Tops Never Stops

Before we discovered the gloriousness that is Wegmans we frequented Tops. It has been well noted already that during the Princeton Era Mike and I made at least a daily trek to Tops since it was so close. Another beacon to the hospital white walls of Tops was Matt’s long-time employ at Tops on Delaware.

Matt was one of the first employees to this branch of the Tops franchise. He had an interview in the trailer on the lot while the building was still being constructed. Some relative of Matt was involved so it was an easy position to acquire, not that cart-boy is an excessively hard job to get. Matt started work in Spring. His plan was to work until the first day of snow, and then quit. “Matt doesn’t work in the snow” was his mantra.

Months later the Matt was pushing carts when he was called into the office. The Tops lords had vision enough to see that Matt was more than a cart-boy. He was immediately reassigned to an inside position in the Butcher’s Block. At the close of his shift that day Matt stepped outside and gazed up into the sky. The first snowflakes of the season gently fell upon his brow. The gods had smiled upon our hero. He was not longer a cart boy. But you must pay the gods a price; Matt was still employed at Tops, or in an indirect way Ahol (the parent, and appropriately named, company of Tops).

Speaking of Ahol, the scuttlebutt is that the local mafia allowed Ahol to purchase Tops as long as they maintained control of the Tops Union. This is all hearsay, so if I wake up with the horse head in my dead tomorrow you will know the arm of the Buffalo mafia extends to the West Coast.

On our way to Comstock to waste time, we took great joy in visiting Matt during his work hours. This was particularly true when he was a lowly cart boy. On one of the rare occasions we had Sean with us we made such a trip for supplies. Sean was known for his fearless driving and his habit of stopping at Noco to “fill er up” with whatever change he had in his pocket. I was once a first-hand witness to his purchase of 32 cents worth of fuel. Today that is not enough for them to let you lift the nozzle.

We spoke to Matt on the way into Tops. He had just spent a considerable amount of time in the classic “stack a fuck-load of carts together from all across the parking lot” so he could push them all back at once. His cart-stack lot was near the Tops entrance, and when we returned from purchase of our supplies (Mountain Dew, pretzels, frozen burritos, etc.) we found Matt no where to be found. As we left Sean took the opportunity to drive his car into the cart-stack Matt had painstakingly constructed. He pushed the cart-stack to the far corner of the parking lot. At first he drove at a slow pack, until we saw Matt running at us, at which time Sean sped up. The exceedingly heavy cart-stack was left in the farthest corner. We sped of laughing. At least we gave Matt something to do for the last hour of his shift.

Once inside, Matt quickly rose to the rank of 95% Butcher. What is 95% Butcher? After a year of working primarily in the Butcher’s Block Matt observed that the only difference between an official Butcher and an experienced meat man, like himself, was knowing how to properly cut 5 specific meats. As there 5 meats are expensive, they did not let anyone slice them, nor were they purchased frequently enough for Matt to get enough practice. We all spurred him on to complete his training and have a viable skill. Eventually Matt was able to get in enough practice in two of these elusive meats, so he settled at 97% Butcher. As I conclude this section it strikes me that this post will burn a few of Matt’s bridges.

Matt was a valuable Tops associate for nearly seven years. He quit before hitting the seven year point because that would be when a part-time associate would be granted a 401k. While the rest of us saw this as an obvious fruit to grab, Matt saw this as a sign he had been defeated by the preverbal Man.

Continuing this HR showcase of Tops benefits we come to the period when Tops began selling Tops branded apparel. Tops management required employees to wear this apparel initially, no doubt to spur on the awaiting masses who couldn’t possibly hold back from spending thousands on Tops sweatshirts. The slap in the face was that associates were required to pay for these required textiles. What a joke.

Tops exposed us to several characters, and once again showcased the intelligence of the average person. The most memorable example of this was when Matt related some story of some random activity of our crew. “What does phallic mean?” interjected one of typical Tops zombies. Matt was befuddled that he did not know what phallic was? He now had is shift project. He left the blob with no better knowledge and spent the rest of him shift polling all his co-workers as the meaning of phallic. To his astonishment one one other employee knew the word. During his polling he even received commentary that phallic was not a common word many people would know. Matt left his shift to relate this happenstance to the rest of us. Until this incident we did not know it was possible to NOT know what phallic meant.

Matt mined a number of girlfriends out of seven year stint. I recall one who became a vegetarian because she was fat. Success! She lost weight. Unfortunately she was still not satisfied, so she pushed the envelope even more, and became vegan. This relationship did not last long.

Matt also met the same girl that absconded with Matt and James in the infamous “I’ll never set foot in a gay bar” story that was the first post on this blog.

An experienced Matt sat in the Tops atrium enjoying his mandatory earned break. A frantic woman ran up, “There is a used condom over there!” “Really? Where?” The woman took Matt half-way across the parking lot to what was absolutely confirmed as a under condom, still filled with a “rush of excess fluids.”

Matt concluded his inspection and headed back, but to the dismay of the woman, he did not return with any cleaning equipment. Matt, instead, plopped himself back on the atrium bench. “Aren’t you going to clean that us?” she explained. “Lady, I’m on my break.”

The bulk of Matt’s time at Tops had him stationed in the Butcher’s Block, or as we more affectionately referred to it – the Meat department. Matt divulged two secrets of the Meat department. One; they kept a small Igloo cooler ready to go at someone, ironically usually one of the professional butchers, cut off a finger and was rushed to the hospital, finger piece encased in the Igloo cooler, to have it sewn back on. The success rate was quite high. Two; the Meat department kept an open bowl into which they threw any scraps, be they on the floor or wherever, into this bowl. When the bowl was full, then they ground up the scraps and sold it under the label of “meat”. Funnily enough, years before, during the Goodyear era, I had spied one of these and bought it for the label humor.

Matt enjoyed a time where he was double employed. His second job, the more prestigious one, was the all powerful Mighty Taco on Sheridan and NFB. Mighty Taco gives you a week to study the menu before taking a test. You have to know all menu items, and their component’s with amounts from memory. Matt passed and became a Mighty Taco employee. We gave him a goal of finding out what the beef was, as he felt Mighty Taco was superior to Taco Bell in every aspect, except the beef. Since this was sacrilege we was to solve the mystery now that he had access.

Matt soon grew to dislike the manager. She ruled with an iron fist, holding weekly meetings that Matt was 2 minutes late for once. She fired him for this. Matt suspects that he was really fired because he was telling the other employees how the manager had terrible skills, and was a bitch to boot. He did not notice until too late that she was in the building, and overheard, walking in on his conversation just at the end of Matt’s tirade. He never solved the “Riddle of Beef.”

