Princeton People

         As we have spent a good deal of time ripping on those unfortunate individuals who had the audacity to associate with us during the Comstock years, I feel it is time to do due diligence and fire some shots across the bow of those who didn’t come along until the Princeton days. I have chosen my phrasing carefully based on the passionate response received to one of Mooney’s more vitriolic entries. It behooves me therefore to state that any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, found herein is strictly coincidental. In addition, to all those who are inclined to be insulted, please either disregard this and any other such entry, or read with the understanding that both the authors and characters within are being portrayed in the worst light possible, and that any offensive personal descriptions have been grossly exaggerated for the sake of creating caricatures and thereby a slightly more interesting or humorous story. Or perhaps we are just mean, be that as it may.

        The two characters I have in mind for this entry are Jennifer Bondzio (known previously to most as ‘Jenn with the tongue’) and Chester Zeshonski, who I suppose was just known as Chet. While I managed to artfully link folks in previous entries of this nature, there will be none of that here, as these two had absolutely nothing in common aside from having the misfortune of knowing us, and perhaps never even met. In truth, I just don’t have enough material on either of them to drone on endlessly as I am wont to do. Citing the old rule of age before beauty, I’ll begin with Chet.

         I never really found out where Chet actually came from. I recall him showing up for the final Comstock party that served to celebrate Dan somehow surviving another year. I imagine there was some sort of computer connection with Aaron, further bonded by a love of fantasy role play. In any case, there he was, seemingly more normal then the usual class of miscreant who found us, so we let him in the door, unlike drooling friends of Dan. For a time, I knew him as ‘one of those dudes with the long hair’; a class he and Andrew jointly occupied, both being mysteries to me. Chet actually preceded us to Princeton and once Comstock suffered a bloated gravitational collapse, Aaron and I decided to follow suit.

        In the early days at the apartment, Chet was a near constant visitor. He had suffered the loss of a paying roommate and his advertisement for replacement brought a Chinese couple to his door. I have always assumed that he must have been desperately hard up, as he accepted their offer to move in. Although he would never outright admit it, I got the impression that once they set up shop, occupied the master bedroom, and supplied the majority of the furnishings in the place, he was living in a ‘our roof, our rules’ situation. I goaded him relentlessly on why the nightly gaming sessions were never held at his pad, and the obvious answer was that he was not allowed to have anyone over. On the occasions where he would decline to show up, I assumed he was grounded and this has never been proven otherwise to my satisfaction.

        I think his living arrangement had something to do with the peculiar habit he developed in the early days. Although he lived almost directly across the street from us, and the weather was nice, almost every night he choose to sack out on our couch. He may have been too tired from the emotionally intense Magic card bouts with Aaron to make the arduous journey, or perhaps he knew Mr. Wong would be in his cups and have his belt off waiting for him, and thought it best to face him in the morning. In any event, the practice was personally annoying to me as I had been in the habit of rising early and taking my coffee in front of the TV. With Chet sawing logs right there, I didn’t feel comfortable doing this. Rather than handle this in a mature and reasonable manner by explaining the situation to him, I would instead purposefully bang into his leg or elbow with my bike tire as I wrestled it past him each morning. Even daily pain incurred, he altered his habit not a whit.

        Of the many things that can be said about Chet, the truest of them all is that he really, really, really loved Bloodbowl. Having never played this fantasy football knockoff, I cannot attest to the overwhelming addictive nature of the game, but from Chet’s appearance it was far more so than crack and heroin combined. After a few months of constant playing, he would appear at our door at all odd hours, pale and shaking, cold sweat beaded on his brow, begging Aaron for just one quick game to tide him over till the next tournament. Aaron and the rest of the gamer geeks were somehow able to remain casual users, putting the set away for weekends and free evenings. Chet, however, would truck the board around with him constantly, hounding all passersby for a quick match. As I understand it, he put off graduation a full 3 years just to maintain amateur status. I do not know if he plays yet to this day, but as he is married, my guess would be no; that the rehab and subsequent introduction to the fairer sex was resoundingly successful.

