Monday, January 31, 2011

In which our hero returns with another Dorm Days Flashback to whet your appetite for things to come…

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. We're so glad you could attend. Come Inside, come inside…

After a couple "false-starts" I'm ready to give the blogging thing a go again. I've got a lot more direction these days, and a lot more creative fire. I'm also ready to talk about what has been happening to me professionally the last couple years. It's been gone now for two years, but I think the story of the last years of the University Golf Course need to be told. I'd also like to branch out a little bit and do some reviews, as well as sound off on a few things going on in the world to anybody that'll listen, or read. So sit back, get comfortable, and feel free to peruse some of my earlier work on this site.

Here's a little flash back to my Dorm Days to whet your appetite a little further (or turn you off completely.) I've cleaned it up a little bit, mostly for typos (of which there were many), and changed a few more names around to protect the guilty. I've got to say, I'm fairly shocked at the amount of F-bombs I used to throw around! Anyway, here we go!

"On The Map"
(January 2000)

Originally posted to the old blog in March, 2006

We had just returned from winter break, and I've got to say, it was great to see Apartment 302 once again. I was the first one back, and the first thing I noticed was my John Belushi "College" poster on the wall was stripped of its "frame" of about 90 friction-rubbed beer bottle caps. They had cleaned the joint up! That frame took a lot of work from Big Nick and me to put up there, so much work that I couldn't even remember doing it! But the snapshot Big Nick took of the poster was still stuck to the refrigerator with a magnet. "Oh Shit! Hope they didn't discover the stash!" I thought as I went into the back of the utility closet and found, thankfully in the box my stereo came in, five 20-packs of Bud Light 6-percent bootlegged from Evanston, Wyoming (You can only get 3.2 ABV beer here in Salt Lick). Well, at least it was going to be a good homecoming!

But coming back was a little bittersweet. The good news was, the missionary kid, who had threatened to report any of Big Nick's or my own "misbehaviors" to the Dean "for our own protection" no longer seemed to be rooming in The Penthouse, his room was empty. Unfortunately, the old guy "Jerry Flynt", the guy that cooked for us when the cafeteria just wasn't cutting it, was gone as well. While we tried everything we could to get the missionary kid tossed the previous semester, but Jerry's departure hurt. The dude fed us, man.

I heard some keys unlocking the door, "I wonder who is left?" I thought as I hurled the door open to find The Hottie R.A. from across the hall leading a fresh-faced youngster into the apartment. The kid had a Yankee hat on, so well, he had that going for him, which was nice. "Nickas, this is your new roommate, Doug. He's NINETEEN (emphasis on the NINETEEN), make sure he stays out of trouble," she said with a wink as she sashayed out the door.

Shit! Big Nick's birthday was last week. We were finally all twenty-one years old in here. Finally, we could all party out in the open in here without getting written up. And the fucking dean's office had thrown us a curveball. According to the ridiculously detailed ol' Westminster handbook, you could consume alcohol in the main area of the apartment if all residents were over the age of twenty-one. If not, the demon alcohol could only be consumed in the individual bedrooms or the bathroom. Which I always thought was kind of funny. Not that we ever really gave a shit about the rules anyway, but it would have been nice not to get written up for throwing on a drunk after class in our own living room.

Always the fucking ambassador, I introduced myself and helped the kid haul his shit into the apartment. Like everybody else in the apartment, he was the child of divorced parents. But he was the only one with a father in prison! Hardcore! He'd recently quit the Mormon Church to become Catholic, but was having extreme difficulty getting his name off of the church rolls. I knew of a few people who had at one time the same problem, so I understood what he was going through. All of this, and this was his first time away from home. It was pretty overwhelming for the kid, and since he was now part of the family, I figured we all needed to help him out.