Like the recent rash of professional athletes that pretend to retire, Matt too had an encore tour at Tops. I made a visit to him once during this tour. He was working the night shift stocking the frozen foods isles. Like the athlete that plays one more season when he should have walked away, it was sad to see Matt, the once lord of part-time associates, reduced to a zero visibility position.

Another of our crowd spent some time employed at Tops, Chester. He gleefully gave us reports as to his rapid rise to the “Express Lane”, giving us tips as to how he became one of these best of the best. He switched sides from making bewildered fun of the Tops cashiers who wore rubber thimbles to wearing one himself.

Having been a Tops associate for such a long time, Matt was well versed with the employee handbook. There was a statute of limitations on anything you did of five years. The exact day the limit was us, he spilled the beans of what he had done to his co-worked in the back of the store, as he was leaving for his shift. It took Matt 2 minutes to walk our the front of the store, and by then the news had traveled faster than his ironically unmeaty legs could carry him. An example of just how efficient the Tops grapevine is.

What was Matt’s hidden crime? Back when he was still a cart-boy he abandoned his post, walked across the street, and saw a movie at the old Super Saver Cinema. When the movie was over he walked back across the street and took his break.

Saving You More?

Courting the Ladies

Readers of this blog will have picked out the various, highly-successful courting tips that we have dropped across various posts.  If you are a new reader, or someone of poor memory you can read about meatballs, multi-colored sneakers, and the $300 wardrobe.  Aside from those colossally effective tips I have some more for those still on the auction block.

Often you can learn even more from failure than success.  By now we should have volumes of useful knowledge.  Unfortunately we are left a pile of failures, but we like to think of some of these as sort of successful.

The first of these tips is more for camp counselors.  I was at a week long camp in the Catskill Mountains.  This was a co-ed camp for budding young adults between the ages of 13-15. They could have called it “Caligula Camp” given barely supervised new teens about to burst with seminal fluids. The best example is a game I call “Blind Grope”.

They took us all into a large, flat, open grass field. The camp counsellors stood at the borders to keep us corralled in the field. They blindfolded all of us and set us out. The object was to find the murderer before everyone was dead. A few people were murderers and a few more police, and the rest where bystanders. When you touched a person you both paused a moment. Bystanders say nothing. If someone whispers “murder” then you scream “MURDER” (causing the other bind players fleeing the area – only walking, no running). The police whispered police and if you were a murderer you where then caught.

The real “objective” was simple. Grab some boob. As you would expect, and as I confirmed when I was finally “murdered”, hence leaving the field of play and removing my blindfold with the other victims, was the boys expended one are out to encounter boobage, and the other arm jealously guarded the package. The boys moved about quickly to cover as much area as possible, obviously spending more time if they ran into a girl. The girls were well informed to take small, quiet steps and used both arms to fully protect their upper assets.

When you were “out” and got to watch the field of play it was very entertaining. The climax of the game was one girl who took the offensive. She had either played this game before, or was well aware of the perverted minds of young boys. Instead of guarding herself, she moved with brisk steps of force with her arms pistoning forward in a downward angle. This action felled more than a few boys. She seems to have a sense for boys approaching as she never caused damage to another female. I expect she is a CEO somewhere today.

The next tale of courtship also took place in a camping situation. This time there where only a few of us, and we took a canoeing trip for a week in Canada. We spent most of the week on a peninsula on one side of a lake. The lake was bordered by mostly permanent residents, but a few homes rented out for the summer. The one directly across form out camp site was rented to two older women who we watched for two days as they utterly failed to use a canoe. They were drunk every time we saw them. While some people drunk dial and others wander the Tops isle, still other try to get into a canoe. They continuously fell into the water and screamed at each other.

After two days they managed to get into the canoe, but also padding in the same direction, thus managing to propel themselves across the lake and towards us. As they approached all staring in order to get a closer view at what a train-wreck looks like close up. Suddenly they came into focus. Our eyes were torn asunder by the vision of two nasty old drunks that were topless this entire time. As we averted out eyes to avoid permanent blindness, we heard the cry of the Northern Light Hag, “Get a good look perverts!”

I cannot leave this particular story with such a crime against nature. During the canoeing to the peninsula we portaged (that means carry your fucking canoe over land) across an all girls camp. Enjoying the brief time, but soon forgetting about it we were surprised a few days later, to see some of the females from this camp canoeing towards us. They setup camp no more than 20 yards away. Their 19-ish women counselor was as lacks as our 19-ish male counsellor.

I should mention that there is normally a qualified staff member with these canoeing expeditions, but they ran out of staff and since our guide lived in the area, was 19, and had been on the trip a few times they deputized him. He lead us away from the normal paths, and into a den of disgust (the old women above) and love (see below).

The female campers were no match for the combination of Canadian wildlife, a sparking lake, and dirty boys catching frogs. Through some Druidic magic the even closed as were paired up around a roaring fire. Each couple encased in their own blanket. Being a gentleman I shant disclose what may or may not have occurred that night under the stars.

Now we will leave the romantic camping settings and escape to a simple phrase handed down from a guru of lotharioism. The proper procedure, according to this casanova is to whisper gently into a woman’s ear, “I want to eat you into utter submission.” Like an angry Republican from Texas the shock and awe of this statement will roll over her with such speed as to leave her defenses shattered. I cannot give any further details, but I will back up the perhaps surprising performance of this quip with a statistic. Two out of three times this has been employed it has bet with success.

The occasionally mentioned, but universally loved Rob gives us our next parable of love. Rob had been in a prolonged dry spell when New Year’s Eve rolled around. Many of the usual crew were gathered at our beloved Anacone’s. After the compulsory toast at the stroke of midnight we actually engaged in a round of declaring resolutions. When it came upon Rob to make his decree he raise his glass and gleefully yelled out, “I declare this The Year of Rob!” He consummated the proclamation by grabbing the mammary gland of the woman next to him. Again we witnessed shock and awe. It was a good thing the woman was a friend of ours. As this was out of character, and he had imbibed several quotas of intoxicants there was no rebut. Over the next year Rob made good. He found a new girlfriend that lasted several years.

The New Year’s following the successful year of Rob leads us into our final tale of seduction. I made a similar decree as to being “The Year of Aaron.” holding more of a strict character than Rob I set forth a rule. “I will ask out at least one new woman a month.” In January I asked out Chris’s sister, but given he pervious exposure to my juvenile antics there was not surprise on either part to the answer. February I asked out some woman I can’t recall other than this we of a slightly more serious attempt that the paper-attempt of January. No dice. With March approaching I had used my two options for asking out a woman without any fear. Now I knew I had to actually encounter a real life situation.

