Monday, February 26, 2007

Animal Haus

Above: Bob Marley isn’t dead, he’s just hanging out in the dorms
Above-AEII: The most Jew you’ll find under one roof outside Relix

Despite having graduated college way back in 2003 and having earned a public noise citation for a party I threw my senior year, I didn’t attended my first frat party until this weekend. Skidmore, my alama matter, didn’t support Fraternities, not because we were opposed to mass drinking, but because we were way too lazy to organize any of the ritual stuff which goes along with Greek Life. We did, however, have a number of legacy houses which allowed us to live out our Animal House fantasies without ever uttering the phrase “uggy, uggy uggy, oi, oi, oi.” While the type of students who inhabit these crash pads shifted from semester to semester, each party house’s central attraction remained the same: Stables (badass bonfires), Arabella (bands in the basement), Excelsior (a large lawn), Bloomfield (a packed porch), Alpine (a smelly septic tank), State Street (budding boybands), and Bensonhurst (kid tested, acid approved). We even ghettoized our small athletic community into a suburban commune called Gick (indeed, Skidmore is the only school with both sober and sports awareness floors).

I bunked in one of these houses my senior year and may be the only person to ever live in a party house without really, um, partying (though I was always good a figuring out the potential ratio of kegs to cops). I learned a number of valuable lessons that year and even bribed G. Love to have a cold beverage at party in September 2002 (either the “best” or “sickest” night of my life depending on my level of intoxication) If anyone is really interested in my time at Excelsior I believe there is a court ordered paper on-file at the Saratoga Springs Police Department.

Anyway, my brother Ian has always been a shade preppier than I and pledged AEII at Emory University (the Scarsdale of the south I’m told) a few years ago. Since he’s graduating this spring I decided to visit him one last time and, as luck would have it, stumbled quite literally into my very first frat party. According to my brother the costume party’s theme was “Woodstock,” though I’m pretty sure Northface wasn’t around in 1969.

The evening had everything you’d want from a good, ol’ fashion college kegger (except actual kegs): a freshman puking in a garage can, a beer funnel longer than my apartment wall, and a gen-u-ine collegiate jamband (which adhered to the holy trinity of college-rock covers: DMB, Sublime, and, of course, “All Along the Watchtower.”) The guitarist even used a strand of police caution tape as his strap which may be the most rock-and-roll thing I’ve seen even since Jesse Spano started popping caffeine pills during the third season of Saved by the Bell. In fact, it felt a lot like the parties I attended in college only “Dick in the Box” is the new “Hey Ya” and I’m the new old sketchy guy (“that’s what I love about those college girls, I keep getting older, they stay just as neurotic.”) I even struck up a conversation with a junior named “Jen” who told me I was “old,” but “didn’t look it,” and “that was a good thing.” Nice!

While I’m still opposed to forced socialization outside the workplace, after this weekend I do see some value in Greek Life. Instead of having to round up money from your housemates to throw a party (and, by the way, Zimman you still owe me $100 from that G. Love night), AEII has a designated budget for its group debauchery. Plus, it is a lot easier to bribe all your neighbors to simultaneously skip town when you’re surrounded by surprisingly Jewish looking Greeks. Being a bit older than these kids I felt like I should organize a mass cleanup the following day, but, then again, blogging is much more fun than mopping my brothers’ floor and I’ve always followed Elliot Smith’s advise when it comes to party planning (“a happy day and then you pay”). As Zack Morris said, “I love school, too bad classes get in the way.”

In my day these three letters were pronounced “D M B”

Kenny, Darren, Nick, Eric, and I at Bensonhurst before our parents stopped dressing us


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