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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Hey, Where’d the Kegs Go, Dammit?

So, I’ve got a wee little confession to make. It’s a little embarrassing, but I think I’m ready.

(And no, ya dildos, it’s got nothin’ to do with plastic sheets, or absorbent undie liners, or anything like that. Don’t you wish, ya pervy bastards. Dream on.)

Anyway, here’s the thing — and maybe I’ve mentioned it before, actually. Who the hell can remember all the crap that gets slung around here, for chrissakes? But here’s the thing: back in college… I was in a fraternity.

(This may come as a shock to many of you. For others, it will probably explain an awful lot. I can’t tell you what to feel. Just go with your gut on this one. Frankly, I haven’t quite decided what it means, myself.)

Anyway, you heard me — a fraternity. I signed up. I sold out. Went Greek. Got hazed. Did the deed. Sold my fricking soul.

I’m just ashamed. Don’t… don’t even look at me. Oh, the horror!

All right, it wasn’t quite that bad. Or actually, it was, but not in quite the way you’d think. To really understand, you need a bit of background on my particular college experience. I can’t remember whether I’ve covered this part before, so I’ll be brief — my college had less than a thousand people, it was in this podunk little crap town in the near south (yeah, you read that right, dammit — south of the Mason-Dixon line, Deliverance country and all!), and it was in a dry goddamned county.

(Never heard of a ‘dry county’? ‘Cause that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a river there, or shit like that, people. No. It’s not nearly so simple. Unh-uh.

No, my brothers and sisters, a ‘dry county’ means that no alcohol can be sold within the borders. Oh, you can drink booze there, sure. You can bathe in the shit, if you like. Gargle with tequila, if that’s your particular cup of tea. Or tea-quila, as the case may be.

But you’ll have to go to the next county to actually purchase the stuff. And god knows why. Which is probably literally true, because only some deranged, uppity, freak-assed fundie asshole would ever dream up such a craptacular rule. Bunch of freaks. ‘Dry county’, my ass. What’s up with that? Bitches.)

So, the stage is set. Sleepy little town, in the middle of a sleepy little state, with nary a liquor store for miles around. I mean, jesus, people, I ask you — what the hell else was there to do but to pledge a fraternity? Tip cows? Watch the bluegrass grow? Find a nice barefoot girl to settle down and get pregnant with? Riiiiiight.

So, the fraternity. I’m not proud of it, but it was what it was — a way to pass the time, in between beer runs to the neighboring counties. And frankly, a pretty damn reliable way to make sure you were also included on other peoples’ booze cruises to the adjacent counties, too. And that’s sort of where my thought for the night comes in.

See, I was in school a while back. I graduated a dozen or so years ago. And it was during my tenure at the old alma mater that fraternity life changed forever, at least at my school. I was there when the booze crackdown started, and we got dragged, screaming and puking and dog-assed hungover, into the era of political correctness. And responsibility. And sobriety. Or at least, relative sobriety. Which meant we took Tuesdays off — but I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s back up a bit.

So, when I started college, none of the ‘new rules’ for students were in place. And fraternities — and sororities; don’t think they were exempt, dammit — were still adhering to that ‘Animal House’ mentality that we all hold so dear. Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll — that was the real creed on campus, regardless of what ‘chapter rules’ and ‘Panhellenic charters’ might suggest.

Of course, don’t get me wrong, either — we weren’t really living the dream, by any stretch. For one thing, we were stranded in Nascar-‘n’-banjo-land, with a limited booze supply — that’s not exactly the fucking ‘hedonistic ideal’, if you catch my drifticles.

So don’t get the impression that we were out there, having nine-ways with gaggles of sorority girls, shooting Cuervo into our eyelids and snorting coke off hookers’ backs, or anything like that. Hardly.

But, goddammit, we were striving for that sort of thing — with all our fricking beings, we were trying to set up those orgies, and searching for suitable veins in our eyelids, and for the love of lubed-up nipples, if we’d had the money to rent the hookers, or buy the coke, we’d have been all over it in a heartbeat. And that’s what being in a fraternity was all about, for ‘better’ or ‘worse’.

(Or ‘cotton-mouthed and horny at dawn’, which was usually how it ended up. So, basically, worse. Clearly.)

And so it went, through my freshman and sophomore years, as it had transpired through time immemorial. But one kid changed all that, albeit accidentally. In the fall of my junior year, one freshman boy changed the face of Greek life at my school forever. Not with a protest, or a petition. Not with an impassioned speech, or public protest. No, nothing so grand as all of that.

Bitch fell out a window.

That’s right. Homey fuckin’ defenestrated.

(Hey, if you don’t know that one, look it up, dammit. I learneded that word at skool! Hyuk.)

It was at a weekend party — not our party, mind you, but some other fraternity’s party. No matter. The kid was hanging out, drinking and dancing and trying to get himself laid, and ended up lurching out a stairwell window. Dumbass.

