Essays & Images on Cities, Travel and Contemporary Culture. A web journal of James A. Clapp, Ph.D., an UrbisMedia Ltd. Production

Vol.47.7: THE TREMENDUM CHINGUALUNUM

Note:   This essay contains material of a graphic sexual nature and may be offensive to young children and Republicans of most any age. [1] 

©2007, UrbisMedia

©2007, UrbisMedia

My college alumni magazine has a section that invites alumni to submit for publication their “favorite [my alma mater] [2] memories.”   Most of those I have read so far are rather banal, or either are, or attempt to be, uplifting.   Each time I read one I try to think of my favorite memory. [3]   And each time it is usually one that would never be printed in the alumni magazine.  

 

My memory is already experiencing some vagueness about my favorite, so I feel I should get it down in print before more of it goes.   As we all know, in the telling and re-telling, such memories get embellished, or bowdlerized as the years go by. It goes—as best I can remember—like this.

 

When I lived in the dorm my first, and only, year at college (living there another year would have resulted in my flunking out), there was a guy a year ahead of me who lived on the same floor. Three characteristics about him remain indelible:  One, he was about a five-foot-six Italian-American guy; Two, his eyesight was so bad he wore both contact lenses and glasses, and; Three, he possessed what (as well as I can recall the term employed around the dorm) a “trememdum chigualunum,” a no doubt made-up term for his out-sized male member.

 

Guys being guys, most reference was made to number three, but there was speculation that his poor eyesight was related to the blood it deprived his vision. Sorry, but I do not plan to dwell on his “trememdum chigualunum,” even though it was worthy, as anyone who encountered him coming out of the shower room will attest, an appellation of its very own. Of course, this fellow had his own name, but he was often referred to, with respect, as the “trememdum chigualunum” (hereafter “TC”). But the speculation about it, and its relationship to his vision, does have bearing on the rest of my favorite story.

 

Above the door, inside each dorm room, was a crucifix about fourteen inches in height. (Did I say this was a Jesuit Catholic College?)   As it was told to me, there had been an altercation between the TC and his roommate, whereupon the roommate stormed out of the room slamming the door and dislodging the crucifix from its nail. The crucifix fell to the floor, the force if its landing separating the body of Christ from the wooden cross. The TC opened the door and yelled some expletives at his roommate’s back, then returned to the room, but did not close the door.

 

The TC then set about repairing the crucifix.  Somehow, by feeling about he managed to find the nails—the body had been attached, as many are on such crucifixes, by little nails through the hands and feet of the body of Christ figure, just like the real thing—and not having a small hammer, proceeded to use a stapler to try to pound the nails and re-attach the figure. He did this while kneeling over his project as it lay on the floor.  

 

The repair was not going well, probably mostly due to the TC’s poor eyesight—it was rumored he could only make out silhouettes at more than a few feet—but also because the stapler made for an inadequate hammer. Moreover, he was still boiling over his argument with his roommate.

 

So one has to imagine the scene of the TC murmuring imprecations and oaths over a crucifix on the floor and vainly trying to pound tiny nails into the hands and feet of the Christ figure with a stapler.   It was just about that time, summoned from his corner room by the shouting and commotion, emerged the priest who presided over this floor of the dorm–Father “Nasty Ted.”[4]   A tall, sturdily built man with hands like bunches of bananas, he was so called because he was not someone it was wise to upset. When he arrived at the room it was tableau of the re-nailing of Christ to the cross that greeted him—a student desecrating his Lord and spewing filth.

 

From down on the floor Nasty Ted appeared only a dark blob to TC, who, thinking his roommate had returned, called him some names that reflected upon his parentage and referred to an act of oral sex. The TC was rising to add to these compliments but, as the story goes, it was the last he remembered of the incident, as, apparently, Nasty Ted, aptly “cold-cocked” him.   For a time the TC thought the dark figure might have an avenging angel punishing him for his sacrilege. But there were those, peering through the slightly “cracked” doors of their rooms who saw Nasty Ted storming back to his room, having performed his exorcism.

 

Since I resided on the other corridor I was not witness to these historic events, but as a dormie, I have some “rights” to relate this historic tale. I should add it also made me wonder that there must be a job in some crucifix factory where some workers have to nail all those Christ figures to those wooden crosses. Do they feel like those Roman soldiers who nailed the original Christ to his cross? Do they have nightmares about it?   It seems like a thankless job.   It is very “close-up” work with those tiny nails and little hands and feet of the Christ figurines. The sort of that is suited to men with a condition that causes extreme myopia. The Lord often has mysterious purposes for his creations, and maybe these men who weild little hammers in the crucifix factory are aptly referred to as tremendi chingualuni.

 

Hey, that wasn’t so terrible a story, was it? I’m just speculating about the last part, but Maybe I should send it in to the alumni magazine as “my favorite memory” after all.

 

Nah.   It’s more appropriate for the esteemed pages of Dragon City Journal .

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©2007, James A. Clapp (UrbisMedia Ltd. Pub. 12.15.2007)

[1] Some subscribers, who attended the same institution of higher learning, and resided in the same dormitory will find this story familiar but, in the intervening years may have a slightly different mnemonic record of some of its particulars.   Any additions and.or corrections are welcome.

[2] To spare it any embarrassment.

[3] My actual really favorite memory is of meeting a beauty named Patty Ann Lynch. So this one is my favorite “whacky” memory.

[4] Surname withheld since Nasty Ted may still be alive, but could e dangerous from wherever he is.

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