In preparation I read “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” This seemed to be a useful skill to acquire, no matter what kind of “conquest” you were out for. The point from this well-known tome that stuck with me is the tactic of asking a person two questions they cannot say no to before getting to the real question on the third try. The idea is that they are in the habit of saying yes with the first two questions, so that when you get to the third they will reactively say yes.

I set my sights on a buxom woman who was playing volleyball in Delaware Park. This is when Chris and I had been playing weekly volleyball with the alternatives. I later learned they did not like this woman. During the game I managed to flirt successfully with her. Before I knew it the game was over and people began to leave. She was only an occasional player so I knew I had to make my move. I volunteered to stay and help take down the equipment. Chris and JP where present and both knew what I was up to. They left, hiding out in the nearby parking lot so as to be the first to find out what happened. I continued the flirting, ask me not what I did exactly as I was in a haze. As I walked with her to her car I entered stage one. Damn! I was still surrounded by a cloudy haze. I had asked question one, but I did not know what I said! I have blown it already!

I saw her mouth move, and hear a “Yes.” Somehow I had not shot my self in the foot. I had to expunge this cloud out of my hear and think clearly. Before I could clear my head entirely I found I was already half way through my second question! What the hell was I gonna do now? I had no choice but to complete my question. Now I was done for sure. I managed to clear my head, now awaiting a sure-fired denial to an unknown question.

Somehow my luck held as I was gifted with a miraculous second affirmative. Now I was where I wanted to be. I finally had a clear mind. I had put in the pre-work, and all I had to close the deal with deliver my closer. I took a breath and confidently fired my final salvo. “Do you eat?” Her response was a collage of confusion and smirk. “What?” was her reply. I then asked he out, to which she told me she was engaged. I was still elated as I had executed my plan and it did not end in catastrophe. We parted and i started the trek towards the parking lot to make my after action report. As I strutted away, proud in my own accomplishment, I heard her yell. “Hey!” I looked back, her voluminous upper half protruding from her car door. “Nice line.”

And with an Aesoply ending I leave you with this. Into every life a little love must stumble, even if by remarkable luck, but place your bet upon a tactic of shock and awe.

Jolly Old Joe’s

           While much has been written about the college days and after, given that they were significantly more interesting than high school which lacked the dramatic punch of say a Bayside or West Beverly, it is worth mentioning some of the Joe’s stories which have been alluded to here and there. My thought is publish them quickly and let Louis rail and denounce, making empty threats of furnishing the “real” story. Most of these, however, are extremely innocuous and pose little threat to reputations, though perhaps I will be proven wrong by some poor tool whose employer makes decisions based on a blogged account of events 20 years prior writes to fuss.

            Though I already told the tale of how a grand number of people mentioned herein met up, I’d like to revisit freshman year and how I met Louis, the catalyst for this group forming in the first place. Come to think of it, chances are it would have anyway but just without me in it which we all can assume would have been a dreary affair indeed. Both shoved into the honors program due to being scholarship recipients, we had most classes the same that year and happened to sit next to each other in Music Appreciation and established a consensus between us, and with Jim Matuzak next to Louis, that the class did indeed truly suck as a complete waste of time. We also began talking during the long trudges back and forth between the freshman building and the main campus.

            Our inaugural year was the last in which the Freshman Building (the basement of the church across the street) was utilized. The building held our homerooms as well as a few different classes, but the good Brothers arranged it so that it would be necessary to send us out into the cold, rain, and all manner of foul weather to get to gym, lunch, and of course music appreciation. As Louis was really the first person I talked to that year, I took to making the voyage while talking to him; a risky endeavor at best as it often seemed likely that we would be tardy. Louis was in the habit of lugging around a bag intended for hockey equipment in which he had stashed the books and material for every class. I never understood if it was an anathema to utilizing the lockers or he just preferred to be a heavy traveler. I also need to mention that he was only 12 at the time and had not hit any type of growth spurt, possibly a byproduct of his heinous diet, so going was slow as he struggled under the impressive weight.

            He did most of the talking, in these trips and at lunch when I was treated to the sight of him dinning exclusively on products made by Hostess, Hershey, and the powerful Mountain Dew conglomerate. My apologies; he also participated on pizza Wednesdays electing to grab a slice of La Hacienda, extra greasy with a tongue drying layer of flour underneath. His grand scheme was to launch a war games club apart from the war games club that already existed and roped me into talking to Mr Scott for permission to start it. I liked the idea of having my name associated with starting something and having to do relatively little work on behalf of it, so I went along willingly enough. You all know how the rest of losers were drawn in like moths by the most brilliant beacon of geekishness this side of Trekkies. This reminds me of one of Louis’s best quotes of the year, uttered in Br John’s religion class, “I’ve been called a nerd so many times I’m beginning to get a superiority complex.”

            One of the more notable things worth mentioning was Knaus’s ability to crack the combination of anyone’s locker within 15 minutes using a simple algorithm and taking advantage of the degree of ‘swing’ for any of the combination numbers. Although he didn’t have the propensity to steal, he did enjoy the power of being able to get into anywhere he pleased. Occasionally he would leave little indicators that he was there. Although many suspected he had this talent, he refused to confirm it. I was fortunate enough to catch him in the act once and thus became a co conspirator as the alternative was that he would direct his attentions toward my stuff. I once convinced him to play a prank on Sean O’Donnell by completely emptying his locker contents into Luke Pryzbla’s along with a note announcing his wishes to cohabitate cozily. As expected, much of his stuff was scattered and destroyed, Luke having little patience for our little games.

            The most memorable occurrence was when he began screwing with Mike Ende by breaking into his locker several times a day and rearranging things. He sidled up to me one day in the commons and announced his suspicions in a hushed voice. He had a plan though, and quite a reaching one at that given the frivolous nature of the intrusion. Mike elected not to take Doc Breem’s physics class but instead opted to take the electronics course instead; St Joe’s version of ‘shop’. As they had to design a simple project as part of the class, Mike used it as an opportunity to design a locker alarm that would emanate an annoying beeping sound when triggered. Although I was already in cahoots with Knaus as the time, I decided to play mum enjoying the idea of him being caught in his fledgling endeavors as a second story man. Mike finished his project, tested it, and set it up one day staying late after school.

