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the Goliard

October, 2002

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Ed's Note - It should be explained up front that this attempt at a lampoon was crafted by the infamous and aforementioned Mr. Atwater who gathered most of the information during his previously discussed, and overly brief, infiltration of the Goliard inner circle. It can be assumed therefore that the piece was written in attempted retaliation for what Atwater likely perceives as a slight on his character and tennis game and should be read with that motive in mind. It is also worth noting that due to his status during that time as "suspicious interloper", he may not have been given accurate material or been allowed to witness the true behavior of the staff. As a service, the Goliard editors will offer footnotes of explanation and clarification along the way which will help add believability and coherence to the effort and serve to maintain the integrity of the writing thus preserving the standard to which Goliard readers of this space have become accustomed. Out of deference to those who have been examined here in the past and might feel that this is an unfair liberty taken by those currently being skewered while they also control what finally goes to press, the comments and clarifications have been kept out of sight so that one might feel free to ignore the parenthetical links and experience the account on it's own merit.

Mick O'Connell  

If one were to first encounter the prolific and mysterious editor Mick O'Connell outside of the busy offices of The Goliard, one wouldn't expect that he had ever written anything not involving Big Chief® tablets and Crayolas® or edited anything more substantial than the stall wall of a shitter. (1)

His deceptively active lifestyle of swimming, whining, canoeing, grousing, tennis, darts, dog-rearing, cavorting with illegals, beer drinking, mountain biking, baseball spectatoring, gambling away his wife's money, golfing (if you wish to call it that), cigar-smoking, racquetballing, and spending time pleading for forgiveness for above, would seem to preclude him from logging in any serious time in front of a word processor. Additionally, these multiple activities that O'Connell profoundly enjoys would lead one to believe that he leads something of a happy life which would make him unfamiliar with the inner demons that plague most other writers of equal talent and success. Furthermore, Mick does not exude the "moody loner" personality known to result from the quiet desperation that has historically stoked the story-telling fires of writers as celebrated as Dostoevsky, Thoreau, Salinger and Dr. Seuss (that Green Eggs and Ham was a true cry for help). Indeed, with the exception of his weekly commute to his job at a prison in rural Arizona, (where, as the librarian of a "country-club" security facility he receives top dollar, works on-site only twice a week, gets to wear his favorite pair of Birkenstocks each day, and claims not to "hate his job enough to move back to Seattle") Mick is hardly ever alone. (2)

While surrounding himself with a variety of folks could be a conscious strategy for preventing his "dark side" from surfacing, it appears more likely that his good-natured personality has led others to seek out his friendship. Indeed, O'Connell reminds one Goliard employee of a former fraternity brother of his, who was always placed in charge of the social events because he seemed to inspire good times simply by being in the proximity of other people (although, come to think of it, he did have an uncle who owned a discount liquor store). Another staffer who recently earned his degree in TV studies at the University of Arizona claims to have seen a parallel between members of thegoliard.net and the television series Cheers and argues that Mick, like "Norm," is actually at the center of his social circle. While this may not be general consensus, there do seem to be some similarities between O'Connell's character and that of Norm's. Norm and O'Connell both dislike their work yet do not quit (3) and it must be remembered that Norm sticks with this job that he mildly dislikes for several seasons, despite the fact that he sneaks out of the ventilation duct of his office in order to catch a round of drinks at the pub. Also like Norm, O'Connell is the most quick-witted of the cast here at the Goliard, and usually has the best punch lines, especially after Chazire ("Cliff") begins to share knowledge gained from a questionable source or when the Snapper ("Sam") lets his guard down after he's had half a beer.(4)

O'Connell's size may also lead one to see similarities between him and the portly man who held up his end of the bar for so many years. At 6'8" and 350 lbs., O'Connell more closely resembles the boozing accountant than any other character on the show. In reality, with his "I'm not going to shave for 'the man'" grooming regimen, O'Connell bears a closer resemblance to Grizzly Adams (a man he claims to have beaten in a Square Dance Competition) or WWF's "the Undertaker." (5)

