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Cold and Lonely In the Deep Dark Night

       The tales told herein this post, unlike most things on God’s green earth, have nothing whatsoever to do with Meatloaf and his big swinging bitch tits. Nor do they really have anything to do with each other than serve convenience. Dissimilar in nature, yet stuck together like a baboon duct taped to the back of a bucking naked Angela Landsbury, I hereby present the tales of some things that I happened to remember while thinking unkind thoughts of Comstock.           

       The first of these events is one that has been brought up time and time again, yet remains an untold story; or in fact may have been told but I forgot and cannot be bothered to look it up, so am beating you with the details unnecessarily. I speak of the memorable night when I held captive and furious several poor youths against their will under tortuous circumstances. This, mind you, was long before I entered the rarified echelons of the military industrial conspiracy where such doings are not just tolerated, but expected. No ill intention went into the planning, yet the results could not have been more perfect, as the impression left upon the collective psyche such that 14 years of schooling, Mountain Dew, and prodigious amounts of fantasy role play gaming were not enough to remove the destructive influence. Louis, this story is for you; a kindness in sparing you the pain of bringing these words to paper.           

       It was 1993 and I had signed up to take a modern culture class with the great Satan of the English department, Professor Fred See. He was known amongst average circles as Prof See Minus given his fondness for his namesake letter grade, with just a touch of panache added on to the end. I had taken one of his classes before, and despite being a first hand recipient of his unkind homonym inspired curve, decided to buck the odds and give him another go. The rotund man with walrus moustache and abrasive Santanic humor (the jolly old elf), was captivating and I was determined to follow in his path, inspiring enmity and grudging awe in those unfortunate enough to fall under my spell. See was free and wild with his recommendations regarding movies, and had a particular fetish for the escapades of grandfather punk band The Sex Pistols; notably bad boy bassist Sid Vicious.           

       Fred felt that the epic story of old Sid and his wretched skank of a girlfriend Nancy was best summed up in aptly titled biog “Sid and Nancy”. To hear old See describe it, the plot was a towering romance between noble star crossed lovers set in the grimy streets of London and Vegas, with liberal doses of whiskey and heroin thrown in to provide a little color. It sounded great, and I looked forward to the life changing event I knew watching it would be. Lacking the minimum requirements needed to obtain a Blockbuster card, however, I was forced to play the waiting game. The game was a short one, as I found that day upon arriving home on a sweaty August afternoon that Knaus owned a copy that for some reason was not in with the rest of his stash. Perhaps it was that the title screamed ‘chick flick’ to me and I so overlooked it. I was determined to watch at the earliest available opportunity.           

       The late summer of ’93 was hotter and sweatier than an overweight runners swamp crotch. Add Jason in the house and smell was considerably worse than the analogy. During such times there was always a careful choice to be made: do we bear the oppressive heat and stank of the living room and bask in the calming light of our enormous entertainment center, or do we forego the comedy stylings of the Fox network and instead engage in witty beer fueled conversation in the night breezes? The minions of the zoo crew were barking toward the latter. My overwhelming desire to see the cinematic masterpiece described earlier inspired genius that night. Why can’t we have our cake and eat it too? (a value I still espouse as I see no point in having one without the other). I demonstrated though simple diagrams how this could be done. The crew hooted and clapped and jumped grinning about the furniture.           

       Atop our Florida room stood a roof of angular pitch such that a person perched upon stood only small chance off accidentally rolling off into the driveway. The access to this heavenly veranda existed only in my bedroom, though the one window of the three that had been sufficiently freed of paint to open. The environs were a favorite stomping ground of the cat, even in winter, and it was not long before we humans, inspired by her intrepid bravery, set forth on the same journey. By some miracle the aged timbers held strong, and on such warm nights we would sit and gawk at the shady undertakings of the Mailbox Gang. In this instance, an impressive addition was made to the plan. Aaron, Louis and Matt each filed out the window with pillows and chose seats of best comfort on the shingles. I balanced the TV/ VCR on the radiator and exited myself, pulling the TV into the open window frame. Thus secure, I popped in ‘Sid and Nancy’ and let it play.           

       I don’t especially recall much after that. It had been a long day, as I had worked, and then consumed some number of beers thereafter. The movie proved to be less captivating than I had been led to believe by that fat boisterous liar, and in all honesty, I found their very voices to be wholly offensive to my eardrums. Quickly losing interest, I lay my head down on the pillow most in front of the TV and closed my eyes for but a moment to the dulcet sounds of, “Naaaaanncy! I wont some piiiiizzzza!” Blackness followed and I only have second hand accounts of what transpired thereafter.           

       For those who have never been exposed to my odious sleeping habits, I will lay aside all defenses and take for granted that my snoring would put a misaligned McDonnell-Douglas jet engine to shame. Further compounding the problem is the condition I enjoy that prevents any purposeful effort, reasonable or otherwise, from waking me. The roof contingent became rapidly aware of the predicament they were in being subject not only to my subhuman nighttime noises, but the hideous screeching of the actors in the film. Unable to converse and otherwise pass the time due to the din, watching this three hour train wreck was the only viable entertainment option.            

