a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

cardinal in chief

< by Jill >

2142 Vilas Hall is a dank room overrun with mice. There’s usually at least one fluorescent light in the throes of a seizure, and at least two puddles of beer drying up. The walls display portraits of people nobody remembers. I’m one of those people that nobody remembers.

There was a time, though, when everyone in the office knew my name. I was the Editor in Chief, the boss, the big man on campus. I had the privilege of leading 200 fellow journalists in a daily quest to publish UW-Madison’s finest independent student newspaper. I poured my life into it, believing that nothing could be so pure of heart and clear of purpose as a student newspaper.

In order to be elected, I had to earn the popular vote. So, I trained for several weeks under the tutelage of the presiding EIC and in the company of two other candidates. On election day, we took turns interviewing in front of the entire staff. Some attendees drilled us with tough questions — “How will you increase advertising?” Others scrutinized our readiness — “What relevant experience do you have?” For everyone who asked a serious question, someone posed a gratuitous “Would you rather eat kimchi with a camel or a shark?” Meanwhile, a jug of wine snaked around the room.

When the interviews ended, all the candidates headed to the backshop so the staff could weigh our merits. The door cracked open an hour later, and the presiding EIC announced the news.

Within moments, I was back in the office, soaked in champagne, on top of the world. And I stayed there for a whole year.

Ending my term the way I began it: soaked in champagne.


  Larry Who wrote @

So, you upgraded your sales pitch from soda pop to beer in the water fountains, huh?

  Nate wrote @

I was one of the lucky few who doused Jill in champagne, a Cardinal tradition.

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