His size, somewhat course appearance, and incredible appetite for beer however, severely limit his abilities on the tennis court as well. While he serves the ball at speeds deemed unsafe by the USTA and NASCAR, his projectile rarely finds the service box, leaving him to rely instead on his ground strokes, which occasionally find the mark but lead more skilled players to ignore the alleys and to instead poach for the middle of the court. (6)

In fact, Mick's greatest feat on tennis night takes place not on the court but afterwards at the friendly neighborhood tavern, where he is recognized nearly as quickly as Norm was when he entered Cheers. The lovely waitresses have come to expect and rely on his business once a week, since none of the other Goliard staffers are able to keep up with this skilled drinking champion. (7) In part, his ability to "put down" massive amounts of beer at one sitting remind staffers of King Cambrinus and can perhaps be attributed to his extremely large bladder, which he empties each night on the bushes that line the walls of the bar. (8)

Mick's affable nature definitely reflects his comfortable lifestyle, one that would seem to lack any of the drama that can only find its outlet in literature. However, information from fellow Goliard writers who have known O'Connell for decades, and a file that we, the Atwaters (or are we the Atwoods?) put together reveals that the comforts that Mick currently enjoys were hard-fought. According to the testimonies of these people, Mick's lifestyle once was extremely different. As few as six years ago, it seemed to his closest friends that Mick would never find happiness or, for that matter old age. These years, which we shall present below represent the "lean years" of O'Connell's existence and are the fuel for many of the stories that he tells today, both in the form of prose as well as in the form of conversation while he attempts to light his hand-rolled cigar for the seventeenth time. 

Mick was born in the early sixties to parents who decided early on to let him make his own decisions and mistakes with minimal input from them hoping that he'd learn more that way. They still can't be sure if the decision was the right one. "Mick would always do all the wrong things for all the right reasons," his father used to say. "We never worried about him getting into any serious trouble but he was always pissing everyone off and constantly at odds with authority. He was forever being kicked out of school for this and that and the teachers were always sure he was cheating because he would never show his work or take any books home. We also moved around quite a bit and that may have had something to do with it. Mick spent second grade in Palo Alto, CA, third in Vermont, and fourth he missed all together instead running around the streets of Quito, Ecuador with a gang of local hooligans. Then a dude ranch in Colorado, a private school, an inner city razor wire type place from which he was expelled for participating in a racial episode between races not his own.... In hindsight, Mick may have benefited from some stability and routine but we just didn't have it to give." 

(9) - By his teen years Mick was already tall and perhaps even handsome by Piolline's reckoning. However, Piolline is not actually gay himself and perhaps his judgment is not the best, yet we must rely on his statement that women did find O'Connell attractive. Mick, however, was more interested in playing with dolls. His favorite pastime was sewing the latest fashion in miniature so that he could dress his Barbies and display them in competitions. When the Barbie national convention arrived at the TCC in 1983, Mick was prepared to win the grand prize for creative costuming. You can imagine that Mick stood out like a turd in the punch bowl at this affair, though he apparently had never felt happier and even took fourth prize. And while O'Connell did not win the grand prize that year, he did win the love of a fellow competitor who thought she greatly admired Mick's sensitivity. The young lady was persistent in obtaining Mick and while she was not liked by his friends, she did gain the alliance of his parents. Before Mick knew it, Dr. and Mrs. O'Connell had arranged-some say paid-for the young lady to take Mick's hand, thereby freeing theirs of his costly burden. It must be remembered that in those days beer was practically forced upon children and was certainly available in large quantities to Mick. He had already developed enough of a drinking habit to require a part-time job at the now defunct River Racquet Club. Since the young (and much skinnier) O'Connell lost this job when he and a fellow night watchman burned down the club's kitchen after sneaking in through the dumbwaiter, he had no source of income, and had also accumulated great debt from the fire that engulfed this once-state-of-the-art tennis facility. Upon learning that his parents had arranged for him to marry this young woman, Mick hopped a Union Pacific train bound westward. While he forfeited his Barbie collection, he earned his freedom. 

