Monday, March 16, 2015

Seven years of college down the drain

There was a lot of College in the air last week.

There was the much-publicized frat house at the University of Oklahoma. These khaki-pants wearing douchebags got caught with their sheets down as they gleefully chanted ditties from the KKK songbook.

And there was the less-publicized, but equally-shameful student council at UCI, who not only voted to have the United States flag banned from campus but took the time to pen a disgusting diatribe against the country that was subsidizing their higher education.

On the positive side, after considering many options from one end of the country to the other, my daughter finally made the commitment to attend the University of Colorado. She took a shine to their fashion forward black and gold school colors. And that means a lot to a 17 year old girl.

All of which had me thinking about my own collegiate years and the high jinx that ensued.

Nothing that would have made the national news, mind you. But nothing that brings me much in the way of pride either.

As a freshman, I once aided and abetted two buddies who stole a fetal pig from the University Biology Lab. It was pickled in a jar that stood a foot tall. The pig, with all its noticeable features including a tiny snout and a spirally tail, was suspended in a foul smelling orangey-brownish jelly type substance.

Stealing the pig was bad.
Nailing it to the door of a fellow student's dorm room, was worse.

Instagram wasn't around back then, otherwise I'd show you the photos. Suffice to say, I'm one of a handful of human beings walking the planet who can legitimately claim they have crucified a piglet.

After a summer of travel, I returned to Syracuse for my senior year with no housing options. I was forced to rent a room in an old Victorian Boarding House. Despite having vacant rooms throughout the house, Charles the landlord assigned me to an unfinished basement room located directly underneath the kitchen.

It was awful.
Dank, musty and noisy.
And as far as renting me a different room he wouldn't budge.

So I did what I believe most college students in that situation would do. I opened the basement window, ran the garden hose into the room and opened the spigot until an inch of water covered the ratty carpet.

"Chuck, you gotta get over here real soon. I think a pipe broke. There's water all over the place, so I had to move my stuff into one of the rooms upstairs." 

As you might imagine, Chuck and I were not the best of chums. He was a tyrant of a landlord. Cheap, overbearing and invasive. He once walked in, unannounced, on one of the female co-eds in the house while she and a player from the football team were in flagrante delicto.

The house itself was old. But clean and stately. It sported an old wooden stair rail that ascended three flights. It looked something like this:

Some of the railings to the banister were already missing. On one particularly raucous night of drinking, my buddy Ted and I decided to kick out a few more of the railings. When Chuck laid eyes on the staircase, which now resembled a hockey player's mouth after a bad fight, he decided it was time to call Johnny Law.

There was little the police could do other then take pictures of the staircase for documentation purposes.

That night, under the cover of darkness, Ted and I put the bannister railings back in. And moved some others around just to fuck with Chuck -- which in effect, became my senior year master thesis.

As I mentioned earlier, none of this makes me very proud.

On the other hand, I have enough war stories from that year in the boarding house to fill a book. And in retrospect, that could be prove more valuable than my meaningless, over-priced sheepskin from Syracuse University.

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