And who eats that fried, breaded mozzarella? We don't do that to cheddar, do we? Of course not! That's because it's weird and cruel to fry cheese.
While I'm on the subject ... what are the origins of meat? Who looks at a cow and says, "Gee, I should kill this thing and eat its muscle tissue"? And who else, upon seeing this idea put into practice, says, "Hey, we should probably put that muscle tissue in the fire for awhile before we eat it"? How long did it take us to figure out that eggs are better cooked than raw? Why don't we eat acorns anymore?
Are clouds really flat on the bottom, or do they just look like they are?
How lazy do you really have to be to use an electric stapler? I'm not talking about the kind capable of stapling hundreds of pages together; I'm talking about the kind that staple three or four pages together automatically with no effort required on the part of the stapler operator other than sticking the papers in the stapler.
If you die in church, do you go straight to heaven? How about if you drown in holy water?
What happens if you're at Confession and you're confessing along and just as you get to the part about hooking up with an MBA student after a late night at Senior Bar, the priest falls over dead of a heart attack? Is that your fault? Would you have to confess that the next time you went to Confession? Or would you be absolved of the sin of killing a priest by virtue of having done so while at Confession?
Which would be neater: If they found oil under the old bookstore construction site or if they found dinosaur bones? How about if they found a Potawatomi settlement? That would give those Badin women something to gripe about.
What is the average depth of an avalanche?
If you are the Chief of Police in a mid-size midwestern city and you are arrested for drunk driving, do you think the best course of action to take following your arrest would be to criticize the police department for its handling of the case? Or would it really be better to keep your mouth shut and cut your losses?
How much of a numbskull do you have to be to drive drunk anyway?
If you were a doctor researching a strange disease that afflicts many people and you managed to come up with a set of symptoms or a cause for this disease, would you really want your colleagues to name that disease after you? I mean, how do you think Little Susie Alzheimer feels every time they study Alzheimer's disease in biology class?
How do you justify using masculine pronouns for God?
What will Notre Dame be like in the year 3000? Will we be allowed to eat in Debartolo in a thousand years? Or will a nuclear war in 2458 render it a moot point? Take into consideration how much has changed since 1000. Will there be anything even reminiscent of what we experience today in 3000?
Speaking of old things — you know the Grand Canyon? Isn't that amazing? I've never actually seen it, but think about what it takes to make something like that. Go back to when that was nothing but desert. Then a little creek begins to grow. Eventually it turns into a raging river that erodes and erodes and erodes. Before you know it, you have the Grand Canyon. Isn't that just incredible?
At the beginning of the year, CBLD handed me a list of international calling codes. Included in the list was Antarctica. Several questions arise from this: Who am I going to call in Antarctica, and what's the number down there? This is something I really wonder about and have searched for the answer to and cannot find. I can't be the only person who wonders about things like this. If you have suffered from curiosity about this and have satiated it with knowledge, please let me know. I will put your answer in my next column and Antarctica will be flooded by phone calls from Domers trying out their CBLD calling abilities.
Which will, of course, just provoke more discussion between us up here and those scientists frozen down south. And the purpose of this column will have been served.
Kate Rowland is a senior pre-med and Spanish major with a minor in science, technology and values.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Viewpoint Stories for Monday, September 13, 1999