        Of the many interludes in which Chet graced our abode, one stands out more than the rest. No, not the time he ate my pirogies and I felt the need to bitch him out over the phone after Aaron reluctantly pointed the finger (yes, I overreacted, but was really hungry and obtaining more food meant taking cans back). I’m speaking of the semi-infamous razor incident. One evening at the apartment, Chet was over and we were actually all watching TV instead of just me steadily turning up the volume as the GG’s in the kitchen grew ever more raucous. Chet got up and excused himself to use the bathroom and was in there for an extended time. During his time in there we heard noises coming from behind the door, but felt it more prudent not to ask questions. He came out, gathered his stuff, and made an exit soon after. There was something, well, different about him, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

         The next morning Aaron burst out of the bathroom in a bit of a tizzy. “Wolf, did you use my electric razor?” I replied that I had not, as I had my own. Very curious. We glared at each other incredulously – he not believing I hadn’t used it, and me irritated by the ludicrous accusation. “Wait a minute. Remember how we thought there was something weird about Chet last night?” He did remember. “Didn’t he have a 3 day beard growth when he came in yesterday?” Indeed, he did have one. We both, however, had mental images of a clean shaven man making a hasty exit. We checked the tell tale trimmings left behind that clued Aaron in to the use. Too light to be mine, and not his as he was apparently a fastidious razor cleaner to have noticed in the first place. Aside from a DNA test, we felt we had him dead to rights.

        Chet of course denied the accusation and may still to this day. It was the sheer strangeness of it all that made the situation memorable. Both before and since, I have never encountered another instance in which a guest employs spontaneous casual use of tucked away personal bathroom toiletries. Following the incident I threw away my toothbrush and kept the replacement safely within my room. I felt no loss of machismo in avoiding the risk.

        While Chet was an addition that Aaron brought into our circle, Jenn Bondzio was one I brought. I still maintain that although mine was not as long lasting, the quality and appearance was far more enjoyable. I actually met Jenn (she identified herself as “Jenn with 2 n’s” in our first conversation over the phone) though the whole tele-dating endeavor. Although the rest of us considered ourselves quite avant-garde and worldly for a bunch of suburban middle class white boys, Jenn was of a different cut of cloth all together and fascinating to me as a result. We had a number of enjoyable conversations before agreeing to meet at a small bar on the corner of Sweethome and Ellicott Creek. This, coincidentally, was on the same night as Dan’s legendary January outdoor party. Given that Dan’s event was a guaranteed sausage fest populated by Dashwoodies, Dashwoody wannabes, and miscellaneous dregs; I elected to go meet Jenn who had already boasted having such impressive and exotic accoutrements as multiple tattoos, brandings, and a heretofore unique tongue piercing, amongst others only hinted at. Most readers would have made the same choice I’m certain.

        As was the case all though my college years, I lacked one of the primary assets required for successful dating beyond the junior high level; a car. This situation had not changed before I met Jenn, and so I ended up having my cousin and her boyfriend drive me there to meet her. I may as well have detached my testicles and left them atop my dresser, but such were the circumstances of the day and it was far too cold and far to walk it. She had arrived there previous to us and I was able to pick her out immediately with long dark hair and almond eyes; a close resemblance to a young Bjork. We approached, and she smiled running the ball of her tongue stud across her teeth. We had an enjoyable evening that night, and arrived at the conclusion that we would be friends. I’m not going to lie and say that had she had something else in mind I wouldn’t have bit, but this was not the case and given our differences, perhaps it was for the best. She did become a good friend and I have never regretted that.

        As the name Jennifer, especially in Buffalo, had proliferated among our generation as horny rabbits in close confinement, this Jenn was dubbed by my cousin Ann as ‘Jenn with the tongue’ for clear and proper identification. This of course was due to her trademark piercing, one to become a common occurrence a few years down the road, but groundbreaking in that day and age. Such a simple and well hidden piece of jewelry gave her both a mystique and authenticity, that along with her good humor and amiable personality, made her welcome in our somewhat closed and elitist circle of socially maligned individuals. For me she was a godsend in the form of my first real platonic opposite sex friendship that did not degenerate into an unrequited love situation that is so often the rule.

        The advantage of having such a friend as I found, was the remarkable new insight into the feminine mind. I feel I did my part in attempting to explain the basic masculine thought process that went on with her prospective partners, generally explaining the obvious and revealing my genders simplicity of thought. I got the far better bargain. Once she was open to diagramming out the seemingly random thought processes that were behind each phrase uttered by women who caught my fancy, my success rate in securing dates skyrocketed, and to her I credit directly all of my pre-Air Force longer lasting relationships. Not that there was any excellence in the quality, but a few practice runs before the big game never hurts.