       Plan A of course was to simply turn off the TV and make an exit, happily leaving me to sleep or roll off the roof in good time. Given the seating configuration and a cold logistic analysis, it became rapidly apparent that not only did my offensive sleeping form block all exit, but also access to the TV. There would be no relief thus from the sensory assault. A vigorous attempt to wake me was thus employed with no success whatsoever. Had someone of the malicious caliber of Knaus or Dan been present, I have no doubt that I would have been set on fire and subsequently rolled off the edge if need be, but this contingent was too soft and thus suffered the ritual ass pounding of the weak. The suffering grew as time progressed and the liberal amounts of beverage taken to stave off the heat made their way though the process and begged relief. I don’t know if any of them decided to brave it, but a previous close brush with death led me to believe that relieving oneself off the precarious edge was the errand of a fool soon to become Darwin’s bitch.            

       It is my understanding that Louis suffered the most that night. His senses gouged rough by the horrendous acting, bladder near bursting, and cordoned off by a sleeping flatulent man from his beloved sugar, he edged a little closer to the insane. Aaron and Matt, more used to my penchant for providing frequent undesirable circumstances surrendered themselves to fate. Academics and students of human behavior study to find that moment when a Hitler or Ted Bundy transforms from a painter or salesman to a homicidal monster. Had things progressed any much further, Louis would have been able to tell them, masked, strapped down to a dolly and thinking dark thoughts of lambs. Lucky for me, the movie ended and a Sex Pistols song of such heinous quality played during the credits to thwart even my vaunted sleeping ability. I awoke with a start.           

       “Oh my god, finally! Get out of the way!” Before me and pushing with great urgency was a highly agitated Louis sporting a look of such venom that I was quick to comply with the request. Little care was taken into consideration as to the delicacy of Knaus’s valued machine as Louis punched the stop button and shoved it out of the way on to my bed. Aaron and Matt each looked at me with some degree of trepidation that I might suddenly fall asleep again. Both knew, but would never tell how close I came to having Louis, driven beyond what the human mind can take; puncture my scrotum with a rusty roofing nail. I learned a valuable lesson that night and vowed to never again watch ‘Sid and Nancy’ atop a roof with an irritable chemist present.            

       The second night time story has nothing whatsoever to do with the first, other than it takes place at night and involves no small amount of discomfort. I shiver to this day thinking about it; the night the furnace went out. It was our first winter at Comstock and a hoary one at that. From the start of January on, Buffalo experienced one of the longest below zero spells it had ever had. Moving away from home into a house in a shit neighborhood involves many challenges and adjustments such as buying toilet paper, feeding oneself, doing laundry and whatnot; obvious things. There are then the less obvious things, such as learning to subsist in substandard housing with old plumbing, malfunctioning bathroom door handles, and little to no insulation. It is the last of these that caused much discomfort that particular winter.           

       No two ways about it, when the weather gets down below zero, we were uncomfortably cold. Lacking any type of ‘do it yourself’ type knowledge that may have mitigated the problem, we resorted to the remedy of convenience – turning the thermostat as high as it would go and leaving it there constantly. It occurs to me now that Dave probably knew of such things as putting plastic over the windows, sealing doors and whatnot. I can only imagine that he took some sort of perverse pleasure knowing we were freezing our buns off and paying a hefty $400 a month to do so. We groaned at the weight of Knauses quarterly statements with teeth a chatter. I was the fortunate one, having the longest length of radiator in my room, and was often quite toasty even when the rest shivered in their chilly hideaways. On many nights I would abscond with Knauses TV into my room and watch movies (more often than not, porn) in relative comfort, caring little for the suffering of Jason, who was usually the only other one there in such times.           

       One night, however, my winter refuge was lost to fate. It was a Saturday night and I arrived home and took a shower after my shift at Collector’s Inn, which I often did after dealing with the subhuman creatures who rented his horror movies. I settled down to watch SNL and could not help but notice it was even chillier than normal in the living room. As time went on the comedy stylings of the great Tim Meadows even failed to warm me and I then noticed that I could see my breath. Foolish Knaus! Always turning the thermostat down before he left. I went to adjust it and froze; it was up at the highest setting. In a burst of panic I bolted over to the radiator and felt it. Ice cold! The water gurgled though it, pushed forward by the arcane pumping mechanism, but it was frostier than the blood of a yeti and began to actually serve as a cooling mechanism, pulling the little remaining warmth from the rooms. Panic began to settle in as the night was expected to break records and the harsh winds pounded our windows. It was time to call Don, our intrepid landlord.           

       In the mean time, Jason and Aaron arrived home. Knaus, either preternaturally aware of the situation though the reporting of his dark familiar or having been the one to break the furnace to begin with, remained conspicuously absent that night.  We stood nervously about, donning progressively heavier layers of clothing, and like complete fools, thinned our blood though the intake of beer. Don finally arrived and made a harsh diagnosis. Yup, the furnace was busted. He called around, but at 1:00 AM, was not able to find a repairman until the following day. He advised we turn on the water to keep the pipes from bursting and hunker down for a long cold night. With a wink and a nod, he bade up adieu, hopping in his nice warm truck and speeding back to Lancaster and the embrace of a well heated home.            