Big Nick and The Nate showed up a couple of minutes later and they got their first impressions of Doug. They were admittedly pissed that the Dean's office had given us an underage roommate. But at the same time, and this is a good indicator as to how good those guys were, they made it abundantly clear that it wasn't Doug they were pissed at, but the Student Life office in general. And like I said, since when have we ever given a shit about the rules anyway? Big Nick had stacked one of the 20-packs in the fridge when he had walked in, and the four of us had a toast to a new beginning. The Nate even tagged Doug with a nickname within an hour, and "Junior" was born.

We figured we needed to get Junior acquainted with as many people as we could. So the first week of class, we started introducing him to as many of our friends as we could. Big Nick took him down to the weight room, a newly returned Dowder (the "fifth" roommate in the way that Pete Best was the "fifth" Beatle) introduced him to the Frisbee guys in the quad and I took him door to door on the third floor and the apartment directly below us to meet the neighbors. You had to get in good with the girls on the floor below because then they'd be more likely to talk directly to you about excessive noise than an RA.

We came to the apartment directly across the hallway from ours and I started to get a little nervous. Not only was this particular apartment the RA's room, but also this was where Jules lived. I'd kind of been crushing on this girl pretty much the entire holiday break. Before the break, I was working on the infamous "One-Night" fifteen-page term paper in the small Residence Hall 3 computer lab when this girl came in and asked if I could listen to her class presentation. Evidently somebody had told her that I'd done my fair share of public speaking back in the day and had some advice to offer. So I helped her iron the bugs out of her presentation and we shot the shit briefly before I had to get back to the term paper. A few nights later we met up again at the "Midnight Breakfast" the night before finals began, and I was pretty hip to the idea of asking this girl out. She went home to Alaska for the holidays, and I spent two weeks thinking about what to do.

Junior knocked on the door, and Jules answered it. "Hey, hey! Just wanted to introduce you folks to the motley crew across the hall's newest member, this is Doug!" I bellowed. She invited us in. It was on. We sat down as two of the other girls, Alice and Elizabeth came out to say hello. They started chitchatting with Junior and Jules hollered at me to go into the other room. "How'd your presentation last semester go?" I asked.

"Pretty good, I got an A." She said as she gave me a hug. It was on. "Hey Mike, I think Elizabeth's got a crush on Doug. She said she saw him in the hallway the other day and she won't shut up about it."

"Well, that's certainly interesting. I don't know man, she's pretty Mormon," I thought to myself as I nodded my head.

"You think you could maybe encourage him to get lunch with her or something?" Jules asked.
"I'll say something; see if he's feeling it." And then my brain finally kicked in. For years, I'd been the kind of shy quiet dude, always afraid to really go after something or just plain say it. So instead I made an event out of shit. I wanted to get with this girl, so my primitive brain thought; "I've got to do something big." "I've got a better idea," I said, "Let's throw a party Friday night."

"Like a mixer?" she inquired, eyebrow raised.

"Like a big, wild mixer." I said nodding my head thinking to myself, "if the party in Can't Hardly Wait could be considered a mixer". "The Penthouse, Friday night. Tell all your friends." It was so on.

Now, doing anything of this sort on a wide scale in the close quarters of the residence halls presented a few logistical problems. How not to get caught by the RA's and administration was chief among those concerns. One of us was going to have to fall on a grenade. We left that up to The Dowder, who asked The Hottie RA on a date that night. Hesitantly, she accepted. Next, we had to find out who was the RA on duty. Luckily it happened to be the Comrade. All it took was a bottle of Stolichnaya and a burned copy of Metallica's S&M album and the Comrade was properly bribed off.

Next was the liquor. I had no idea how big this thing was going to get so I went to where I usually got some cheap advice, my Maxim Magazine collection. I found an article from issue #12 in the "How To" section titled "How to throw a soiree'" and followed its suggestions of two large jugs each of rotgut tequila, vodka, gin and whiskey. Plus I bought a new bottle of Makers' Mark and a bottle of Champagne for myself. Adding in the mixers and I must have dropped about $150 on liquid refreshment. With the girls across the hallway making the food, this sucker was on! There was an actual legitimate buzz going around the dorm about it.