            There are a few reasons why things went wrong. The first mistake was that he thought he could outwit Knaus at his own game, though in his defense none of us understood the extent of his manic tendencies. As predicted, Knaus broke into his locker the next morning, but immediately detected the presence of the trap, disabled it, then re-enabled it so that simply banging on the door would set it off for a several minute period. He did his usual rearrangement, shut the door, banged it with is fist a la Fonz, and stalked off.

The second mistake was the Mike picked a day when he would not be coming in until lunch time due to a doctor’s appointment. The third was that his locker was in fairly close proximity to the faculty lounge. Word spread quickly that a quick pass and bang of Mike’s locker would set the thing off to the growing irritation of both the lounge and the classroom beside the offending space. By the time Mike came in, a faculty posse had formed ready to lynch him then and there. Fortunately his father, a history teacher there and possessor of the worst comb over in history of bald denial, was able to have his life spared. In the end, he was still never able to prove it was Paul, who continued his daily harassment until graduation.

Knaus did, however, decide to punish me for not warning him of Ende’s alarm as he was correctly convinced that I knew about it and enjoyed the idea of him being caught. In his usual style he bided his time until I was no longer expecting it. A bunch of us were hanging out after school for a reason I can’t recall and remember O’Donnell and possibly Louis being present. In any case, at some point my bag disappeared causing me some amount of consternation since my assignments were within it, including a famously long Doc Breem lab report. No one would own up to having hidden it and I had to leave that day without it, and under the impression that it had been locked in the library behind a book shelf. O’Donnell pointed the finger at Knaus and Knaus at O’Donnell.

That night I spent more than a great deal of time talking to each of them on the phone trying to get some notion of the truth. By the end of the evening, Knaus in his crafty way had me utterly convinced that not only did Sean maliciously screw me, but that if I didn’t manage to grab my bag at the moment the library opened, it would likely be discovered and stolen or disposed of. I was enraged and spent my last call of the night hurling threats and slander against an obstinate O’Donnell. I spent the remainder of the night trying to recreate the lab so I would have something just in case, not getting to bed until 2:00 AM, with my alarm set for 4:00 AM. I wanted to get to school by 5:30 AM you see, which is when Knaus told me the library opened up. Bleary eyed and miserable, I made it there, only to sit waiting until 7:30 when it actually opened. I rushed in, pushing the librarian aside and combed the aisles. It wasn’t there! I demanded she tell me where it could have gone, and mid-frantic appeal I suddenly caught site of Knaus’s smirk though the window. He was holding my bag up like the prize marlin, having stashed it in his car the evening before.

Since I had to go and mention Doc Breem, and enough people have asked, I’ll go ahead and devote a little time to this character whose over the top style landed him a place amongst the most memorable of our instructors. Aaron is anxious to hear about the English long bow, and I have to admit, he told a memorable story about it. Doc in his fairly high pitched voice began the story with the adaptation of the longbow by the Welsh under Prince Llewellyn and how well they used it to give King Edward Long Shanks (yes, the same one from Braveheart) a really hard time until Ed managed to starve them out and adopt the weapon himself, much to the dismay and defeat of Mel Gibson; though Doc neglected to mention that part. He went on to brag as if he had been there, of the great battle at Crecy during the 100 Year War in which the English longbow proved to be a far more powerful weapon than the soon to be outdated crossbow. In this case Edward III and his son known as Edward the Black Prince for some reason, laid a clever little trap, setting up a small force of archers on high ground above a whole lot of muck. The French force, outnumbering them 3 or 4 to one, managed to wipe out perhaps as many as 10,000 men while only losing a few hundred by firing a seemingly endless volley of arrows through the Frenchies old timey plate armor.

Doc truly enjoyed his tales of mayhem and often made such claims as having seen such things as a man nailed to a tree with shrapnel from 40 yards away, although he refused to explain the circumstances in which his was treated to such a site. While he never directly claimed he was at Crecy himself, he offered no indication that he was not either. His experiences taken together indicated a man with a richness of experience far beyond his years. It also occurred to some of us that when he told of his bad old Brooklyn knife fighting days, the impetus of the story may have been that he caught ‘West Side Story’ on the tube the night before.

In addition to his personal experiences, he also had a great deal of knowledge concerning assassinations (presumably by the Russians) of leading scientists working on secret government projects. I believe it is possible his tales served as the inspiration for the conspiracy nut legend that the oil companies killed the man who developed a car that ran on water. He went so far as to offer sanctuary, no questions asked, if assassins ever came after any of us as he had been in that situation and knew what to do. Still to do this day I occasionally get the urge to don a battered trench coat and show up at Doc’s door some windy rainy night clutching a folder full of papers and sporting a haunted look. I don’t know if what stops me is the idea that I would give the old man a heart attack at having his bluff called, or that he would whip out a 9 mm and start firing into the night. Either way not much good could come of it.

I will round this hodge podge of memories out by coming back to Louis; a tribute to the most impressive prom date story as modesty seems to be preventing him from telling it, and because I suppose I owe after pulling the gruff on the bespectacled old goat so many times before herein this blog. It all started between our Junior and Senior year when Louis and I both signed up to take a summer AP English course at Canisius with Prof Butler. Once we both realized we were both in, we made arrangements to have his mom drop him off at my house and I’d drive him too and from school every day. I was never quite sure why either his mom couldn’t drive him all the way there, or why I didn’t just pick him up if that was a problem. In any case, such were the arrangements.

The class itself was fairly small; apparently not a whole lot of kids entering their senior year were all that jazzed to learn about the western in disguise in a stifling classroom during the best part of the year. Most were geeks like us with one notable exception: Miss Kara McKunn. She sat in the front row, was bright and engaging with golden curls and frame most appealing to the adolescent eye. It was clear that every male in the class was focused more on her than old Butler, and he too I believe than on the rest of us. Her presence was bewildering; a geek in disguise? In case she was not, I believe no male attempted to engage her fearing the simultaneous whammy of scorned laughter and spontaneous erection. No thank you! The summer ended with nary a word between her and me or her and Louis.

We rocketed though senior year at a stunning pace and inevitably prom season came around. My previous girlfriend and I broke up right before the junior prom, making it an unpleasant experience since she insisted on coming anyway having bought the dress, and my attempts to replace her had fallen short; one of the trials of being at an all boys school. Many were in the same pickle and began creative ways of searching out dates before the magic of the internet. I managed to hook up with Jody Schulebein, a friend of Ende’s girlfriend. Knaus, considered to be one of the least likely to score a date was hooked up with my cousin Ann.