       We looked at each other worriedly. We had not even the means to build a fire for warmth, and must make due with what little provisioning we had. I had known from scouts that staving off hypothermia could be done by clustering naked bodies together and sharing warmth, and knew Aaron knew this as well having been an Eagle Scout. We eyed Jason warily; this would never happen. I didn’t say it, and neither did he, but we simultaneously calculated that given Jason’s body mass compared to our own, we stood a substantially better chance of surviving the night then he. True, our collective survival chances improved substantially if we decided to take the homoerotic route, but we were willing to forego this given the potential that this smelly silica slinger would freeze his nuts off and bother us no more. The decrease in my own survival margin was acceptable risk. We all parted ways and retreated to our respective rooms. I coaxed Malice into mine, risking her wrath for the promise of fur.           

       I had read somewhere that a multitude of layers is the key to survival in Antarctic conditions, and as such donned as many as possible; my whole collection of sweatpants and sweatshirts, stretched to the limit over my padded frame. The hoodie was decades away from popularity, but my anticipation of the trend served me well and allowed good coverage for my ears. I dove under the comforter and winter weight sleeping bag atop. Nestled in the cold, yet comfortably warm, I found sleep.            

       My alarm woke me early the next morning. I rose, shuddering and shaking, the cold having permeated every layer through the still of the night. The cat of course seemed nonplussed and I could not help but wonder if she had stolen the heat of my breath overnight, leaving me soulless and frozen. I had to work at Collectors that day; a condition that would force me to get dressed. How I cursed the fates, shivering beyond control to don a simple pair of blue jeans, legs so frozen as to rip into my exposed skin. Fortunately, I had arranged a ride that day, as I would have been absolutely unable to make my customary walk. “My god, you are blue!”, my father exclaimed seeing me. Unable to speak through the chattering, I rode in silence, only moving to crank the heat. When I arrived at work, I took the space heater behind the counter, turned it to full, and placed it directly next to me. By the end of the 6 hour shift, I had finally gotten to the point where I was no longer shaking. I have never been that cold before or since and the memory haunts me to this day.           

       How Jason and Aaron fared and survived, I still do not know. I could speculate that they found warmth in the aforementioned manner, deep in the night knowing no one would know, so I will, no doubt inspiring furious protest. The furnace, however, was fixed and life went on without further consequence.


51 Responses

  1. I took a film class with Mr. See. He was all right, but an exacting ball buster. He wrote on my first paper, “Maybe you should go back to High School and learn to write.”

    Ian took the class with me too, and eventually dropped out because he couldn’t stand the guy.

  2. Matt was not on the roof that night.

    Don’t try to impress us with your Northrop Grumman knowledge, re McDonnell-Douglas jet engine.

    The tiny portal was so small even the spry (spree), young Mr. Schultz had to squirm through.

    The masive torture this movie and the 4 liters of Mountain Dew in his bladder produced for Louis was enough to entertain me most of the excruciating time, and I have never meant excruciating more than now.

    I peed off the roof, but Louis lacked the confidence in his agility to do so.

    “Sid and Nancy” ranks up there with “Pink Flamingos” and I theorize Dan was hoping for a similar response from Wolf and myslef when taking us to a viewing.

    Upon radin this I had to make certain I have rated “Sid and Nancy as low as possible on IMDb.

    I stayed warm by using the layers method as any good Eagle Scout, and hunkering down underneath my two thin blankets and atop my couch cushions as served as my bed. Perhaps dulled by the frigid air, I was not smart enough to move my “bed” away from the uninsulated wall.

    I eagerly away Louis’s comments.

  3. First off, I’m strongly considering adding my point of view to a “Quick Hits” type post. Furthermore, who WAS on the roof? I could swear it was Dan, Aaron, Mike, and I. I wanted to jump OFF of the roof but there were gutters and such in the way.

    My most distinct memory of the ENTIRE movie is how utterly happy I was when Nancy was stabbed and bled out. I knew that meant the movie would soon end. I was eagerly anticipating her untimely death, knowing that sweet relief would soon follow.

  4. What 14 years of schooling are you referring to, by the way.

  5. It was only Wolf, Louis, and me on the roof.

  6. Holy Crap! That was Gary Oldman playing Sid!

  7. Sid and Nancy is a great movie.

  8. For the 14 years I was thinking of it as 16 year normally in a K though Jr year of college situation, minus 2 years for the grades you skipped.

  9. I took an Advanced English course in Imperialism in Film/Literature with the great Professor Fred See – this was in 1989. I LOVED that professor. Next to Barbara Bono he was the best English prof in the entire English dept of SUNY Buffalo. He was fair; he just loathed slackers and lazy thinkers and anybody who thought they could take English as an elective because it was an “easy” subject. HA! Not in his class. He was what I call a “pip”, but in a good way. Kept you on your toes. Made you think. Took no prisoners. By the way, you are an amazing writer.

  10. Oh hell, compliments for Wolf from a possible complete stranger, now his head is going to grow even larger – if that is possible.

  11. It is possible, and it indeed has! Thank you Anna, you have considerably brigtened my day by both boosting my ego, but far better, irritating the other contributors. Very pleased to make your acquaintance.

