Tuesday, November 01, 2005


The practice of hazing was strictly prohibited by campus policy, but much like the rhetorical fallen tree that has befuddled philosophers for ages, if nobody was around to witness, or in this case, bear witness, then did it really happen at all? Fortunately, the Fijis seemed to abide by the rules; although I wouldn't know for sure. I didn't stick around long enough to really find out.

The previous year, around the time that last year's pledges were indoctrinated into their respective houses, many could be seen around campus clad in pressed business suits with pen and notepad in hand. If asked a direct question, a reply was scribbled onto the pad, but not a sound escaped them. It's all in good fun I suppose, but any sort of debasement is over the line for me, and frankly, I won't do it. In the eyes of my erstwhile brothers, that made me a liability.

But things for now were still good. It was a little humiliating at first squatting on a toilet without a stall. There were five in all, side by side along one wall, facing the same number of sinks on the opposite wall, where you could watch yourself and your brothers wipe in the mirror. The showers were just around the corner, so you literally shit, showered and shaved almost in place. I can only imagine what life on a submarine would be like, but this must have been a close second. I know it sounds horrifying, but I had many great conversations with the guy squatting beside me, as if we were at a coffee shop having a latte and a scone. Toothpaste became synonymous with Lysol.

Every year, the pledge class has to engineer what is called the pledge sneak, where one or more members are kidnapped and ensconced to a secret location for an overnight campout. Under no circumstances can the member come willingly, and if a pledge is caught in the house once the operation has begun, he is detained by the membership and kept until the sneak is over.

Membership found us out and knew all our plans. The normal routes they took to class were abandoned for alternates, and the house may as well have been haunted, for there wasn't a living soul around. We were on a sneak without a member, and the rules were clear: until we had a member, the sneak would not be considered done. Translation: we would have to do it again.

That didn't sit well with me, so I took some of our biggest, Craig, Jeff and Barry, and went back to the house to find a straggler. Our first attempt nearly worked. I went in alone through the front door, and heard a few voices in the computer room. I knocked on the door and waited in the hallway. I don't remember his real name, but "Spin" had his back to me, watching two others playing a video game.

"Come in," he called out in response to my knock, but he didn't come to the door.

I knocked again.

"Jesus, just come in!"

I waited, and then knocked again. Footsteps came towards me.

"Who the fuck keeps knock--” His head peeked out the door, and I snapped him up from the back of his collar and slammed him into the wall opposite the door. I had to keep him disoriented and get him out quickly, because it wouldn't be long before others would come to help him. I didn't make the rules to the game, but I would be damned if I was going to get beat.

Spin yelled for help as I bounced him down the hallway like a pinball between the walls. Craig and company waited outside as I threw him through the front door into a heap at their feet.

"Please guys," he said on the street outside of our car. "I can't go. I have tests to study for and a lot of homework. This weekend is no good."

"Get in the car Spin," I said. The guys looked at each other doubtfully.

"Ok, just give me a minute," Spin said, "your really shook me up in there."

I let up my grip for a moment and Spin took off down the street. He was starting to pull away from me, so I leapt out and tripped him up, and he landed head first into the pavement, and an egg sized lump raised on his forehead.

We let him go.

An hour later we came back. This time I sent the guys in to get Tom, a member that we generally liked. But he was built like a Fullback, and we expected trouble. The guys went into the back door and I waited outside Tom's window, which was upstairs, but you could never be too sure. I heard sound like thunder from inside the house, which made its way to the back door. Tom burst through like the Incredible Hulk, eyes wild as they lit upon me. He didn't break stride as I intercepted him and cut his legs out from under him. The guys came out in time to see the takedown.

"Oh man," Craig said, "that was a perfect three point tackle."

We gathered around our vanquished prey, and we heard a now familiar refrain.

"I have a very important test to take on Monday. Guys, please! Please don't take me."

"Too bad, you're going," I said.

Tom looked to Craig. "I can't. I'm not lying. This will ruin me for the semester if I'm not ready."

Craig looked at me, his eyes all big and moony. "We have to let him go."

"NO!" I said. "We don't have anyone else. And besides, it's every member's obligation to bullshit about this, and haven't we heard this same blather before?"

"I'm not lying, I swear," Tom said. He did appear to be earnest, and my pledge brothers were waffling.

"All right," I said, but I was steamed. We all walked back to the car and drove a little while, when we saw one of the more soft-spoken members of the house. I got out alone and took a different tack.

"Terry," I said, "our sneak is not working out. I nearly broke Spin's neck and we let Tom go because he has a big test. But we have nobody for the sneak. Will you please just come with us?"

He looked at me for a few moments, possibly fighting the impulse to resist. I think he understood. "Ok." And he came.

He taught us a few new beer songs that weekend, and a little about our house history, which believe it or not was quite fascinating. Terry was our last choice, in fact he wasn't even an option we considered, but in the end, like finding money pressed between the pages of a worn and forgotten book, he was a most welcomed surprise.


Sadie Lou said...

Toothpaste became synonymous with Lysol.

Boys are gross. That situation wouldn't fly with girls. We would have made makeshift stalls out of sheets or something--we're very resourceful that way.

I felt sorry for Spin. He could have been hurt. Meanie head.

mr. schprock said...

Hey Scott, I just caught up with your blog. Excellent, excellent stories! Am I crazy or has your writing become better? A pure pleasure to read. You've got enough material for several books, I swear.

Scott said...

Sadie - I don't know about all that. The most disgusting bathrooms I have ever seen have been the girls rooms in the dorms. They aren't all sugar and spice, and everything nice when you peel back a few layers of that onion.

As for the Spin-man, I know what you mean. But he knew the rules and we were playing it fair.

Mr. Schprock - That is some compliment coming from you sir. Thanks. Now if you can help me to come up with a way of turning some of these stories into a novel, I would be eternally grateful. Serious.

Eve said...

Another wonderful read - thank you for taking us along on this journey of memories.

Shesawriter said...


Your writer's voice is so clear. I feel like I'm sitting down beside a warm fire listening to a good story told by an excellent storyteller. Kudos!


Trevor Record said...

The bathroom sounds... spartan. And I guess frats are supposed to be greek after all.

Sneak sounds like a pain in the ass, however.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Yeah, I'm with Trevor. Mainly because I would probably have been one of the victims.

Scott said...

Eve - And thank you for dropping by and reading.

Tanya - I like the sound of that!

Trevor - Greek culture highly influenced the Romans, so you may have hit on something here.

Toast - That's the problem, in frats, you pay your dues as a victim so that you can subjugate for the rest of your years.

jenbeauty said...

Good lord...girl's bathrooms aren't that bad! YUCK

As for the sneak...pretty funny you let two brothers escape on a weekend because they had to study! HA

I really like the way you spin your stories Scott. I love this stuff.

Jenn said...

Scott, I felt like I was watching movie or like I was some girl in school watching it all go down. Except for made me react like "Oww!" when I read about Spins head. I even squited.

I thought under no circumstance was a pledge supposed to agree to go??? Or is that the next part? :)

Jenn said...

Typos (Just so it makes more sense)

*IT made me react

Tee said...

I love those last lines :)

Scott said...

Jen - Thanks, glad you like it.

Jenn - It was the members that had to resist being kidnapped, not the pledges. But if a member tried to lock me down for the weekend I would have burrowed through the walls. Homey don't play that.

Tee - I liked them too Tee. I was just trying to conclude, to get out of the piece and it turned out to be my favorite part.