Louis, two years our junior, president of the war-game geeks, 1590 SAT scorer egghead, was predicted to remain home that night. One evening he called me up and asked me if I remembered what part of town Kara from Butler’s class lived in as he couldn’t find her in the phone book. I knew then what he intended and told him it was madness. Undaunted, he asked again to receive a sterner warning. Still obstinate, I capitulated on the third request and revealed it to be Grand Island. Ah ha! The Niagara county phone book was needed! He set forth for the library on his bike for it was well before the internet and gathering information verily was still a sucky process.

Despite my admonitions, he called later that day to announce that he had indeed cold called her. She as expected remembered him not, but to my amazement had agreed to go to the prom with him anyway. There were some, I imagine who expected Louis to show up with his sister or cousin that night and may have had a bucket of pigs blood nestled up in the rafters. Doubt was silenced as he strode though the door with the lithe beauty on his arm, the crash of brass monuments thundering each time he took a step, looking smugly confident amongst the predators for the first time in memory. Lucas had scored his touchdown.

The prom was a fun night and memorable, and if I can get my scanner working again, or get around to buying a new one, I’ll post the pictures that you all know the truth of the power of the coup he pulled off. As it so happened, she ended up attending UB and was in a number of my classes where she was universally hated by all the rest of the women present. Later on JP started a rumor that she became a full fledged member of the LGBA, but was never able to back it up with corroborating evidence. Even if so, it would only add glory and mystique to the legend of Louis’s prom.

Wolf and I

Now that we have 100 stories out there, our readers will have a pretty good picture of the setting of Comstock. It is time we delve a little deeper into one of the key relationships around Comstock, not to mention I am saddened that my name has not been more prominent in the recent posts.

As is obvious by the title, this post centers around the evolving relation between Wolf and myself, one of the lynch pins of the whole Comstock experience. I am going to take you through the story of our relation (God! Have I said “relationship” enough already! As Mooney would say, “We are not Gay!” :)) from start to finish.

The first time I met Wolf was when I visited St. Joe’s to join Louis in the “War Gamer’s Society”, a society not a club – club’s do insufficient damage. Unbeknownst to me I would here meet a number of future hooligan associates include, Wolf, Knaus, Schultz, Burns, and JP. I am not good with names-to-faces; it takes me a few meetings to match them up, so much to their future anger I thought Mooney, Wolf, and some guy named “Booger” were the same person. In my defense, on each of my visits only one of this trio would appear each time. There is nothing else memorable about this first meeting with Wolf, mostly due to not knowing who he really was, and since I had just been introduced to so many of Louis’s school comrades I selectively choose to ignore some. As there was nothing particular of note with Wolf I found no problem in placing him on the “ignore” list.

The next era was when I sophomore year when I moved into Goodyear. These dorms were setup to have two doubles with a shared bathroom. Wolf/Knaus in the nicer (carpeted, TV) room and JP/myself in the other. This is where my relationship with Wolf really began and grew with many stories that have already been described. Perhaps the most ritual interaction, besides the Thursday night drive with Knaus to stock up on GAB, was Saturday mornings. Wolf worked at Collector’s Inn, while I did nothing. He would arise early and want to bum use of my SUNY Cash Card to get cheese covered=waffle fries from the glorious Spot in the basement of Goodyear. I can’t say as I blame him as this was food for a god. Many visitors came just for this delicate masterpiece. The Saturday conversation unfolded like this:

“Hey?”
(in a Knaus like funk, as I was sleeping) “What!”
“You going to Spot?”
*loud sigh* “Yeah”

I would inevitably arise and would quickly turn gleeful as we approached the beloved waffle fries. To his credit, Wolf knew this would be the case, hence his lack of restraint when awaking me, though he always did it from the other side of a closed door.

Our third act of the Wolf/Thies combo was Comstock. Here there is not much to say as most of this blog is centered around the many hijinks this commode-like habitat festered.

Our relationship blossomed mostly around the common enemy of Thirty Puddles (named so for his bed wetting, not his spilling of drinks). It was during this era I enjoyed

letting the cat horde assault Wolf’s beloved xmas tree, and learned of his Bills outlook. He was not interested in football, except Miami, except the Bills games. If the Bills won it was the greatest game ever, and if they lost, it was the worst game ever. Consequently each week born a new watershed. After two years of success, it was only logical to continue our roommate-ship. Which leads up to Princeton.

The first year was good, some of the stories have been told, but as the second year grew on our activities together grew to a minimum, other than whatever we could do to aggravate the other guy into going to bed so we could watch the TV. Wolf sat in the dark to “create a movie theater” atmosphere, and used his infernal breadmaker, whose crumb avalanche lead to the cockroach squashing incident foretold. I’m sure more tales can be posted about this time that I care to recant presently.

Our final act as roommates was to divide up “the tapes”. Since the time we entered Princeton we advanced our technology to include a VCR. We frantically began to record episode after episode of “Seinfeld” and “The Simpsons”. We had 10-12 volumes of each. Not only was the content of the volumes timeless hilarity, but the increasingly poor quality was a reminder of simpler times that were starting to erode away. Many nights have one or both of us fell asleep on the couch (often in a drunken stupor) with one of these modern art-worthy recordings playing all night – continuing to erode the tape without anyone to enjoy the antics archived upon.

We are now in the final chapter of the Wolf/Thies saga. After Wolf had entered the Air Force. It was only after we had stepped away from each other for some time, and had to deal with “real” jobs on our own that we both admitted that we had enjoyed that last year as roommates, instead of trying to annoy the other. Wolf offered up a final Comstock-ish proposal. Upon leaving the Air Force we began playing basketball with Chris, Chet, and myself on a weekly basis. He proclaimed his embarkment on a new journey, each step to be progressed to after the successful completion of the previous step.

1. stop drinking (achieved for a time with non-alcoholic beer)
2. lose weight (basketball helped a little, with #1 helping a lot)
3. stop smoking (he cut back for a period, but never quite got here)
4. regrow hair (untouched)

In summary, Wolf and I shared much laughter over the years, and provided the other with a minimal amount of aggravation. Even at the end of Princeton we were polite agitators.

From Booger to good friend Wolf served a purpose. Wouldn’t you like to have a Wolf too?

Passing Time

       While there are many stories of the more glorious events that we hold forth as both great and stupid accomplishments, few exist of the lesser things we did to pass the time day to day. I’m sure with that line alone you are now at the edge of your seat, ears cocked and filled with giddy excitement at the prospect of hearing tales of the dreary minutia of some assholes in a house. Not everyday, however, could be filled with toilet paticulae flying though the air, drunken revelry, or even square head young men being trapped on a roof. To anyone not involved, reading this entry may prove less exciting than cleaning the oven or listening to the full blown 20 minute story of the time Aaron couldn’t find his left shoe, but for those of you who around, it’s a nice trip down memory lane.            