        On one occasion I went so far as to employ her as a wing-woman. I had a blind date I was meeting at the mall, and was unsure as to how interested I would really be once we met in person. Aaron was so kind as to pick her up and drive us there. She and he lurked about the food court as I tried to figure out who my blind date was. If the secret signal was given by me, she was to come rushing forward, playing the role of a Springer-esque ex lover, and declare I knocked her up, thus assuredly freeing me from any further entanglement. Alas, I never found my mystery date, so the whiskey tango drama production was retired before the curtain ever rose. As a consolation, we all went go carting instead.

        While the times we hung out were always entertaining, one of the more memorable of them was the day I volunteered to help her move out of her grandmother’s house on Ellicott Creek Road to an upstairs apartment in an antiquated house off the Elmwood strip. Although I had graduated and gained employment in the auto parts world, I still lacked a car and brought Dave into the picture to help. As Dave and had moved each other and friends many times over, we considered ourselves expert class and planned to be done in plenty of time for his 1:00 PM shift at Zappers. We had never before, however, moved a female, and had no clue of what we were in for.

        While I’m sure any female readers (should there actually be any) will immediately cry ‘sexist’ upon reading this, I’m speaking purely from experience having now moved approximately 2 or 3 dozen individuals in a male to female ratio of about 1:2. I can say in all honesty that of those dozen or so single females I have moved, perhaps only 1 or 2 was even marginally prepared the day of. I’m not clear on why this is so, but theorize it has to do with the perception of potentially needing each and every possession in the days, hours, and even seconds up to the move, thus preventing any sort of packing. In addition, I have also gone to move washers still chugging away at clothes, book shelves with every volume still in place, curio cabinets still bursting with breakable tschochkes, and best of all an indoor 500 galleon turtle pond occupying a whole kitchen floor, un-drained, plugged in, and occupied. While Jenn was not the least prepared of this list (the win going to Miss Alicia “Turtle Pond” Atkins), Jenn was a close second.

        Dave and I showed up at the crack of dawn, ready to rumble and put this project to bed before lunch. We entered the home, let in by a frantic and frazzled Jenn, to see a single box in the center of the floor, half filled with knick-knacks. “Is this it?” Having never before encountered this phenomenon, we could not imagine the prep work having not been completed days before. “Sorry guys, I’m late in getting started packing, but that’s not it. We have to go get my couch first”. This part of the project had not been mentioned previously; another symptom of the single female move. I offered to accept directions to where this couch was located so that she could continue packing, but she only knew the house by look, not number, or even street. Dave was already looking at his watch in a worrisome manner.

        The couch run was a time killer. It took us almost an hour to find the place, and the guy wasn’t at home when we got there. We waited, and he did return, and led us down a much cluttered stairway into what appeared to be Fred Sanford’s basement. The free couch was at the far end of the room, accessible only though a narrow maze of accumulated crap. To our delight, it was not only a full size deal, but a fold out bed as well, presenting an unwieldy 300 lb package. The profanity uttered by Dave and myself as Jenn and her suspiciously bad backed friend looked on is no doubt still embedded in the timbers. The extraction was exhausting and took close to another hour. Wrestling it up the cloistered old time stairway in her new digs was infuriating as well. On this task alone we had killed the morning and there was only time for one more run before Dave had to depart.

        While I still had the use of Dave, I decided it would be best to get everything that required a 2 man carry, including her dresser and bed. The furniture fit barely in the back of the Bronco, necessitating the stowage of her mattress atop the truck. In classic Dave ‘MacGyver’ fashion, he secured it with a single line of bungee cords and his hand out the window, before barreling down the Boulevard at 50 miles an hour. We had not gone a half mile before an updraft caught the edge, tearing the mattress out of Dave’s hand, and launching it end over end into following traffic. Cars swerved, honking and swearing, as the mattress tumbled across the dirty pavement, finally coming to a rest by the side of the road. Panicked, Dave screeched to a halt, causing yet more honking, swerving, and swearing. We retrieved the battered and dirtied mattress from where it lay and secured it now in with an overabundance of bungee and duct tape before going on our way. We wisely agreed to omit the occurrence from in our report back to Jenn, and made sure to set it up torn side down in her new place.

        Despite the pain of the move, we did complete and Jenn and I managed to remain friends for some time after. We slowly drifted apart as people tend to do as they get on and I last spoke to her before I decided to pursue the Air Force option for me. As with all I have lost contact with due to poor communicative skills and other such tragedies, I hope her and Chet are both doing well. Should either stumble upon this, I can only hope they read any exaggeration with the good humor intended when written.