    Yes, I was a lazy slacker back in those days which I’m very sure was the root of my opinion. I beg to differ though as I found Mac Hammond and Ray Federman to be superior instructors.

  12. Mighty Wolf – Let me put this out there for ya: Are you Ken Wolf? Who used to write for Generation magazine? Friend of A.G. of “Bitter Twisted” fame? If this makes no sense and you’re drawing a blank, then I have the wrong person. If it DOES make sense, I have to tell you your writing in that magazine was AWESOME!! (I shouldn’t say that because I was Managing Editor of that “other” paper, The Spectrum, which Generation was always lambasting and pooh-poohing. They shouldda realized the Spectrum was just a different type of newspaper. Generation was like Village Voice. Spectrum was like the Daily News. Too different beasts entirely — can’t compare apples to oranges.) But I remember a column this dude Ken Wolf did that was in a “dear mom” letter format, where the LAST (or was it the first?) word of each sentence in the letter, made up the true coded message of the letter, which was to beg his mom for more money! Was that you?? Also, do you know if Professor Fred See is still alive? Gads when I took his class he already looked like Gandalf.

  13. p.s. I can top the other story of Fred See’s didactic cruelty. (But sometimes, one must be cruel to be kind, is that not so?) My boyfriend at UB at the time, had a class with him in the late 80’s. He said a girl raised her hand in class and stated an opinion on something they were reading. Prof See said, “And what makes you say that? What’s your opinion based on?” And the nervous little chickadee mumbled, “Um, well ‘cuz that’s what I think.” And Prof See supposedly got angry and supposedly gave the middle finger and supposedly said, “Yeah well f—-k you.” Now all this is hearsay based on what my ex said, so maybe he lied. But what would be the point? Then there was the story Prof See told us in class about how his father was a Freemason and See and his sister never got along with dad; in fact, had a very fractious and troubled relationship with the man. Anyway, the man was buried with a ring that apparently had monetary value and was also the Freemason ring, which See and his sister thought was a stupid organization. So….the body was exhumed so sis could take the ring back. No reason for taking it back — just malice toward the father. Like a post-mortem “FU.” How do you like them apples? Still, See was a genius, you must admit it. Mad, unpredictable, profane, but a genius. But as long as you substantiated your opinion with some solid evidence in the text (unlike the little chickadee heretofore mentioned), See left you alone.

  14. I’m afraid you have the wrong Wolf in this case – I’m Mike Wolf, although I do remember the Dear Mom letters and got a real kick out of them. I think I might still have a copy somewhere being the packrat that I am. Before the inevitable question, he’s no relation and I guarantee any other Wolf you know is also no relation, unless of course you somehow know me, in which case I’ll be writing a retraction.

    I have no idea of old Fred is still alive; I hope so, but given his passion for Little Debbie, I wonder. I remember the Freemason story now that you mention it. He was a great believer in getting the last laugh whenever possible.

    I had him twice – for Shakespeare and a Media and Mall culture class. Despite getting his fabled C- in the former, I took the latter as it just sounded too interesting. I believe my grade was based primarily on the fact that I sat in the back and didn’t say much. That or my not having read the plays. The Media class was more interesting and involved watching masterpieces such as “Freaks” and “Gremlins”. We had to write a paper on the newly opened Galleria mall and I remember impressing him that one and only time. As part of my research I walked the tunnel underneath the mall and wrote about the seedy underside. You can see the entrance when turning in the parking lot from Galleria Drive. He admired my dedication to the assignment although in truth I would have gone under there anyway to look about a bit.

    I also remember him having no reservations of telling the class what he really felt. Although he loved the Media group; particularly a husky gentleman named Ed who had his nose invading the good professor to the point of smelling back teeth, he hated the Shakespeare class and made frequent statements on how we were the worst class he ever had. I think this above all ingratiated me to him more than anything.

    Kudos, by the way, on your tenure at the Spectum. Our housemate Jason also wrote for the Spectrum I believe between 90 and 94 and I was wondering if you remember him? If you click on the ‘Cast of Characters’ tab above he’s the fourth one down. I dare not mention his full name or like Betelgeuse he will appear in all his filthy glory and once again force us all to move.

    In case I forgot to say, welcome Anna to our forum and please feel free to comment any time.

  15. I vaguely remember a Jason; very very vaguely. I knew some Generation staff – Gabby, Julie. I took the See media class too, but another semester /another year as it appears I’m a few years older than you. In the media class we analyzed films that examined imperialism (Empire of the Sun, Terminator, Zulu Nation) etc. It was pretty cool.

    I always despised Shakespeare in high school (and Chaucer, and all those other sissy-footed Elizabethan or pre-Elizabethan or just-after-the-Elizabethan period English writers — I’m an American Lit chick myself). I mean, in h.s. I was a bookworm and loved reading, but Shakespeare just bored me to tears. Trying to read Shakes was like standing in line at the Dept of Motor Vehicle all day while listening to elevator music. But UB Prof Barbara Bono actually got me to like Shakespeare. I think because she concentrated on the psychological motivation behind the characters and also because she was very theatrical — the front of the class was her stage and boy did she move around on that stage. That’s how I judge a good prof — when they can sway even the most die-hard negative student to do a complete turnaround.

