By Alexis Shepard
Barnyard Manor had its grand opening on the 11th, with Manor members, faculty, FUSA, other students, and the token Jesuit priest in attendance. The crowd was awkwardly arranged in one of the driveways, and not in a packed group, but something closer to a Nike swoosh as most of the attendance tried to avoid eye-contact from the speaker about 20 feet away.
As the sound system peaked just a bit too loudly at any p’s when talking, the Jesuit priest came forward to the podium to speak about God’s will for this campus or some such nonsense to make us feel better about attending school here. He stood underneath a covered walkway jutting out from the main townhouse, with two Greek-style columns on either side of him. These columns had red and white balloons wrapped around them, which, much like the crowd, were slightly deflated in the heat and humidity.
The priest spoke on about all that went into the building of these townhouses. The blueprints, planning, particle board, quick-dry cement, faux-wood furniture, slightly exposed wires and plumbing fixtures “for taste,” and deadlines. The many deadlines needed required the priest to repeat the word three times. So much time was dwelled on deadlines that some members in the audience had moments to realize how many of their own assignments they had to do and were instead here, sweating, and watching a glorified ribbon-cutting.
Finally the priest gave his blessing from God for this feat of engineering and cost-cutting, and gave a brief mention that Mark Nemec was also here. And then the man himself took the stage.
Fairfield University President Mark R. Nemec took to the podium with some very stylish red and black striped socks to go with his charcoal black pinstripe suit and Ray-Ban sunglasses. And, of course, the all important cool bottle of champagne in his hand. He held it in a firm grip, like he couldn’t wait to take a nice swing at one of the columns; he only had to decide which one. He thanked the priest for his remarks and blessings and how happy he was to finally be standing in front of the finished product.
There was a brief mention of the hurdles that needed to be cleared to make it run, but hey they do have a backsplash in the kitchen. Everyone liked that. And then he was done speaking, and with a glint in his eye, he said, “And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Let’s kick this off!”
He took a great swing with his bottle and hit it against the column to his left. The unintended response was that, like a baseball bat, the bottle swung, and hit the column dead on, making a chunk of the wood break off as opposed to smashing the bottle itself.
Needless to say, it was a real non-starter for the beginning of the townhouses. At least the portable ice cream cooler had Häagen-Dazs.