Opinion, Shalala, The Maturity Column

Grandma Shalala: mixture of intelligence, kindness, awesomeness

President Donna E. Shalala may be known for being our coveted Dumbledore, guiding us all with her strength and composure, but we students have never had the privilege of witnessing the sensitive, wants-to-spoil-you-with-sweets side that is characteristic of the grandfatherly headmaster. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t indulge our imaginations with what kind of grandma Shalala would be.

​Personally, I had the pleasure of interviewing the president herself, and here is what I can confirm about her: she loves SpongeBob, going to basketball games and “just chilling” on weekends. Who wouldn’t want a grandma like that?

​Of course, I might be biased because, one, I know for a fact she was SpongeBob for Halloween and the “Krusty Krab Pizza” song is on my cheat-day playlist, and two, I miss my own Grammy back in Jersey ever so dearly.

Therefore, in order to prove that Shalala would be the grandest granny, I took it to the masses.

“She would be the cool grandma,” junior Sarah Aschebrock said. “She would totally buy me alcohol.”

First off, Hillary Clinton, if you’re reading this, Aschebrock is from New Zealand, so make sure to mark down “+1” in the foreign policy column on your chart for “Reasons to Make ShaBAEla a Future Cabinet Member.”

Secondly, Sarah’s enthusiasm made me feel like a huge dork – all I wanted to do was bake cookies with Shalala and then utter the question: “Gr-gr-grandma, can you tell me stories that start with ‘Back in the day … ?’”

Surely, someone must be on the same page as me.

“She is too serious to make dessert,” said senior Max Anderson-Goldstein while munching on some Panda Express takeout. “She strikes me as somebody who does MMA or intramural WWE.”

Oh, come on! However, although this didn’t exactly correlate with my more traditional view of a grandmother, I would love to receive an email from UMPD reading, “Crime Advisory now over … President Shalala has Falcon-punched the armed burglar with a rock at the Metrorail.”

Actually, if you consider how much Shalala loves SpongeBob, is this so unrealistic? Does Shalala have a black belt in jiu-jitsu? If so, I have some ideas for how to get rid of the smokers outside Richter (Clinton, that’s a “+1” in defense policy now).

Anyway, time to move along. Surely, I could find students out there who agree that Shalala would be the Michael Jordan of grandmas … just slightly shorter, and with a more feathery hairdo.

“I want to bake a Shalala-face-cake with her that says ‘Best Grandma Ever’ on it,” freshman Aiseosa Osaghae said.

A kindred spirit. Friends.

“I want to make her and Pete Davidson my grandparents.”

Darn it. I was so close to finding someone who shared my vision of Grandmala. Still, in an alternate universe where Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson isn’t 21 years old, I would absolutely welcome them for that position. We could go shopping in socks and sandals together.

Quite a few students stated that their picture of the perfect grandma came from the timeless sitcom “The Golden Girls.” However, I’m pretty sure that’s about Shalala and Al Golden having brunch at Sun Life on the weekends.

​For the record, every student I interviewed did say they would welcome President Shalala as their grandmother, just with different goals for utilizing that acquisition. Then again, that could be an appropriate metaphor for her legacy here: just what everyone wanted, but for different reasons.

Besides for her obvious kung fu skills.

Danny New is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. 

April 23, 2015

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Danny New


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