    That’s a great story about the Galleria mall. That’s actually something I’d do too. It’s almost like something you could write about in a “Weird New Jersey” type magazine.

  16. I can’t agree with you more about the English writers, although I’m not yet ready to come down hard on the king (Wild Bill) just yet. As for the others… ugh. I made the mistake of taking 18th century British Lit with Prof Warner and I can only describe it as excruciating. The fabulous Austen sisters, Pamela, Shamela… Letters from a Nobleman to His Sister; all explained in fanciful detail as he ponced about the front of the room pontificating; delighted in his own wit. On top of it, he clearly had not yet come to terms with his closet homosexuality and insisted on finding hidden gay elements in each work and character based on the flimsiest lack of evidence. He would generally follow this up with some sort of mention of his wife and kids to counterpane that you know, he wasn’t talking about him.

    Ironically, See felt very strongly that Shakespeare was intended only to be seen and not read, then proceeded to have us read 6 or 7 of them. Completely within character, he did drag out the film version of Romeo and Juliet with the nude scene to our collective delight. One of my high school English teachers, Brother Jerome, did the same but was sent away not long after, officially for other reasons.

    Interesting you should mention the ‘Weird NJ’ magazine! I thought of the same thing the first time I picked one up. When I was younger I liked to explore all the places I was warned away from like the old grain elevators that used to be off Military road in Tonawanda and the abandoned Atlas steel plant off Elmwood (now occupied by a Famous Footwear, the bastards). The Galleria underground I found on my own, along with the 13th floor of City Hall, accessible only if you take the stairs. If you know of others, I’m all ears!

  17. I believe Dan had a comment about Prof. Warner. Dan?

  18. Well Dan? Aren’t you going to respond?

  19. Mighty Wolf – Prof Warner story – HILARIOUS!! I cracked up. “Methinks the (gentleman) doth protest too much.” Like anybody cares in this day and age what your preferences are. As the famous quote goes, “We do not care what people do, as long as they do not do it in the streets and frighten the horses.” Regarding your request for Weird NJ excursion recommendations, have you ever tried to enter that old baseball field on Main Street near the Main St UB campus? You know, the one where some scenes from “The Natural” were filmed? That’s totally a “Weird NJ” type of place. Is it still empty? Or what about that “Ol Man River” hot dog stand by the (surprise) river? Just what is it they’re putting in their burgers and hot dogs? And I always thought “Water Intakes” on the highway was kind of spooky. Btw my name at UB was Anna DeLeon. I wrote a few articles in The Spectrum about creepy places in Buffalo. One was the Haunted Bookshop in the Elmwood area. Is it still there, I wonder?

  20. I also took a class freshman year with Prof. Warner. Once he was quite late, and someone broke the uncomfortable silence, “Is he trying to look like Indiana Jones with that hat?”

  21. I think the old baseball field is still there, and I have to agree, it is kind of spooky, especally at 4:00 AM after Anacones closes. Now for Ol’ Man River, I always assumed that the meat came from that diapodated whale sitting atop the roof. They do have the best sweeet potato fries though. Funny you mention the water intakes – there is a side one like that in the area under the Galleria. My friend Knaus and I found it in the maiden voyage beneath. We started to venture down and heard some strange noises. Strange enough that we bolted out of there and never returned.

    The articles you are talking about sound vaguely familiar, although it depends on when you wrote them. Did you ever write one about the catacombs beneath the South Campus? My own adventures there are written up in this blog in the entry called A Pistacio, Darkly. The catacomb story is in the beginning with the rest of the entry consisting of the bizzare undertakings of a student with a stunning lack worthwhile endevors. Ah, the good old days!

    What years were you at UB? Sounds like you have since gotten married and possibly left the area. Was the haunted bookshop the Circular Word? I think so, and I also think it’s now gone. Not too many of the good old independants left aside from Talking Leaves and a few others. Would you also believe that there is not one independant coffee shop left on Main Street. Damn Generation Yners with their Starbucks and Borders.

