The independent news organization of Duke University

The holiday dog

To this day, I have never been to the Lemur Center.

I know, I know, please stop yelling. As someone who is a quote-unquote "hip and with it" senior, this is inexcusable. To some, four years and no Lemur Center is akin to 33 Olympic Games and no gold medals (my apologies, Iceland; there was not a more apt comparison). But before various individuals start hurling feces at me over this gross oversight, hear me out.

By no means do I condone my inaction. For all I know, tens of thousands of furry little pseudo-monkeys have died because they have not gotten the attention they truly deserve. But while I have not been attending the world's foremost prosimian paradise, I have been doing many other worthwhile things. For instance, sleeping. Oh, and watching the Super Bowl (Kurt Warner's arm was moving forward. Bad call). Clearly I've been keeping busy.

Oh, who am I kidding? It seems that you every-other-Thursday-Chronicle-readers have seen through me yet again. I am a sham. A fraud. A fake (geez, I hope no one's writing this down).

To tell you the truth, I have no real excuse for never having been to the Lemur Center. I, like many students here at Duke, have simply been so wrapped up in section parties, C-1 rides and Crazy Towel Guy chants to take one gosh darn day and mosey on over to...

Wait, what's the address?

Hold on just one second, Duke University. In order to research this article (yes, I do research... occasionally), I logged onto the Interwebs and found my way to the (very) appropriately named This is a cute site with a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed little bushbaby on the front page, as well as links ranging from "Education" to "Adopt a Lemur." If you look hard enough, you can even buy so-called "lemurobilia"... which is apparently not a rare tropical disease.

Anyway, nowhere on this Web site is the most important thing for visiting the furtive little tree-dwellers: directions. In fact, these creatures' scientist overlords make a point of withholding this information from the casual surfer, requiring interested parties to dial a phone number in order to uncover the "hidden link" with directions to the facility. Hidden link? What is this, Area 51? I guess it is, because the page goes on to warn, in all-caps, that "CURRENT GPS SYSTEMS DO NOT PROVIDE ACCURATE DIRECTIONS TO THE FACILITY." Yikes. At least I know the subject of the next "National Treasure" movie.

Originally, I set out to write this column about the little things that make Duke University great. The title is inspired by a rare delicacy served by the one-and-only Pauly Dogs Ristorante, one that combines the simple elegance of a hot dog with the exquisite subtlety of chicken gravy, the understated delectability of cranberry sauce and the bread of homestyle stuffing. Sound like heaven on a bun? Well, it's better. And not as crunchy.

Earlier this week, as I sat sampling this brilliant creation, I ruminated on how close I was to never tasting its sweet succulence. Because of my unmitigated apathy, I had let three Fall semesters go by without trying or even knowing about its deliciousness, as it is a delicacy normally reserved, quite suitably, for the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which happens to be the only part of the calendar year during which putting stuffing and cranberry sauce on absolutely anything is considered socially acceptable.

In the case of the holiday dog, upon hearing of its grandeur, I was fortunate enough to talk Pauly into reviving its glory in the springtime so that I would not be deprived. Unfortunately, in the case of many other well-kept Duke secrets, I surely will not be so lucky. Certainly, there exist many such secrets that I will never unearth... and thus not be able to enjoy.

With that weight on my mind, imagine my distress when I discovered that the one such secret that immediately came to mind is, actually, near impossible to experience. What gives, Duke? Are you afraid of your students getting all they can out of their college experience? Is this Leachman's sick way of driving up the value of little-known Duke treasures? I want answers... and I want them now.

Then again, perhaps this lemur discovery is a blessing in disguise. This column can now serve a dual purpose. You, Duke students, should make sure to check sites like the buzz calendar ( and keep your ears to the ground to keep abreast of the all too easy-to-miss places and occurrences that can shape your Duke life (e.g. the Krispy Kreme Challenge-this Saturday at N.C. State). At the same time you, Duke administration, should do a better job of highlighting the little things that make Duke fun and unique... and improving access to them. What if the Chapel's Web site didn't contain directions to the Chapel? OK, so it's kind of hard to miss. Bad example... but you get the picture.

Now, if you'll excuse me, these lemurs aren't going to find themselves...

Brett Aresco is a Trinity senior. His column runs every other Thursday.


Share and discuss “The holiday dog” on social media.