       Much has already been said about the gaming, most of it disparaging if not outright mocking on my part. I make no apology except to refrain from the cattiness in this story; primarily as I am directly involved. Gaming played a huge role in the entertainment life of the majority of this group, a thing not surprising giving the near universal lack of success with the coeds, being vehicularly challenged except for visitors and Knaus, and a frightening lack of cable TV outside the cesspit of Jason’s room. In such circumstances a young man’s fancy turns to magic wands and Oompa Loompas. OK, I said I wouldn’t do that, but let’s face it, I’m a liar. Despite the disdain I obviously felt for the genre, I found myself being sucked in from time to time for lack of anything better to do. The alternative was often to hear Knaus explain in grayscale detail the infinite intricacies of Timeslip; a game he had either invented or was in the protracted process of inventing. Only JP had the patience to question the phone book of rules.           

       In those times I did join in, it was often necessary to create a character whom to play. The basic strategy (for those of you reading this who actually dated in high school) was to invent a character with the right mix of skills and talents to survive the adventure, have some fun, and become a better, stronger, richer imaginary character. I diverged from this strategy early on, choosing instead to make my goal be the irritation and eventual destruction of the characters the other players so lovingly invested in. I made them as strong as possible and as clued in as Helen Keller five years before that buttinsky ‘miracle worker’. While convention dictated the naming process follow something appropriately geeky and Harry Potterish like “Volmor” and “Trogon”, I generally gravitated toward the more familiar, like “Filthy Pierre” and “Aquaman”. The sadistic fucks who designed the character sheet included a box where one was meant to drawn in their character. I drew a neck and a large block of granite. What, was I to be some art school wannbe drawing ‘Tippy’ the turtle in the back of a magazine and sending it in? I spit on the intention.            

       Every character was meant to have a purpose, a raison d’être if you will, that drove him, her, or it forward. This was to explain why Fuqnut the Orc bounced around through dangerous territory with a suspect band of brigands, fighting dragons, wizards and Maurice Sendak’s Wild Things instead of staying home and watching  ‘Greatest American Hero’ on DVD. My purpose, boldly worn on my sleeve, was to get the rest of the group killed, or to kill them myself if the opportunity arose. This did nothing to increase my popularity at gaming sessions and it’s a wonder why I was not banned all together as occasionally I was successful. Aquaman was the last character I created, and he met his end at the hand of another character I attempted to stab in the back or push down a well. After that I lacked the initiative to think of another cleverly unoriginal name and draw another block for a portrait.            

       I mentioned Timeslip in passing and must take a moment and give it its due. Although it is not often brought up, but Knaus was a consummate gamer geek as well.  Like Aaron and some others, he got his parents to wisely invest a cool grand in the dynamic money machine that is Larry. I won’t say they were foolish as Larry is one hell of a pitch man, but the end result was along the lines of Enron, albeit on a much smaller scale. Inspired by the anticipated earth shattering success of Battlelords, Knaus decided to grab a piece of the action and come up with his own gaming module. I will say he worked diligently and tirelessly on the endeavor. The result was the most unimaginably complicated system, to my knowledge, ever conceived. I know it was science-fictiony with fantasy elements thrown in as well, and of course time travel and the literally thousands of rules associated with that. I’m not saying it wasn’t clever; hell it allowed for you going back in time and killing yourself as an infant, but the level of complexity made it all but unintelligible; I think anyway. Knaus took great delight in explaining in excruciating detail each and every subtle aspect of the game, the rules, the universe or multiverse it took place in, etc. JP is the only one who took to it to the point of being able to create an effective character and really get anything to happen those few times we played. Much I’m sure to the author’s dismay; it was never published or made its way outside the dining room at Comstock.           

       Before you get the wrong impression, we didn’t necessarily limit ourselves to D&D type play. I’m going to credit Louis with the invention of Calvinball, although he might have nicked it off someone else. Calvinball was named for a ridiculous game invented by comic strip character Calvin in the long defunct ‘Calvin and Hobbes’. Calvin, an imaginative miscreant, invents a game that he plays with his stuffed tiger that is either animated or a product of psychosis. I favor the latter as the game he invents is one of fluid rules that change randomly and nonsensically with a meaningless score and penalty system. We of course loved the idea and Louis thought of a way to apply it to a card game which we also loved. I believe the game starts out as something ordinary but with the person winning the hand being able to add or remove a new rule. While some of the rules were quite witty, the majority were enacted for the purposes of name calling or otherwise inconveniencing someone who made a rule aimed at you for that same purpose. By the end of a round, we all sported titles such as “10th Level Master Shrimper”. It was great fun and I’m not sure whatever happened to it.           

       We did occasionally engage in more physical activities, but it was a rare thing indeed. Shortly after moving in, some of us did get into basketball for a time being, usually spurned on by Dave. Dave’s love of the game bordered on fanatical, and I was easily sucked into the madness. On one occasion in January, we were so jonesing for a game that we actually shoveled off the court behind Lindbergh School. When done we were so tired that we only managed to play a few minutes before calling it a day. Dave later parlayed his organizations skills toward arranging the First Invitational Mac Tournament. This was held on the same day after my father’s annual football party and was scheduled for late afternoon on a warm October day. He managed to bring in quite a few people, including Aaron, Matt, Chris Keith, Knaus (who watched but would not play), Jeff Siuda, Little Dave, Dan Earhart and some of the punk ass kids who hung out at his gas station. It was a gala event with a cheesy trophy promised (and never delivered) and everything. I remember this so well as by some miracle the final game to take it all was me against Schultz. I took the prize that day, much to the consternation of Dave who had been under the impression that as the organizer would be the obvious winner. The first Mac invitational proved to be the last.           

       Less stimulating by several orders of magnitude, yet still worth mentioning is solitaire. That you are seeing this in print is testament to the raw excitement of our daily lives. Nevertheless, an odd phenomenon occurred our second winter at Comstock right around finals time. It seemed as though the four of us simultaneously became obsessed with playing solitaire at every opportunity during study breaks. We would discuss methodology, our win records, and the types of cards we liked, but mainly kept silent, dealing, sorting, arranging and cursing. I would come out of my room to see Knaus shuffling at his desk, then descend to find Aaron crouched over the coffee table counting fast, then spy Jason at the dining room table bending down to pick up the deck he dropped again in the shuffle. Through that finals period we must have each played hundreds of hands. Then suddenly, before the year was even out, we all just stopped. It was a very weird thing.           