  22. Mighty Wolf – I attended UB from ’84 to ’89. Got my B.A. in English Lit. in May of 1989. Yeah yeah yeah I was a ‘SUPER SENIOR’ but my perfectly valid excuse (dammit) is, I practically lived in 2 Baldy Hall on the North Campus because I ate, slept, worked, ate, slept, worked, ate, slept, and worked (get the picture?) at the Spectrum offices for like, 4 of those years — first as staff writer, then feature editor, then managing editor. Spring semester I did the study abroad program via the UB English Dept. So my last semester at UB was actually abroad, in England, where I attended at Polytechnic Institute of North London. So….I took like, 13 credits per semester because the bulk of my darn time I was in that Baldy basement with the hideous fluorescent lighting, cracked yet absurdly glazed cement floors, burning the midnight oil with my other equally pathetic writers in training (though one of whom, Ken Lovett, now writes for the NY Post, and another, Gerry Matalon, is a senior producer for ESPN, and another, Ralph DeRosa, is a lawyer and advocate for hospital employee rights. Not too shabby. I’m very very proud of them.) As for moi, after graduation I first wrote for a mom and pop newspaper chain, then switched fields and was a grants writer and fund raiser for non-profit organizations while doing freelance writing on the side. But for the last several years I’ve been in (gasp – horror – shock) the corporate world as….(drum roll)….human resources. Yes, go ahead, puke. I totally understand….but I was tired of eating popcorn and stale rice for dinner….Need…..food…..water….. And yes, I got married and don’t live near Buffalo but I did have a reunion there with former roommates a couple years ago. There was still Amy’s Place (the Lebanese restaurant on Main St and Winspear Ave? Please tell me it’s still there?? 200 flavors of pancakes? Hummus to die for?), and Ol’ Man River, and Talking Leaves bookstore (please tell me that’s still there??) Wolf, you’re so on-the-ball about the Starbucks and Borders and Gen Yners. Seriously they need to be slapped or something. I am annoyed at the Ipod generation as revealed by the arrogant-fake-artsy-too-cool-for-you-aren’t-I-the-witty-young-hipster TV advertisements lately, catering to the 20 somethings– whether it’s advertising for cars (that obnoxious one with two women in one car, two guys in the other – one of whom looks suspiciously like Judd Nelson – and they’re singing that Bare Naked Ladies song??), fast food restaurant jingles (“I’m Lovin’ It”?? “I’m thinkin’ Arby’s”? what kinda crapola is that anyway? I want my Ronald Mcdonald and the Grimace back!) Or that silly one with the three young career women at a party on a rooftop, talking about a new perimenopause drug while drinking alcohol (do you get the irony here?) Or how about the older, nerdy IBM man versus the young, slightly grungy Mac PC dude (do we hear age discrimination here? is this a subtle signal to the American public that anybody who remembers WordPerfect and IBM mainframes is s-ooooo passe?) Ok, enough of the rant. I am going to write A Pistacio, Darkly now.

  23. haha, last sentence shouldda read, “I am going to READ A Pistacio, Darkly now.” Freudian slip? I wanna be as good a writer as you, mayhap?

  24. Athies – VERY funny with the Indiana Jones comment. Admit it – you said it, right? Warner was odd. How about Prof Irving Massey? Did that guy ever crack a smile? Ever??

  25. I’m very happy to say that Amy’s is still up and running and remains a bastion of cheap delicious food. Amy’s, Talking Leaves, Parkside Candy, Queen City comics and that insufferable frat store are all that remain of the magnificent Main strip of our day. Such vaunted stalwarts such as PJ Bottoms, Mickey Rats, Molly’s Pub, that liquor store that actually delivered to the dorms, and the 3 or 4 coffee shops are all now gone; in many cases standing vacant. Not that the area was really experiencing a revitalization when we were there, but now it’s just pathetic. The city recently prettied up the street itself and perhaps things will swing back.

    I, like you, have also become a corporate hack and actually work for the second largest defense contractor as a program manager. Our division doesn’t make anything hostile, thus assuaging my liberal guilt at least a little. HR though… man! Oh the blood on your hands…. 

    The Yners are far more annoying then we ever were, and we truly were. My favorite enduring trend is the making of everything “Extreme!”; made even more appealing to the whippersnapper set by spelling it with just an X in hopes of capitalizing on X-Men popularity without paying any royalties. I actually saw X-treme! white bread at the grocery store. Are they kidding me with this? I’m sure Caspar Milqetoast is feeling the burn making his bologna and mayo with this brilliant product.

    Don’t beat yourself up with the Super Senior or I’ll have to beat myself up too having suffered from the same affliction doing my stretch from 90 to 95. Aside from Louis here who got his PhD in Chemistry in record time only to become an IT guy, the rest of the writers did the 7 to 10 year plan. Our generation was obviously never in that big a hurry. Unlike you, none of my associates went on to name recognizable fame aside from Tracy Mehm, the “Co-ed Call Girl”, although it wouldn’t surprise me if one or more turned up on the news one day in a breaking story featuring a lot of sirens and flashing lights.

    Ah, Wordperfect… brings back frustrating memories. Not nearly as much as the VAX account Aaron (athies) insisted I get. I would only use the computer lab when he was the irritable support person (ever see the SNL skit with Jimmy Fallon playing the snarky IT guy? Thies all the way!) so I could continuously ask him how to check my email. That commercial annoys the hell out of me too, especially since everyone seems to be under some impression that Apple is somehow less of a viciously competitive multinational corporation than Microsoft or any other.

    By the way, I would never complain having you continue calling me “Mighty” but those who are less impressed by my self serving moniker just call me Mike. 

  26. Listen, about that VAX account, you probably had trouble accessing the email because of the fact that I would occasionally change the password. That was no defense against the super hax0rs who got into the account both of us shared and placed a file that let them read our (your) email at any time from anywhere. Oh ha ha, what a bunch of jokers. Also, for the record I believe Dan finished in less than 7 years. That does remind me though, I must tell the story of the guy who just wanted to go for a drink with Matt.

  27. I never had Mussy. I was a CS major hence I only took the required English.

    Mike sucked at email. HE WROTE IN ALL CAPS TO IRRITATE ME!

