The Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Guilty

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:

  • One morning, at 3 or so, we awoke to the sound of trash cans hitting the wall to cries of, “Woo! Lookit that sucker fly!” The rednecks were drop-kicking the cans down the hall; apparently this qualifies as some kind of modern-age version of caber tossing.
  • Three toilets were smashed by residents of this dorm in the course of a year. One was a urinal pulled off the wall. The other two were commodes picked up and smashed on the floor. No porcelain was safe in these halls.
  • The floor was equipped with a microwave. The microwave dated from sometime in the 80s; I don’t know how it managed to survive to old age in a place like that. This might have been because no one ever used it, because several people on the hall had their own microwaves. Because no one used it, it took several weeks for someone to notice the horror that had been perpetrated on it. For weeks, everyone walking by its alcove smelled something foul and wondered where it was coming from. Then, one of the RAs checked inside the microwave. Someone had taken a shit in a paper bag, put it in the microwave, and set it for about fifteen minutes. The microwave was not replaced.
  • Remember the RA that found the poo in the microwave? This poor sot was the only RA in the dorm who gave a damn and made attempts at enforcing rules like not setting your neighbor’s door on fire. Needless to say, the troglodytes didn’t take to him ruining their fun. On a weekend that RA was out of town, we heard glass shattering and looked outside to see the local redneck population bowling with beer bottles. They left the broken glass outside the RA’s door as a present. This is proof that bowling can be fun for the entire family.

  • While we’re mentioning the trash cans, someone set off a smoke bomb in one of them. They must not have been feeling very imaginative that night.

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.

About The Chef

The Chef was born 856 years ago on a small planet orbiting a star in the Argolis cluster. It was prophesied that the arrival of a child with a birthmark shaped like a tentacle would herald the planet's destruction. When the future Chef was born with just such a birthmark, panic ensued (this would not be the last time the Chef inspired such emotion). The child, tentacle and all, was loaded into a rocket-powered garbage scow and launched into space. Unfortunately, the rocket's exhaust ignited one of the spectators' flatulence, resulting in a massive explosion that detonated the planet's core, destroying the world and killing everyone on it.

The Chef.
Your host, hero to millions, the Chef.
Oblivious, the dumpster containing the infant Chef sped on. It crashed on a small blue world due to a freakish loophole in the laws of nature that virtually guarantees any object shot randomly into space will always land on Earth. The garbage scow remained buried in the icy wastes of the frozen north until the Chef awoke in 1901. Unfortunately, a passing Norwegian sailor accidentally drove a boat through his head, causing him to go back to sleep for another 23 years.

When the would-be Chef awoke from his torpor, he looked around at the new world he found himself on. His first words were, “Hey, this place sucks." Disguising himself as one of the planet's dominant species of semi-domesticated ape, the being who would become known as the Chef wandered the Earth until he ended up in its most disreputable slum - Paris, France.

Taking a job as a can-can dancer, the young Chef made a living that way until one day one of the cooks at a local bistro fell ill with food poisoning (oh, bitter irony). In a desperate move, the bistro's owner rushed into one of the local dance halls, searching for a replacement. He grabbed the ugliest can-can dancer he could find, and found himself instead with an enterprising (if strange) young man who now decided, based on this random encounter, to only answer to the name “Chef".

His success as a French chef was immediate (but considering that this is a country where frogs and snails are considered delicacies, this may or may not be a significant achievement). Not only was the Chef's food delicious, it also kept down the local homeless population. He rose to the heights of stardom in French cuisine, and started a holy war against the United Kingdom to end the reign of terror British food had inflicted on its citizens.

When the Crimean War broke out around France, the Chef assisted Nikola Tesla and Galileo in perfecting the scanning electron microscope, which was crucial in driving back the oncoming Communist hordes. It would later be said that without the Chef, the war would have been lost. He was personally awarded a Purple Heart by the King of France.

After that, the Chef traveled to America, home of such dubious culinary delights as McDonald's Quarter Pounder With Cheese. He immediately adopted the Third World nation as his new home, seeing it as his job to protect and enlighten it. When the Vietnam War began, he immediately volunteered and served in the Army of the Potomac under Robert E. Lee and General Patton. During the war, the Chef killed dozens of Nazis, most of them with his bare hands.

Marching home from war across the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, stark-naked and freezing, the Chef wound up on the shores of Mexico. He spent several years there, drinking tequila with Pancho Villa and James Dean. He put his culinary skills to the test when he invented the 5,000-calorie Breakfast Chili Burrito With Orange Sauce (which is today still a favorite in some parts of Sonora).

Eventually, the Chef returned to his adopted home of America, where he met a slimy, well-coiffed weasel who was starting up a new kind of buffet - one dedicated to providing the highest-quality unmentionable appetizers to the online community. The Chef dedicated himself to spreading the word of his famous Lard Sandwich (two large patties of fried lard, in between two slices of toasted buttered lard, with bacon and cheese), as well as occasionally writing about his opinions on less-important topics than food.

Every word of this is true, if only in the sense that every word of this exists in the English language.