       One of the more explosive activities engaged in and not otherwise mentioned elsewhere was the creation of the dry ice bombs. The physics of it was elementary. If one stuffs shavings of dry ice in a fixed sized container, seals it, and then dumps it into a vat of warm water, the rate of expansion becomes so rapid as to explode the container all together. Unfortunately, I was not so blessed to be present at this undertaking, though I wish I had been. I did get to watch the videos which proved to be not much of a consolation prize as one would think.           

       Fairly low on the priority list of things to do were home improvements. Well, it wasn’t our house and we’d be damned before we let old man Kobol reap the benefits of our hard labor. We did like to decorate though, and the living room bore the results of our finest efforts. First up was the beeraymid, lovingly constructed from a collection of Schlitz and American Beer cans. A full 11 stories high, it lasted far longer than anyone expected, quite possibly because it was glued somewhat together by sticky old beer. Sean was directly responsible for its demise, although I can’t remember if he crashed into it himself, or pushed the person who did. We were never again able to reconstruct it to the full glory of 11 levels, save for a few moments or days at a time. I wish I could say that was the most whiskey-tango redneck piece of décor we introduced, but alas, it never came close and actually was considered our classiest display.           

       The first October we moved in I took great delight in decorating the place for Halloween. Lots of fake cobwebs, a ceramic skull, fake spiders, and some cheesy old shit I got from my mom, like a Day-Glo witch and such. None of this, of course, came down until we were moving out. When Christmas time came the day after Thanksgiving (not the day after Halloween as it does now), I added to the Halloween décor by introducing a fake tree, wreath, a bazillion lights both downstairs and up, and of course fake snow that people immediately began writing profanities in to the point where the landlord demanded I remove it that next July. Rounding things out were the stolen No Standing sign, the spare tire I stole from that guy who was in the middle of changing it (I still kind of feel bad about that), a orange road cone, the body painting from Mints, the house comics, the paper reading ‘Matter Eater Lad Darryl Talley and Green Arrow Mark Pike’, the jar of Evil, the Man With the Golden Hat (who I claimed as my grandfather), and of course the Ugly Lamp. Paradise, I would think as I sipped a frosty brew hoisted with Daisy Duke Girl can holder Knaus got me. By and by though, we abided.             

Yes, I Said We Blew Up The Toilet

Herein lies a tale that has been told to death, with sound and fury, with not but a little embellishment. It behooves me, however, to record it in text form, in all its shining porcelain glory, for the ages or at least until the WordPress server crashes and we lose all this crap. As I enjoy showing my lack of wit though lack of brevity, I will start the story well before the legendary events were even a flicker in the cold black heart of Knaus.

The prime benefit to moving up from Schoellkopf to our new digs at Goodyear was the presence of a bathroom directly accessible from inside the room. This, by the way, could also be seen as a detriment as it connected us to our counterparts in the adjacent suite who enjoyed breaking in to watch TV, steal food and beer, or make out with their gay boyfriends on my bed. In all due fairness, I used the easy access myself to also steal beer and superglue pennies to JPs table. Nevertheless, it was boon more than a curse the majority of the time. While the suites themselves were the stars of many a fine shenanigan that epic year, the bathroom had its own moments to be remembered.

The first memorable item worth recalling was the time Knaus, apparently bored of the program we were watching (likely Bladerunner for the 324th time), got up and disappeared into the bathroom. While in there for a good 45 minutes we could hear some amount of straining and grunting and no doubt assumed it was the product of an enormous portion of rice and cheese avoiding expulsion. Perhaps as well he finally got around to tackling the blocked sink that housed burnt up papers and such? We lacked the courage to ask. Sometime later he emerged, a cold sweat upon his face, and plopped down on the bed. Although I had to pee something fierce, no force on heaven and earth could get me in there until some time had passed. A little while later Aaron looked over a Paul, intently watching Rutger Hauer doing his shtick. “Paul! When did you get an earring?” Knaus shot back an annoyed look. “What do you think I was doing in the bathroom all that time?”

The penultimate memoir occurred sometime later, in the last throws of winter. It began as a usual dust up for some slight, real or imagined, and an excuse to take up arms. I can’t recall how it happened, but somehow Aaron got locked in the bathroom between the two rooms and somehow finally convinced JP to set him free. Knaus, tired of the game, decided to lock them both out of our room. In protest, JP unraveled a coat hanger and jabbed it wildly underneath the bathroom door into our room. This ineffective ploy could have been easily thwarted by simply ignoring it, but Knaus, deeply offended by the incursion of the bit of wire into our room, made a grab for it. JP thrust at just the wrong time, and Knaus recoiled. There was blood on his hand and murder in his eye.

In a silent rage, he pushed past me and grabbed a coffee can with still a quarter inch of grounds on the bottom. To this, he added generous portions each of his myriad hair care products, spray deodorant; toothpaste, shaving cream, and the crème de la crème, a large yellow loogie, the kind only a heavy smoker can produce. I knew his intention, and may I be forever damned for it, kept silent and was glad he wasn’t pissed at me this time. Charging over, he flung open the bathroom door. By some degree of intuition, Aaron and JP decided to retreat from their position mere seconds from that moment and we only saw the door closing and clicking locked. Knaus never bothered to knock, but handed me the can.

He went to work on the lock itself, attempting to coax it open with a credit card, and failing. I believe JP or Aaron must have been holding the button down as this was the only time I ever saw Knaus defeated by such a simple device. He darted back in to the room and returned with a hammer and chisel. My God, I thought, he’s going to chisel his way though the wood! No, he went to work on the hinges, methodically banging away, removing the first and second pin with ridiculous ease. On the third pin he turned to me. “When the door comes down, you throw” While I have always held that those who offer the defense that they were only following orders failed the test of courage, at that moment I understood them. The door came down and I sprang though. I turned to my right, and there was Aaron, eyes wide with alarm. I turned to my left to JPs combative leer and let loose the cannon of slop with all my might. He cried out in rage, but I was already back though the door and into safety. I went to high five Knaus on a mission well executed, but his anger had not yet extinguished. He brushed by me in his dark long coat and was out the door to be seen no more that night.

Eventually thing settled down and we rolled into a spring full of plenty of fine adventures that will be recounted another time. By some miracle we survived the experience and were preparing for finals one gorgeous morning in early May. I had a Genetics final that afternoon and had grown tired of studying and was seeking other forms of entertainment. JP was in a similar mood and we decided to harangue Knaus into doing something cool to photograph. Several weeks prior, he got some spectacular shots of Dave igniting steams of spayed Thrust™ in the bathroom. We felt this could be topped with a vengeance. I don’t know who first ventured the idea, but it was spoken. “Wouldn’t it be cool to get pictures of the toilet on fire?” An idea such planted, no matter of what dubious artistic merit, begged to be grown into fruition.

