Dear St. Olaf College,
Although I may never totally let you off the hook for selling WCAL, ignoring the myriad helpful suggestions I offered you in the enthusiasm of youth, and raising tuition and fees by over 250% in the last 12 years, I still love you — after all, you introduced me to my wife and many of my lifelong friends, you more than adequately prepared me for additional higher education, and you taught me to like Haydn, among other things.
As you surely recall, one of my favorite pieces of apparel is this sweatshirt:
I’ve had it since I was 16 (i.e., for more than half of my life!), and although it is faded, too large, and frayed at nearly every seam, I intend to keep it until it completely disintegrates, because there hasn’t been a St. Olaf sweatshirt since that’s worth the great memories I associate with the Hill. I thought I’d lost it once. In the frenzied post-graduation move-out exodus, a friend accidentally liberated it from my coatrack peg in the Huggenvik House, believing it was hers and she’d left it behind while hanging out. I was despondent until it showed up, neatly wrapped, as a surprise wedding gift over a year later. (Well played, Wilsons!)
Although I continue to hold out hope otherwise, I’m beginning to doubt that you will ever make a piece of St. Olaf-licensed apparel that is nearly as great as this classic sweatshirt. What I’m realizing now is that you may not have to. You see, this afternoon, I received a small parcel from one of the officers of the St. Olaf Cycling Club. It contained the items pictured below, either of which is almost certain to steal affection from my venerable sweatshirt:
I’m pretty sure that wearing a cycling cap off the bike, even for demonstration purposes, is a Rule #22 violation, but it runs afoul of Benton’s Second Sartorial Law in any case. So mea culpa BUT GOOD GRIEF IT SAYS “UM YA YA” ON THE BRIM. Fortunately, I should still have some long-sleeve weather left this spring in which to wear this excellent kit, and I expect to find myself thinking “Fram, fram!” instead of “sur la plaque!” while so doing.
Seriously, though, you should fix the sweatshirt situation, because the cycling club is just embarrassing the bookstore here. I’m pretty sure that the climbing wall, the fancy science center, the sommelier service in Rand, the heated and asbestos-free practice rooms, the chairlift on Old Main Hill, and whatever other decadent amenities you’ve installed since I graduated wind up tasting like ashes in the mouths of students who can’t enjoy them in worthy licensed apparel.
Will Benton ’00