Oh My GAD: It’s Gleason Appreciation Day!

Double check the dates on the back of your shirts so we avoid last year’s fiasco! If it’s November 16, then a select few domers know exactly what day is. It’s the heaven-sent day in which we honor the memorable and not so memorable traits of John Michael Gleason, our pugilist and defeater of video games in one sitting extraordinaire!

plantsofficeGAD023.jpg picture by jmooser


We’ve had some memorable moments in GAD history. The 1st annual celebration is hard to top of course. A commemoration weeks in the making, it was like Christmas when I woke up that chilly morning sophomore year and I sneakily put on my shirt and exclaimed to a slumbering Gleason at his desk, “Happy Gleason Appreciation Day!” Other red-shirted Gleasonites were soon to follow suit. A special day for a special Irish Newyorican.

This highlight of this day is always the trip to the dining hall for our designated GAD banquet! This is where the magic happens. Everyone, glad in GAD garb, emulates the unique eating habits of Gleason. Bowls of white rice were had. The approximate US equivalent of what we call a gallon of milk is split among dining hall cups and is meant to be a serving for 1 person. For Gleason, it was a way of life.

Of course, a lot of the mystique takes place back in his dorm room. Barrels of cheeseballs must be consumed, complete with the licking of fingers. Practicing Chinese phonetics on a microphone is another necessary activity. And of course, we all can’t forget, the smearing of shaving cream in your sleep is another staple. For the last one, a diabolically sneaky and intuitive roommate with an affinity for “good, bad ideas” is needed!

plantsofficeGAD024.jpg picture by jmooser


Most of us have had the honor of meeting Gleason in the flesh and being subject to his unique traits. And this holiday of holidays surely extols the Gleason we’ve come to know and love. But what of the earlier Gleason? Haven’t any of you wondered about the formation of the man? Maybe even his early childhood? Well, his story is eerily similar to that of Jesus. Much like him, we don’t have any historical information beyond his presentation at the Temple by Mary and Joseph, but we do know a little bit of information after his birth and up to a few years old. So it is with Gleason. We have some historical evidence of a few important events in young baby Gleason’s story of Appreciation. But aside from the infamous pizza parlor story, and his run ins with Duke Lacrosse players at his high school, not much is known about his adolescence.

So it is with much glee that I give you a brief, informative and entirely true rendering of how GAD came to be: The Gleasontivity Story.

It was 1985, and New York was, even then, your typical “Can’t you see I’m WOLKIN here” state. It was a sunny May day, with the days of summer lovin’ soon approaching. The atmosphere was ripe for appreciation. And low and behold, on that fateful May afternoon, it was fate that Mr. and Mrs. Gleason were “appreciating” themselves. There were no angels telling Mrs. Gleason about an immaculate conception. That was a given. This story isn’t of angel messengers, but of the birth of an angel, the angel of appreciation. Almost like it was written for a movie, our Gleason was born on Valentine’s Day in 1986.

From the get-go, the world knew Gleason was a special kid. His love for milk was expected, but his early desire for cheeseballs wasn’t. His cute baby fingertips were always coated in the neon orange of cheeseballs. His first steps were also memorable, as he simply got fed up of waiting around for his rice flavored baby food. So he simply got up and walked over to the panty and got what he wanted. On this almost supernatural walk across the floor, he picked a fight with one of his sister’s dolls. His parents saw this act of violence and young Gleason was heavily reprimanded for it. This explains why such feelings were repressed until Bengal Bouts.

But of course, the most notable event in young Gleason’s life is the Presentation Before the Mob. We know that Jesus was similarly presented before the priests at the Temple. Gleason was presented before the congregation at the Italian “printing” company his father worked at. He was supposed to be initiated, but after some testing, no useful skills for being the next Irish lackey could be found. Gleason was also nowhere to be found either! After an extensive search of the factory, Gleason was found, Atari control in hand, to have beaten Pac Man in one sitting. He was immediately exalted, and placed under the secretive protection of the Mob.

Then of course came the Notre Dame years, where many of his followers picked up and imitated his teachings, such as learning how to literally box someone out on the basketball court or getting drunk off of water. No one really knows of Gleason’s arrival onto the Notre Dame campus, but rumor has it that he was simply dropped off as his parents waved good bye and drove back to Long Island… all on the same day. Thanks to them, and God, we have been able to learn so much about Gleason, and even ourselves, such as the limitations of our bodies regarding milk consumption and the devouring of saltines crackers. Graduation day was a sad one, and the memory is fading fast, but I could have sworn he was whisked away in a black SUV as soon as the ceremony was over. Months later, some of us have not heard one peep from him. We can only hope he lives on. I know he lives on in my heart. Maybe there will be a second coming of Gleason. Until that day, I’ll continue to wear my shirt proudly on every November 16th.

So there you have it, what you may have wanted to know, and certainly what you needed to know about the early days of where our beloved holiday comes from. Hope you all have a wonderful GAD today!

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