Knaus prepped his camera, an archaically complex device requiring much attention, while JP and I sought flammable substances that would float on the waters’ surface. We settled on the many bottles of rubbing alcohol purchased to remove the graffiti war between Aaron and JP, as well as the famous container of charcoal starter pilfered and imbibed by Knaus earlier that year. Aaron, content to lay on his bed and chat on the phone, declined to participate in the grand experiment. Book of matches in hand, JP did the honors. The first few flicked into the bowl did no good, but eventually one took and we had a beautiful blue flame licking up from the bowl. In the dark the scene was ethereal; it was as if the ghost of Arthur Goodyear himself was taking an ectoplasmic dump in our very own commode. Knaus furiously snapped pictures before the flame extinguished itself. No worry there, for moments later the charcoal starter, finally warmed by the burning alcohol, ignited.

Where the alcohol burned in a pale, smokeless way, the starter burned in bright orange and emitted a thick pungent black smoke that immediately filled the bathroom and bedrooms, setting off the smoke detector as rapidly as had ever been done. Panicked, we looked to each other and saw only the same clueless look reflected back. In a moment of clarity, I pulled the door to the toilet shut in hopes it would burn itself out. Mere seconds after doing so, however, we heard a large splintering crack, like the bow of the Titanic kissing the iceberg unleashing a wave of destruction. In this case the wave was fire, floating on the surface of a gush of water that came shooting out from under the door, setting alight the door itself, the vanity cabinet, my room door, and the hair on JPs yet unshorn legs. The smoke by then had hit the hallway, rapidly making its way down the corridor, heedless of the shrieking alarms being set off in its wake.

I turned to Knaus and found that he as well had taken to the hallway, somewhat slower than the smoke, sauntering casually toward the dayroom. JP, in the mean time, turned on the sink and was splashing water out, serving the flaming chemicals well in their quest to further expand their domain. A few minutes later Knaus came walking back, this time with a fire extinguisher in hand. He had walked you see, to avoid causing any further panic that the smoke and alarms may have ignited, and perhaps to allow enough time to read the instructions as well. Pulling the pin, he unleashed a volley of the dry white stuff, putting out our quickly charring woodwork. Thrusting open the toilet door, he fired first before looking, and when the smoke finally cleared, there in dozens of shards both large and small, lay the remains of our dear dead porcelain god.toilet1

By now Aaron had decided that the commotion was due cause to put to an end his idle chit chat and joined us as we gazed agape at the carnage before us. My mind furiously went to work. With some glue, some newspaper and some white paint, we could construct a reasonable facsimile from the broken shards. True, it would not be usable, but it would be enough to pass inspection. My dreams were dashed as Knaus sighed and announced his intention on calling the campus security. “Yes, my name is Paul Knaus and I need to report a fire. … 709 East Goodyear…. No, it’s out now, but… No, it’s worse than you think…. Because the toilet blew up… Yes, I said the toilet blew up… Really… OK, we’ll be here.” He then explained to us that they would be coming by to verify the claim and that we should stay put.

It occurred to us that the UB housing authority might not look favorably on the fact that we in fact, with purposeful and retarded intention, initiated the sequence of events and guided them to the point of no return. Whether one of us had heard the urban legend about the exploding toilet or not, we came up with a remarkably similar story (I verified that the legend existed prior to us and we can’t take credit for it’s spawning) wherein we were foolishly dumping chemicals in an effort to clean the room when JP came though and casually flipped a lit cigarette into the bowl. We went to far as to pick though the rubble, remove the matches and inset a soggy butt for veracity. Knaus, by the way, held firm to this version so tightly that even in our last meeting, over 10 years from this event, he steadfastly insists it is indeed the truth. Our toilet story agreed upon, I sat at my desk to study, ignoring the cloying smoke and piercing alarms, as I was in shock and my final was only 3 hours away.

The inability to breath finally drove us from the rooms and we sat, lined up in the hallway, like weary war veterans. The first to come by was our resident advisor, Jason. He was a perpetually happy individual, a proud member of the Campus Crusade for Christ, and laughed his ass off when he saw what we had done. Next came the cops in their serious starched uniforms. “Want to tell us what happened?” We did. They looked at us incredulously. I thought we were busted. “Why don’t you let us take a look.” as if we may have been mistaken and the toilet was pristine and whole. I expected the worst as they entered, but instead, they turned and looked at each other, then burst into laughter until the tears ran freely. “Man, no one is ever going to believe this! These guys actually blew up their toilet!” They took our official false statement and spared us lecture as payment for the story they now could come home with. Tony, the building super, also came by to laugh and verify beyond reasonable doubt, they we had firm plans for off campus housing the following year.

Our final visit was from a close approximation to Fire Marshall Bill, a Jim Carey character from the late great Living Color, once a proud member of the Sunday Night Lineup. Like his namesake, Bill took the situation just a little too seriously and castigated us for being such idiots in the first place, then not pulling the alarm for the whole building. Visitors thereafter trickled in and out to view the wreckage and laugh at our folly. It was a few days before the thing was replaced and in the mean time we had to use the public commode on the first floor, or pee in the sink, which I’m sure none of us ever did.

In the end, the adventure cost Knaus, JP and I a hundred buck each, added to our tuition, but the story itself, as many times as it was told into the ground, was worth ten times that much. I still often wonder if the residents of old 709 E Goodyear recognize that their toilet is just a little newer than the neighbors or the tale has disappeared in dorm legend along with the green bagel and pickles Dan’s mom made that I hid up in plumbing before leaving.

 

A Week of Popcorn

One week while still in Goodyear Hall on Main Street Campus i ran out of money in all ways. I was not going to get any more money until Friday, and it was Monday. There was only so much I could steal from the Wolf/Knaus fridge. JP never had anything but the chocolate pudding that was there since the beginning of the year. After drinking all the beer I had left in the fridge for my meals I was left with only popcorn and Velveeta cheese slices. I lived on popcorn created in my hot-air popper topped with the very poorly melted Velveeta cheese slices. Melting cheese in the top container of a hot-air popper, which is meant for butter, is a pitiful tool at best. Lesson learned: I was ecstatic to get some money on Friday to eat something that I stood dumb-founded with the possibilities. I finally settled on a big, juicy burger and some cheese covered waffle fries from the deli in the basement of the dorm. I was so tired of popcorn i have barely ever had it since.