I got home a little bit late from basketball practice that Friday afternoon and hurriedly set everything up. Junior and Big Nick got the bar area up and running and cleaned up the house. I cleaned out my Bud Light keg bucket, filled it with ice and got the champagne chilling on my desk in my room. While I was taking care of the last minute preparations, The Nate took it upon himself to start the festivities, mixing himself a gigantic Electric Lemonade. He used his own high-end liquor and we estimated that particular drink in a bar would probably cost about $25. The Dowder, who usually resembled Pigpen from the Peanuts Gang, came out of his room as clean as I had ever seen him, in a nice sweater and khakis. He pounded a shot and left to pick up The Hottie RA. I grabbed a Fosters can out of the fridge and hit the shower for a long one.

I wrapped up my shower about a half hour later and got dressed. "Fuck it. Let's go all out," I decided. I owned at that time this maroon and black Heffner-esque silk smoking jacket. I didn't even smoke! It was cheesy as all hell, but dammit I was feeling it that night, I was going to class this shit up. I was an idiot. One of my high school golf teammates used to wear one on the overnight trips and I always thought it was hilarious, so I picked a jacket up right after I'd moved to Salt Lick. I was comfortable. I walked out and we all had a good laugh. I looked over in The Nate's direction, "How many is that bro?" I nodded at his drink.

"Number four dude." He replied, downing the last few drops of Electric Lemonade and started to pour number five. He was already getting a glossy look in his eyes.

The doorbell rang; it was two of Big Nick's gal pals, Heather and Shauna. They came in, mixed drinks and retired with Big Nick to his room for some "entertainment." We wouldn't see them again until things were wrapping up.

Suddenly people started showing up in droves, we got the music pumping and it was becoming a boisterous occasion. There were at least thirty people crammed into that little apartment. Some friends of ours, but mostly people we didn't know. I couldn't believe we'd thrown something like this together in a few days. The girls from across the hall arrived with a gigantic 7-layer dip in a huge baking dish. The Smokers descended upon it like buzzards to a fresh road kill. Elizabeth had a surprised look on her face. I don't think she imagined a dorm "mixer" to resemble anything like the rager that was taking place. And then there was Jules. She looked absolutely fantastic, with a smile that could launch a thousand ships. "Why the hell does she wear those baggy clothes all the time?" I thought to myself. She was in tremendous shape.

Junior was really starting to get after it, and so was The Nate. The Nate was a big guy, probably twice my size. As I was mixing myself my third or fourth martini of the evening, I looked over at him sitting on one of the bar stools. He was HAMMERED! He saluted me with his sixth Electric Lemonade, leaned his head back and raised his glass to his gullet. As he leaned back, I saw it. Dude's eyes rolled back into his head and he kept going back, going, going, gone. BOOM! He landed flat on his back on the floor. Room 302 shook. The windows rattled. The stereo skipped. Everybody paused for a second, looked, and went back to their revelry. I still had my wits about me so I rushed over to where he was laying on his back, making that sick moaning sound that usually signaled that he was going to hurl. This was a problem. If he honks on the floor, the party is pretty much over based on the smell alone. So I got my buddy Little Nick to grab The Nate's legs and I snagged him by the armpits and we slowly dragged his 350 lb. ass down the hallway to The Nate/Dowder bathroom, I filled up a glass of water and set it down next to his huge, corpse like figure. That boy was destroyed. I looked at my watch, 11:30 pm. "This has to be some kind of drunk-record for Nate." Little Nick quipped. We rejoined the party.

Dowder returned from his date. Dammit! He was supposed to keep The Hottie RA occupied until at least 1:00! "No worries brah," he said, "I dropped her off at her friend's house. That's a weird girl, man." He said as he gathered his crew of stoners and retired to his room to spark up. Everybody was having a good time, but people started getting paranoid. Every time there was a ring at the doorbell, everybody scrambled to hide their drinks and the sub-21 kids hid themselves in the closets and showers. Fucking hilarious.

I had damn near worked up the courage to ask Jules out on an actual date when the first glass was broken. We looked up and saw Junior panicking in the kitchen. "What happened bro?" I asked.