The next ten years of O'Connell's life proved to be difficult for him. Mick had no other choice but to join the ranks of those who worked in the oldest of professions. Yet, as a very tall and imposing young man who never did quite fit into the purple jumpsuit and leopard-skinned heels given to him by his first pimp, (A vicious psychopath who called himself the "Pope" and who was known for abusing his ladies by throwing darts at them), Mick had a difficult time earning money. He was rarely employed for the conventional desires. Instead he would be called out of the dugout as a "relief pitcher" or to do the work that the other girls refused to take on. Mick became the girl who said "yes," where others said "no." This "lost decade of debauchery" and of earning his $47.50 "the hard way" accounts for the descriptions of sexual abuse found in his writings. Often characters are depicted as being "anally abused" with police batons and other objects, are routinely defecated upon, and are occasionally bitter enough to travel long distances in search of revenge against sodomy. 

O'Connell's lack of success on the west coast circuit brought him back home to Tucson with a head full of stories and a renewed interest in school. He hired a new pimp, a real seedy character known as the "Weeze." His days of hustling were brought to an abrupt end, however, after an encounter on the side of the road with an undercover cop left him with a dislocated shoulder and ten days in the slammer. His brief time "inside" was enough for O'Connell to decide that he had to give up hooking, find a good woman, a job that he didn't hate too much, reconcile with his parents and to use writing as an outlet for his pain. Now, during his two days on the job each week, he is able to look at prison from the other side of the bars, where he is much more comfortable, especially since he won the massage table from Charles Keating in a poker match. With six years under his belt, O'Connell has rehabilitated himself to the point that no one would ever call him a "fairy" ever again. One look at the bathroom that Mick has designated for himself in his spacious house, with his stack of Playboys on the toilet tank and the grime on the floor that comes only from not cleaning and allowing four hundred pounds worth of dogs (the two loveable Newfoundlands proudly showcased on the website) to sleep in the shower, and it becomes clear that O'Connell will never wear fishnet stockings again, not even for a chance to win tickets to the World Series in a radio contest. Mick has even managed to satisfy his lingering oral fixation by smoking cigars, which is a traditionally male activity and does not draw anyone's suspicion. So, Mick O'Connell's many years adrift have shaped who he is and have made him a better writer for it. His literary pursuits are the fruit of over a decade of wanderlust and should serve as a lesson to us all that there are many paths to the land of goliardic enlightenment. For that reason, and for the fact that the exposure of his secret life could lead to the ass-kicking of some of us here, we salute Mick O'Connell as the Master of Ceremonies. (10) 

It must be noted at this point that, in keeping with the tradition of the space, a description of a situation when the lampooned has provided food for the Goliard's banquets is described and a recipe included. The Atwater file fails to include one, however, only mentioning that O'Connell is "gifted in the kitchen." Other staffers suspect that he eats a lot of red meat, mostly T-bone steaks cooked rare but, when consulted on the matter, confessed that they either arrived after dinner or drank so much that they couldn't remember any details of his "meat lover's grill". One writer does recall that O'Connell cooked on a small hibachi grill and often singed his eyebrows in an attempt to light it since he does not have a charcoal chimney but instead relies on lighter fluid. Beyond this observation, however, he felt that O'Connell's grilling technique was laissez-faire yet successful. He passed on a brief description of O'Connell's barbecuing habits which we include in the recipe space on the main page.

Bonus Recipe

Hot and Spicy Soup 

4 quarts chicken broth 1 pint water Boil until pork is tender. 1 pkg. pork stew meat, sliced into match stick pieces. Add to broth and boil 5 minutes: 1 pkg. frozen peas and carrots ½ pkg. bean tofu White pepper & salt to taste Add just enough liquid cornstarch to thicken broth. Stir and then add: 1 small can bamboo shoots (cut small) 2-3 Tbs. hot chili oil (equal to 1 to-go cup size) ½ bunch chopped green onions Stir well and add a few drops red food coloring. Add 2-3 Tbs. Rice wine vinegar Stir in 2 eggs, slightly beaten. Stir on low 2-5 minutes. Serve.

 

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