Recently, I bumped into an old school chum who’s now a minister (no real surprise there – he always has been the spiritual sort) and got to talking. When he asked what I’m doing now, this site naturally came into the discussion. I mentioned that I was now writing some random nonsense to post online and hopefully entertain all three of you out there reading this. He reminded me of a time long, long ago, (in the late 1990s, to be precise) when I was in school at a small liberal arts college that shall remain nameless, and did much the same thing, except over the airwaves of an insignificant college radio station. For today’s installment of my semi-regular column, I’d like to share some random memories of that time (our semi-regular poster Sir Silverware was in on these events, and he can contribute as he sees fit).
The first thing that bears mentioning about this nameless school (not the same one I attended with the Maitre d’ and that gang of delinquents – this was an entirely different gang of delinquents) is the freshman dorm. It was the sorriest excuse for a structure you’ve ever set foot in (presuming you have set foot in it – and if you haven’t, thank whatever god(s) you believe in for making you so fortunate). A dull rectangle of cinder blocks, it was based on the plans for a minimum security prison. (There were rumors that someone had found “Property of the Virginia Department of Corrections” stenciled on the underside of his mattress, but this was never proven.) The place was in such terrible shape because freshman boys are, quite frankly, animals in pants. Because the place was used for such unholy rites as beer-bong parties and water gun fights (more on both of those later), it resembled nothing as much as a Third World country in a bottle. This meant that the school was justified in never fixing anything up, because they had the excuse that if anything (like, say, the toilets) was fixed, it would just be broken again within a week. I felt sorry for the janitors, who had to deal with more filth than the guy who cleans out Larry Flynt’s back seat.
The aforementioned dorm was also equipped with the ever-popular communal showers. For those not familiar with the concept, imagine a tiled cube with four shower heads on the inside, and the same number of naked college guys crammed into the same space. Needless to say, don’t drop the soap, just in case the guy next to you is still drunk and horny from the night before.
Aside from prison rape, this freshman dorm came equipped with similarly colorful inhabitants. The first of them that I met was my first roommate, the Antichrist. He never claimed the title, but if I ever made a top ten list of people most likely to actually be the Antichrist, he would be somewhere around #4 (in case you’re curious, Paul Reubens is at the #3 slot). He was a guy with stringy, long black hair that looked like he never washed it. He wore black a lot, too. He’d spent some time in Europe, and had developed a taste for German death metal or somesuch cacophonous dreck that sounded like either Klingon opera or Dave Brokie gargling with week-old coffee. Once, the Antichrist offered to translate some of the lyrics for me. They went something like this: “God is dead. God is in Hell. God is dead. God is in Hell.” My memory is fuzzy; there may have been a “We killed God” in there somewhere.
The Antichrist’s friends were just as interesting. Two of them, who I’ll call “Frank” and “Beans”, were the sort who liked to smoke a certain plant known for killing brain cells. No, not tobacco. Funnily enough, neither of them had glaucoma.
Frank was a harmless enough sort. He was a guy with shaggy hair (but then, on most college campuses, guys with shaggy hair are a dime a dozen) who mostly just wandered around in a daze. Beans, on the other hand, was a hostile little guy of Indian descent. He got angry very easily and didn’t like being shot with Nerf guns. He was probably a little paranoid from all the pot. But that was probably an advantage for him; after all, as we at the Buffet will tell you, extreme paranoia is total awareness. Maybe Beans was afraid someone would take away his green.
Beans’s paranoia apparently didn’t stop at humans or even animate objects. One night, he ran down the hall and began banging on a friend’s door, demanding to be let in. When asked what was the matter, Beans answered, “The doughnuts, man! The doughnuts are after me!” Yes, he was in a panic because he thought he was being pursued by pastries. If we’d stolen some doughnuts from the cafeteria and rolled them down the hall where he could see them, Beans probably would have locked himself in his closet for a week.
During some room-switching that was going around, Frank and Beans ended up in the same cubicle, and decided to have some fun to celebrate getting rid of their non-pot-smoking roommates. They put duct tape around the doors and windows (to keep the smoke from escaping and letting people on to their little secret), entered the room, and didn’t leave it for about three days. When they came out, their eyes were bloodshot (well, more so than usual) and their clothes reeked of BO and marijuana.
That same year was the time of what I sometimes call the Redneck Wars. Our dorm was also home to some of that charming species of hominid known as the football player. The favorite sport of these troglodytes was getting drunk and making life worse for the rest of us by destroying as much of the dorm as humanly possible. Among their conquests were:
By the way, these stories haven’t been fictionalized much. They happened more or less as I’ve related them here. Things really were this weird. But then, college usually is.
Next time, I’ll tell the story of my time rooming with the Smelly Italian. Bring a king-sized bottle of Febreeze.