"Sorry, man. I broke your glasssssssss." Doug slurred.

"Are you all right?" I asked as I saw the bottle he was holding in his other hand. It was Everclear, and there wasn't very much left in the bottle. "Dude, you didn't drink that whole bottle did you?"
"Yeah man. It tastes like shit, but I can't stop drinking it. THIS PARTY IS GONNA PUT US ON THE MAP DUDE! WHOOOOOOOO!" He was starting to lose it.

"Bro, that's like pure grain alcohol. I don't think you are supposed to drink that much of it (or any of it for that matter), especially straight up." I don't think he knew what he was doing. But hell, he was a fresh-faced nineteen-year-old kid. I was there once. "Just settle down a bit." I suggested.

Things got progressively louder and more out of control. Everybody was having a good time. I made the rounds, being a gracious host by saying "hey" to everybody in my ridiculous smoking jacket and leopard print cowboy hat. I looked like I was half-crazy. I'd finally made it back to Jules when there was a loud knock on the door. "Campus Police! Open Up!" Everybody scrambled to hide their shit or themselves as I looked through the peephole. Sonofabitch. It was Squirrel fucking with us. He actually was a campus police officer, but he was off duty and ready to party. Sometimes it's good to have friends in high places.

Things had reached a crescendo when there was another crash of breaking glass. This time it was from the living room. And once again, Junior was the cause. Only this time he was half hanging out of one of the windows! Little Nick, who was some kind of everywhere-at-once super-hero that evening, yanked him back inside. The booze had taken the kid over. Thankfully, I knew a couple of the maintenance guys on campus, and that hinge looked mighty rusty, so we were able to eventually go around the dean to get it fixed. Thank god for the lowest bidder. Poor Elizabeth, both overwhelmed and upset ran out of the apartment in a huff with Jules and Alice in tow. On her way out the door Jules gave me the "call-me" signal. So I had that going for me, which was nice. But I was definitely in a sour mood as Little Nick and I carried a now passed out Junior down the hallway and tossed him onto his bed.

Around 3:00 AM, things finally fizzled out. People started heading home. Thankfully, they all seemed to have had a good time. I checked up on The Nate and helped him to his room with the trusty coffee can. He would have a three-day hangover. Little Nick and I commenced to cleanup duty. At 3:30 Heather and Shauna slipped out of Big Nick's room, giggling, and took off. Big Nick poked his head out the door, rubbed his eyes, looked at the carnage, laughed and shut his door. Little Nick and I finished cleaning up the broken glass, empty beer bottles and plastic cups. He went home soon after, leaving me and the bottle of Champ-an-ya that I had hoped to be sharing with my new lady-friend alone in my room. I popped the cork, took a giant swig and passed out. This was a sad attempt at seduction gone horribly awry.

The next day I woke up and made myself a bowl of fruit-loops. As I walked into my room a girl busted out of my wardrobe, apologizing profusely holding her head. Evidently she had gone in there to hide when there was a knock on the door and had fallen asleep. I shooed her out of the apartment and turned around to find Junior and The Nate sitting on the living room chairs with identical "death-warmed-over" looks to them. "Rough night, fellas?" I asked. Neither of them remembered anything from the night before. They looked at the busted window and then at me. "Last night put us on the map." I said to them as I cruised back to my room for breakfast.

Well, the administration found out about us. Not from our odd request for a new window, but from an upset Elizabeth mentioning the party in conversation to the wrong people. I reckon we were on "double secret probation" for the rest of the semester. I finally worked up the stones to ask Jules out, and we went to a hockey game for our first real date. This kicked off my first real relationship in college. Good times! Junior and Elizabeth never did hit it off, although he did take a run at The Hottie RA, later in the semester. That night however resulted in us having more friends than we knew what to do with for the rest of the year. The Super Bowl party a few weeks later went swimmingly, and the motley crew of Room 302 became sort of the unofficial leaders of the campus community.

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