And it’s not like he died, or anything. Sure, they rushed him to the hospital, and had to stitch him back together. And yeah, he missed some time from class after that. And okay, he doesn’t count past twelve much any more — fine. I get the point.

Still, I knew of the kid at the time, and I didn’t think it was at all fair to blame ‘wild fraternity partying’ for his accident. And certainly not fair to crack down on the kegs and shit in all the houses. Honestly, it wasn’t alcohol that tipped this guy over the windowsill that night — they should have looked at his grades, for chrissakes! Dude just wasn’t all that frickin’ bright. Sober or not, he’d eventually have fallen out a window, or hurtled down a well, or walked into traffic, or something. It was just a matter of time with this kid. Really.

But, he just happened to have his most serious brain fart during an on-campus debaucherizing, and so, that was the end of that. And the halcyon days of our youth came to… well, not an end, so much. We still had parties, to be sure. And we still broke a few of the written rules on campus, and even a few unwritten rules… but the days of being bare-faced blatant about it were over. Goodbye, Animal House. Hello, Underground Railroad.

Because back in the day — what we liked to call ‘B.C.’, or ‘Before Crash’ — we had it all. Nobody policed the place. The showers flowed with sambuca. Guys would gargle in the mornings with single-malt scotch. And we didn’t have beds in our rooms — we slept on piles of Schlitz bottles and Coors party balls.

(Which was fine for sleeping, as far as that went. But don’t ever try bumping uglies on such a contraption, unless you’re sure to be on top. Trust me, people — there are certain parts of your body that you never want to accidentally use as a bottle opener. Yow.

It tickles, but not in a good way. Or so I hear. Ahem. Whoo.)

But that was all gone A.D. (After Dive) — once the crackdown came, the kegs and open containers and ‘bathtub punch’ days were a thing of the past. Which I suppose was for the better — our livers will thank us some day, I’m sure. But being in a fraternity just wasn’t the same, you know? Almost overnight, the guys around me went from getting drunk and merely paying lip service to the historically noble and lofty goals of our fraternity to… well, frankly, just paying lip service to the noble and lofty goals. They didn’t get any fricking nicer — they were still a bunch of fraternity chumps. And so was I, I guess. But we were suddenly soberer fraternity chumps, which is the only thing that could’ve made the situation any sadder. And woe were we. Woe were we, indeed.

And now that I’ve come this far… well, honestly, I forget what my point was. Or whether I had a point, in fact. I suppose I should say that I don’t blame our woozy window-wobbling wanker for the consequences he brought. The end was near, regardless, and it’s good that nobody actually had to fall out of a window and tragically die to bring us to a more sensible arrangement.

(Of course, only some people would call drunkenly careening out a window ‘tragic‘. Others might call it ‘Darwinism‘.

Me, I don’t see why it can’t be both. But maybe that’s just me.)

Anyway, it was interesting how much life changed in the last couple of years at school. And now, whole graduating generations of students, there and elsewhere, have come and gone and probably thought that the legends of the old days are only a myth.

Which, pretty much, they are. We never did have a nine-way, dammit, or lure those hookers into the basement.

But we tried, at least for a while. And that’s what’s important, or passed for it at the time. And it beats the hell out of going to class, eh, folks?

Permalink  |  4 Comments

4 Responses to “Hey, Where’d the Kegs Go, Dammit?”

  1. Kimi says:

    I think that happens at every college, where someone falls out a window or down stairs or something, then they blame the Greek system.

    I was in a sorority, and I remember the “bathtub punch,” except ours was in giant plastic garbage cans.

    I preferred Boone’s Farm wine myself, that’s the best wine you can get wtih $1.99!

  2. Hey, I know a guy who fell out of a second story window at a frat too!! There’s got to be at least one every year I guess. He got himself really messed up, but he was already pretty messed up to begin with.

  3. SilverBubble says:

    You know, that Darwin joke was fricking hilarious.

  4. #Debi says:

    There are certain elements of your story that make me think I might know where it occurred, such as ‘south of the Mason-Dixon line’, ‘dry county’, and ‘Watch the bluegrass grow’. I’d love to know what school it was. I suspect I went to school in one of those ‘adjacent counties’.

    We had a guy when I was in school (didn’t know him, just heard about him) that ruined it for all those who loved panty- and jock-raids. I’m guessing that, as a former frat boy, you know what those are. One night, some girls were out on a jock raid when, instead of throwing his underwear out the window, as per the rules, he throws out a jar of peanut butter. This was before the stuff came in plastic jars. One of the girls got hit on the head with it and was injured. The next week, he was punished and all the windows in that dorm were nailed shut to prevent any such thing from happening again. We always said it served him right, if he was too stupid to know his jock from a jar of peanut butter!

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