Thursday, December 29, 2005

Dial a Prayer

My Sigma Chi days were short. After accepting my invitation to join, I moved my scant belongings into a small room on the bottom floor--a pile of tee shirts, two pairs of jeans and a Sears cassette player. The window had a view of nothing but a parking lot surrounded by trees, and hardly anybody in the house had a car. I borrowed a VCR from the front room and practiced being Dan Akroyd from a recording of a live Blues Brothers performance. It's a funny thing how easy something looks until it's tried. John Belushi got all the press, while his partner quietly stood eclipsed by his shadow, apparently happy to do so. I learned to appreciate Dan Akroyd as I frantically scissored my feet like electric clippers in an all but impossible attempt to imitate him. Once in a while I could see a dark shadow pass the window after the dull report of a slamming car door in the lot outside, checking me out on the way by and avoiding my gaze as I tried to see who it was. I must have looked like a circus clown to them, bouncing around with sweat streaming in tiny rills.

I refused to sleep upstairs in the sleeping porch with the rest of the pledges, and in general I thumbed my nose at any authority whatsoever. Pledges were supposed to be humble, but I was anything but. The members were getting restless. All along it was as if I had a foot out the door. I never intended to stay, although I never consciously acknowledged this. I just wanted to know what it felt like to belong to a respected house.

But I have to be honest about something. I was drinking too much, and I had basically given up on getting a degree. My grades by now had dipped below a point eight, which means I had an F average. The friends I had anymore only had pity for me, seeing the inevitability of my way. Sigma Chi was my last shot. I was meteor, a bright comet that was about to fizzle. And like a dying man whose doctor has told him to make his final preparations, I was living like there was no tomorrow. I wouldn't be back next year, and only I knew that for sure.

You may remember Conrad, the guy who invited me to join. He and I went to a bar for a few drinks on a Friday night. We sat with Sherrie, who met me for the first time that night, but I remember she had the hots for my friend Jay the semester before, and like all women that approached Jay, she was something to behold. It must have been the Sigma Chi shirt I was wearing, which to me had special powers, like a super suit, that rendered me irresistible. I had a brief chat with Sherrie that I wish I could reproduce, but it ended with her giving me her phone number, then going away with her girlfriend.

Conrad looked at me funny as she left. "You think you did pretty good there, don’t you?"

"Yeah, I think she likes me." I was glowing and it showed.

Conrad shook his head. "No chance. She just got through telling me that guys are always hitting on her and she’s sick of it."

"You're a cute kid Conrad, but a little naive." I said, "Perhaps she just wanted to back you off."

He raised an eyebrow as he motioned toward the bar napkin in my hand, "No way is she going out with you."

"We'll just have to see about that."

I waited for as long as I could, a day perhaps, picked up the phone and punched in the numbers written with such flowing, feminine style. One ring was all it took. My heart stopped as I groped for something to say, but I didn't need to bother. A recording of a man's voice spoke first, kind and understanding.

"Let me ask you a question: have you accepted Jesus as your personal savior? Only through Him can you find eternal sal--"


Jada's Gigi said...

Gotta love Akroyd, I've always thought Belushi was overrated. :)Wish I could have seen you practicing. haha

sorry bout the prayer that's

Scott said...

I ended it with that line, but I have to say even then I thought it was freakin' hilarious. If I could have reproduced the conversation, you would have been embarassed for me.

trinamick said...

That's hilarious! I think I'll get voice mail, just so I can have that recording. That'll keep the telemarketers away.

Eve said...

Terrific post Scott - I do love these stories and once again I think you ought to do something with them. The prayer line was cute and actually ingenious of her.

Tee said...

LOL! Awh, too bad about Sherrie! You know, they have phone numbers now specifically for this purpose. (To give out to people you aren't interested in.)
It's a voice recording that turns you down. LOL.

Moni said...

Haha! Oh bless your heart! She got you good. I'll bet she's sorry now that she didn't go out with you.

Ah well, it's her loss. ;)

Awesome story.

mr. schprock said...

Don't leave us hanging! Did you accept Jesus Christ as your personal lord and savior?

Funny story, Scott!

Eve said...

Happy New Year Scott!!

Shesawriter said...

Hey Scott!

Happy New Year to you. Happy New Year to you. Happy New year, happy new year, happy new year to you. And many moooooore. :-)


Tanya(who likes to sing)

Eve said...

But we won three more than we did last year. And if next year we win three more than we did this year ... I'm still satisfied anyway. For a team of rookies and veteran players who haven't played together before, they did pretty good. Even Shoeshine.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Ha ha!

Oh man. That must have stung..

magnetbabe said...

Happy New Year!

Funny story- that was very clever of her. Did you tell Conrad about her mode of rejection? I never got sick of guys (or girls) hitting on me. It's always flattering.

Kathleen said...

I agree with magnetbabe - of course, I get hit on so rarely that could be it. And I NEVER felt sorry for the girls that got hit on all the time. Or the ones that complained that they were tired of being cute. Yeah, that's tough.

Sometimes it's very true that females are harder on each other.

The Zombieslayer said...

Ha ha. Sorry Scott, but that's funny.

I almost wish I were a woman, so I could pull that on some poor slob.