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11 Responses

  1. Chet was found in the darn basement computer lab of Crosby, on Main Street Campus. As I lived on Comstock/Princeton I was happy to take the last shift of the day at Crosby, as I avoided taking the infernal Blue Bird bus. Chet was always there until the lab closed, and after kicking him out so I could go home a number of times we settled into a conversation surrounding Blood Bowl at Subway; takign full advantage of the free refills.

    At Princeton we had the luxury of three couches. None of high quality in the least, but Mike and I each had our own, which left Chet, and most visitors with the worst couch, which sported a hole in the middle the size of your average ass, and extended completely through the couch, in the most inconvienent place.

    Jenn was one of the coolest peopel we discovered in those days. I do not recall spying on you in the mall, but I do recall us finding her missing kitten in the lazyboy chair.

    UPDATE: Chet is has a wife, home, and has produced offspring. Jenn showed up at Wolf’s wedding, which he inconsiderately planned ofr a Sunday in Jersey. Your wedding is not all about you!

    I never thought to ask until now, but how did you decide to enter the Air Force after aquiring a degree in both English and Psychology, and starting a splendid career as an auto parts delivery boy?

  2. Apparently, you didn’t pay much attention to whom you were sitting with at the wedding! That wasn’t Jenn, but Tiffany from the Air Force. You had actually met her before when she came up to visit. The girl with her, if that is who you are thinking of, was her sister in law, who I had never seen before.

    The story of how I entered the AF is long enough for its own entry and thus shall receive one shortly. I forgot that you and I were barely speaking terms by the time I decided to go in, so it stands to reason you never heard the story. Serves you right for daring to live with me and my quirky exasperating ways for so long!

    I think I denied it back in the day, but it was I who put the hole in that couch. I was standing on it to fix the blinds and my foot went right though it. I think I blamed Dan for that, as well as subscribing you to 17 magazine.

    Did you see the disclaimer page atop the banner?

  3. You are right, I forgot. Probably because I was wondering why I was in Jersey, or because I was watching Dan hit on Tiffany. she let him go on for 10 minutes until she said “Dan, you know me!” Dan later moved on to her pregnant sister-in-law.

    Well, we had a collective enemy for so long when that position was vacated we had to turn on each other instead of turning our efforts into shenanigans. A regret I have is that we did not do so.

    I never knew you destroyed the couch! Oh well, I never sat there and Dan may be innocent of that, but I he is guilty of other things he got off scott-free for. Seventeen magazines is nothing, back at Comstock Dan signed me up for pantyhose of the month.

    I did not see the disclaimer at the top, but I have now. I have removed some people I do not care to hear from, and made a few corrects as I remember.

    This reminds me that the Tracy Meme story needs to be told by someone. I do not recall enough details to do so myself, and no one outside our circle ever remembers the “Buff State Prostitute”. I be that will get a few hits from Google.

  4. I think Chet may have been taking advantage of one of Aaron’s “behaviors”. I recall that Aaron used to refuse to use an electric razor; his reason was that it did not save him any time, since he had to clean it every single time he used it. I suggested that was unnecessary, but he would hear nothing of the sort. However, more recently I discovered he had joined the modern era by utilizing electric razors again; he told me that he no longer had the compulsion to clean it daily, just as he no longer feels it important to group food by color.

  5. Interesting. Does this mean he left all OCD fetishes in the past? My favorite was always his version of math in which ‘odd’ and ‘even’ were determined by divisibility by US currency, making 5 even and 4 odd. He argued this vehemently, despite the plethora of prime numbers it created.

  6. We used to have fun with that, giving him $7 for gas or offering him 13 cans of Mtn. Dew. However, the $2 bill can be used to correct the “odd” problem. Typically though he did heavily favor the 5s and 10s. But, the last time I spoke with him about this he has claimed it is in the past. Notice how we speak about him as if he is not here, even though I am sure he will read this soon.

  7. I have even dropped my necessity to have the pepper closer to me than the salt.

  8. You left out the time that Jenn and I got drunk at Princeton and made out in front of everybody. It was loads of fun, but ended when I had to go meet Mary. C’est la vie.

  9. Dan, we need the story of the anguished 12 hours.

  10. Okay.

  11. I forgot about that! Was that the same night she ran outside and puked in the bushes and hid? Would make sense….

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