  28. Tell the story! I don’t remember this?

  29. Well, once again Mike has poured out upon the front page so it will have to wait at least a day.

  30. Hmm.. been more than a day now and it looks to me like I still got the front page. Interesting.

  31. Even if Louis pulls him usual non-posting I have been working on a story I hope to post soon.

  32. Wow – you guys are a riot. I’m enjoying reading this stuff even though I don’t even get all the inside jokes. Somebody please spill the beans about the guy that “just wanted to have a drink with Matt.” That line is positively pregnant with innuendo.

  33. I will post tomorrow, even if I cannot come up with the creamer story I do have a list of ideas to work with.

  34. Louis, saved once again by being slapped with the front page rule!

    Anna, glad you are enjoying! If I had to make a guess about the Matt story, I would say it’s one of the very many instances when Matt found himself victim of his overwhelming self described “fagnetism”. Not exactly a PC sounding term, but it was reviewed and endorsed by several authentic homosexuals; all of whom have been confused at one time or another by Matt blinking in and out of their gaydar. While innuendo is our collective forte, there is always someone who insists on following up with graphic detail.

  35. Mighty Wolf – (I’ll say Mighty and nobody can stop me, alright?) HAHAHAHAHA that was an extremely funny story, the Pisctacio story. I cannot believe you wore that insane outfit. Holy cow, people crossing the street to avoid you — that is too much. hahaha that was brave and showed chutzpah. Boy I wish I had known you folks in college – you sound hilarious and would have been good buddies of mine, fer sure. You know, one year when I lived on Winspear Avenue (junior year), my housemates and I threw a Halloween party and I went as “Pennywise the Clown.” I kept saying, “We all float down here” and “Would you like a balloon, little girl?” Nobody got it. DOESN’T ANYBODY READ BOOKS ANYMORE?

  36. Now that is just sad. That was right around the time the book came out too, and quickly followed by mediocre film starring the ineffable Tim Curry as Pennywise. As dictator-for-life of TWDAECIC (those who dressed as evil clowns in college) I hereby extend to you lifetime membership to our exclusive club. Granted the only members are myself, Dan (Roadkyll from Rocky Horror) and Rocco Mayonaise (he played ‘Beppo’ in the popular ‘Beppo and Roadkill’ strip in Generation by Jason Youngbluth). It’s about time we added some diversity to the group and I’m hoping your addition will stymie Dan from continuously forwarding motions to do an all-clown production of ‘The Full Monty’ which he erroneously has linked in his mind to Monty Python.

    As for remaining ‘The Mighty Wolf’ in your opinion, I graciously accept, especially as it will annoy the others all the more. Your presence is most welcome! I also think our groups would have meshed although I wonder if you understand the depths of our collective insanity revealed in the 100 so postings. 🙂

  37. Gentlemen, I humbly accept your invitation to join TWDAECIC. Although I am not worthy to receive these thy gifts, I shall try to fulfill my obligations to the best of my abilities, though I do stop at mooning people a la Full Monty. Please advise Rocco that “The Full Monty” has zippo similarity to Monty Python (oh how I love Monty Python….”I’m a lumberjack and I’m okay”….this parrot is DEAD!”…..”I fart in your general direction”…..”your wife smells of rotten elderberry wine”…..”You have the wrong office, this is Verbal Abuse….”) As for the depths of your collective insanity, Mighty Wolf, you have NO idea of the extent, breadth, and scope of my weirdness. It’s a miracle my husband is still with me….I must provide much needed comic relief….Not to mention my breathtaking beauty which has no parallel in the Western Hemisphere. Some call me Arwen, Evenstar….And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. By the way, I didn’t like Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise. I always thought he was too over the top and campy, not quietly and insidiously evil, as portrayed in the novel. I wonder if I am annoying the others with my frequent postings, Mighty Wolf? After all, this is the venue for YOU GUYS not moi. Yet who knew that one short letter complimenting your writing would lead to be blabbing away endlessly, as we females are wont to do if given half the chance…….Will someone explain the guy that wanted to have a drink with Matt?

  38. I explained the guy who wanted to have a drink with Matt in “Excess Fluids“. Beware the heinous nature of the rest of the story.

  39. Ok, what the heck are you doing up at 1:07 am? I am off to work, where I await with bated breath until tonight when I will read “Excess Fluids.” Intriguing title.

  40. I think the timestamps are in GMT because I was certainly in bed at 1:07 am, although I was thinking about XML schemas instead of sleeping. But, in any case, I am posting this at 8:12PM so we can see. Also, don’t say I didn’t warn you about the story, since it is a 3 for 1 deal and Matt’s drinking buddy is in the middle.

  41. bluerazor: ohhh-kaaaaay…..um……..uh………thanks for the warning…….it was a tad shocking (the under the table & dreaming part, with Sue). Hmm….ohhkaaay….i was a bit nuts in college, but not that nuts. were you guys in a fraternity and was she a little sister? anyways, um….you guys are totally over the top. holy cow. However I laughed a lot over the seating chart you included in your tale. Also that story about the high individual who jumped off the stairwell was pretty scary. Wow, how many stories was that stairwell anyway? Crazy! And the “excess fluids” story was very very funny. hahaha. Good grief — I can’t believe it — you guys are your own Monty Python troop.

