“To thine own self be true,” Polonius tells Laertes in “Hamlet.” “Know thyself,” the oracle challenges us at Delphi. “Be yourself, everyone else is taken,” a t-shirt at Walmart advises.
Our liberal arts curriculum, above all, ought to shed light upon who we most truly are….the Crusaders. Yet it seems to me that we fail time and again to fulfill this sacred mission.
The esteemed Urban Dictionary defines our fundamental identity as “A staunch attacker of a certain belief, act, etc.”
Our University’s motto is indeed an imperative-—love ye truth and justice. For us, truth is not a matter of personal pride in being right or wrong but an eternal vocation that ends in life or death.
It is perfectly fitting, therefore, that we take on the mantle of crusader as students and independent thinkers, resisting the currents of main-stream culture and submerging ourselves in the water of life…and blood.
Crusaders must live up to their name and know themselves. Yet, as I encounter my peers, I cannot help but wonder, are we ready for battle?
To begin with, physical fitness. Gaze down the mall. What do you see? Blackened lungs and beer bellies. Your infantry would be comprised of a mixture of rugby player dad-bods and wraith-like noodle men.
Crusaders of ages past, in pursuit of the Turks, could assuredly run an 8 minute mile. Chasing down the antichrist involves speed, people.
If an army of UD students faced an ocean of heretics, our only hope of physical defense would come from Dr. Sanford, alone.
The sword fighting club may offer the illusion of battle-ready bravehearts. But newsflash, capes are no mithril, Merry and Pippin. They only suck you into turbines, an awful innovation of the super-suit, and no match for the demands of the modern crusader.
How can we remediate this calamitous crusader condition? Make fencing a Core requirement. With real swords. UD is no place for sheltering and coddling! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and gives you hot new scars.
Secondly, if we sport white and blue, our enemies will simply annihilate us. Camouflage, friends. Thus, we must immediately alter our colors to brown and green. Bonus: our elvish fantasies will finally be fulfilled and it would be less obvious that the last time we all did laundry was 3 weeks ago.
Lastly, our mental resolve is as noodle-like as our men, perhaps even angel hair level. When Dr. Olenick asks his students if anyone has witnessed Venus in the early morning sky, no one raises their hand. Clearly, our student body is soft and sleepy, scrolling through hours of tik tok instead of preparing for armageddon.
When the infidels trespass onto the little hills of Irving, where will we be? Lounging in the Mill, sipping a beer and telling our buddies: “hey dude, look at this insta post, there’s like, a war or some ish.”
The culture is burning itself in Hell but all we are concerned with is burning up for you, baby.
The antidote to a weak mind is a careful recitation of “Lepanto,” delivered until your thoughts run thick with defending Constantinople (Istanbul was Constantinople. Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople….so obviously there’s work to be done, folks).
“White founts falling in the courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard.”
If this brings up harrowing phobias of timelines, never fear: you must simply return to your fencing class and sweat out your inferiority. Under certain circumstances, particularly feeble souls may be permitted to begin their poetic indoctrination with “Jabberwocky:”
“One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back”
Ultimately, you must ask yourself: are you ready to be the next Don John of Austria? Or will you be satisfied in your mediocrity? Cast into the deep of Madonna pond, it will strengthen your immune system.