  42. OK – as for fraternities, check out the pictures under “Cast of Characters” again and you can just drop that notion right away. As far as the part with Sue, it was even more shocking in person (after all, even Dan was offended – or at least appeared to be). Sue was not really aware of social graces (or anything else really: See “Squaring Off”). Regarding the stairwell; I have never seen it – if the tale is to be believed, it was 4 stories… but I am only here to tell tales, not to endorse their accuracy. Except that the creamer story is pretty much burned into my brain. Also, why not just comment under the story that is being referred to? This post is being quickly driven up to the heights of most viewed.

  43. Yes, Anna we weren’t frat boys and this was all basically normal behavior for us. Well me and some others. Also if you want to read more about Sue and our group try reading the Schultz Love entry. Again be warned it’s along the same lines as Excess Fluids.

    We all acted like this because we were above normal intelligence individuals, who went to a very restraining High School, and became bored easily. One thing leads to anotehr and hillarity ensues.

  44. Anna, catching up, we are far from annoyed at your postings! I don’t think I speak just for myself either. So far I think your contributions in word count alone exceed that of one of the four editors (Louis). Please continue – we are more than happy to hear from you. It’s fairly unusual to have someone new actually find us funny and we crave the positive reinforcement we had only gotten from each other previously, as disgusting as that sounds.

    I’m also glad you finally understand that we likley exceed you in general weirdness. 🙂

  45. BlueRazor: glad to hear you folks weren’t frattie boysies. boy did i puke at those types. IQ of room temperature. Once again, i swear if i’d met you all and your chick friends in college, we’d be fast friends, crass & weird as you all were. My exboyfriend at the time (name was Matt) was just as much of an oddball. He taught me the salt-shaker-mysteriously-standing-on-its-side-by-itself trick. This was at Perkins at 3 am in the morning. That was when I fell for him hook, line, and sinker. Athies…nice photos on Flickr. Mighty Wolf – ya got a nice mug there, pardner. and here’s another weird coinkydink/similarity to you guys and me and my pals: we ALSO had a bunch of black cats as pets. One was named Famine (unbelievably skinny black cat), the other was Mia (her “meow” sounded like “mia”) and the last was Beelzebub because he was pure feline evil. Mia looks like Wrinkly Bill’s twin.

  46. Thanks! You make me blush beneath my bluster. If you are intersted about the cats, please check out the postings ‘Malice’ and ‘Wrinkly Bill’. These explain in great detail the malevolence of the wretched creatures. Very interesting on the names of yours! We had Malice who begot Death, Dogfodder, Grover, and Nameless. Then they all went and begot a bunch of inbred horrors we never named – in any case it’s all in the story. Perhaps Aaron will be so kind as to hyperlink the stories for you as I can’t figure out how.

    Also, as weird and as crass as we were, we collectively paled in comparison to the mutant scum who fell into the generic catagory of “people Dan brought over”. After managing to exorcise some of these gems from our domain we were left feeling like paragons of virtue and good breeding. The tales of these folk are peppered thoughout.

  47. https://comstock.wordpress.com/2007/08/30/wrinkly-bill/


    Anna, I find it hilarious that your ex-boyfriend is named Matt, an integral part of our crew, and a unique weirdo unto himself.

  48. Athies, you’re not KIDDING it’s hilarious (the Matt thing). He also taught me how to skip a rock in the Adirondacks one summer. I was ELATED when I was able to finally make the rock skip 3 times. Most importantly, he allowed me to win at “Whales Tales the Prince of Wales” as well as Rock, Paper, Scissor, even though he could beat me every time if he wanted to. He was like a freakin’ genius. A mad scientist freaky genius. Why did we not wind up together? Ah, that is another, sad, sad, sad tale for another day. It will make y’all CRY. I’ll have to share it sometime.

  49. Please do! A good story here is always appreciated, even if it will make some of the more sensitive members like Dan, cry. Our Matt once cried from the pressures of working at the newly opened IHOP on Maple. BTW, there is a stretch you would no longer recognize – The General Cinema 8, the Boulevard Cinema, Chi-Chi’s, and Bennegan’s all now dust in the wind.

  50. Fred See was a dick. I had him as a professor in 1983 for several classes. I passed them. I also thought he was a horrible teacher. His lectures were ramblings. He once stopped in the middle of a lecture on Saul Bellow and walked out to yell at a student. I saw him slap a student in the face. Another professor’s kid, Michael Jackson, was in my class. On the first day, he said to Michael on the first day. “Mike you don’t have to be hre, you already know this shit. I’ll give you an A but you don’t need to show up.” He might have changed later in life, but I can’t imagine him being a professor these days.

  51. I assume that was Bruce Jackson’s kid? Ah, an unfortunate choice of name this poor schook had; a lifetime of “No, no, not the pedophile one – I’m the ‘good’ Michael Jackson. Mofo”.

    I’m starting to wonder what happened to the old goat since obviously internet searches seem to lead people here as much as anywhere. What a claim to fame that must be for him to have “fred see” ub pull up some asshole’s blog as the third most relevant hit.


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