For those of you that don't know, from the tender ages of 18-22 I attended the University of Maryland-College Park. To describe the town and college demographics would be to describe all of Maryland in a nutshell. For the most part, the town was lower-middle class, black families that worked at the school in whatever low-income jobs they had. Other than that, you had the lower-middle class white familes that's children thought they were black, or the parents were closet racists.
In the middle, was the lush, manicured lawns of University of Maryland where 8,000 upper-class white kids from Massachussetts - New Jersey would flock down for two semesters, while dropping 20 grand per year on education/boarding.
I was a in-state student, among 22,000 others that were either redneck, wigga, grunge, upper-class, African-American or just there cause they didn't know what else to do at that age. I'm part of that last group obviously...since I graduated with the mother of all non-useful degrees: English Literature.
...I still don't know proper punctuation, btw.
I also liked to live off-campus to take in the smells, lives of the College Park neighborhood. Such things I got to witness:
--middle school black kids selling crack consistently near the hippie co-op place. My housemates and I only noticed this when we saw them just chilling in a vacant parking lot at 1 AM during the week.
--A drunk as shit frat boy running down the street firing a gun into the air cause one of his friends just got his ass kicked. Nothing like watching white people get freaked out by guns firing.
Anyway, that's just some things I'm remembering in the span of this thirty-second offhand thought moment. Now to the list:10
-- My first night spent as a freshman consisted of me and 2 of my best friends from high school (we all decided to go to UMD) getting wasted on LSD and cheap beer. I remember jetting out of a frat party cause I was about to break out like Jim Morrisson and tell everyone they're fucking clowns, in doing so my friends followed me. It was at this moment the cheap beer hit and I noticed a very large structure in the secluded off white people area. I figured I might as well go for the holy trifecta and I just started taking a wizz on its front lawn.
Thereby, I broke the seal right near the doorstep of the town's church. I'm such a good Jew. In fact, I think I said that while pissing...9
-- Getting really drunk on my freshman dorm floor, which was the 8th floor (and top floor) of Ellicott Hall at the school. For those of you that have been there, this was the dorm directly facing Byrd Stadium. So yeah, one night we tossed the common room's refrigerator out the window. Our whole floor naturally was pissed at the 5 of us that were the perps...
...so naturally, the week we got a new fridge we got wasted and threw that out the window...along with a microwave, chairs and a couch.
Cops never showed up. I loved that year. It wasn't until I was a senior that they started cracking down. I blame all the NJ kids that loved to do cocaine.8
-- Junior Year - Playing Wiffle Ball in the street one night, I hit a liner down the third base line and broke a Honda Accord's window. That shit made me a legend for like a month. Nobody could believe it when it happened.7
-- I woke up in a drunken stupor at Ellicott Hall to hearing alot of glass breaking. A walk outside my room and there's a drunk frat pledge, Mike some Italian last name
from Jersey, jumping up and punching out all the hall lights. The whole floor was covered in glass, people were PISSED. Hell, I was pissed. But I figured he couldn't stop at 1/2 way, so I went inside my room and grabbed either my baseball bat or tennis racket. Apparently, I'm a natural born leader cause everyone just said "Fuggit" after that...and we went to TOWN on the whole floor. You should know there was a girl's AND guy's side. We got the girl's and even made it to the 7th floor until some RA's (students that Residential Assistants - y'know the big room and 'power') chased us off.
For the next two days, since it happened on Friday and cleaning didn't come till Monday...you had to walk with shoes everywhere you went. Unless you wanted to be Bruce Willis in 'Die Hard'.6
-- Any time the basketball team beat Duke or UNC, or lost to Duke and UNC, you'd see approximately 30,000 people rioting. Burning furniture, breaking everything in sight. I think I saw a priest with a crowbar, I'm not sure...either way this list is not complete without mentioning the only times in my life I've been face to face with a cop in riot gear and ready to throw a smoke bomb.5
-- TIME FOR ANOTHER LSD STORY! A good friend of mine, Amanda and myself had the same Biology teacher freshman year. Sophomore year, we're twisted on LSD figuring this out for the first time. We both hated Dr. Motta with a passion. So, we sneak into the Biology building at around 4:30 PM....completely tripping balls. Dr. Motta teaches in the same lecture room every year and we make a beeline for it.
Nobody's in, PERFECT.
I grab chalk, Amanda grabs chalk.
Amanda stays pretty tame, going for the standard "FUCK DR. MOTTA"
I, on the other hand am writing shit like "DR. MOTTA IS A FUCKBAG PERVERT THAT LIKES TO SNIFF THE ANAL JUICE OF INCOMING FRESHMAN GIRLS." And I'm typing in all-caps, cause that's how we wrote it. I filled up 3 chalkboards with her laughing her ass off.
With one look to each other, both faces screaming "Oh Shit," I beeline for the nearest door not heeding Amanda's, "JON! NOOOOOO!" Warning. I blast through the door, not caring cause I've been arrested twice in my life already.
Fire alarms start blazing, Amanda is now truckin' behind me as we pop out in an alley between class buildings, the alarms ringing everywhere. Our friends are chillin' on the quad also trippin' and see Amanda and myself returning red-faced, sweating.
They hear the alarms...my best friend makes the connection, "Did you two..."
"IT WAS JON'S FAULT!" Amanda screams defiantly.
She teaches elementary school somewhere in Jersey these days.4
-- I met Amanda in Ellicott Hall, 2nd semester Freshman Year. Amanda lived on the 7th floor, along with her friends Keri, Anne and Karen. They all basically hung out with me, my 2 best friends and another guy that I'm still great friends with, Ben. Eventually, Karen got tweaked out cause we all found her to be repulsive personally and sexually...and the fallout soon came after her day on LSD - when me and Amanda pulled the fire alarms, Karen apparently decided to take off her pants, walk around in boxers (showing off her furry legs) and exclaim loudly "Why is nobody looking at me!?!?!" while we're walking around. Speaking for the dudes in the group, one look at her made you eventually look towards the ground with your eyes closed, repeating "Jennifer Aniston" or whatever hot chick at the time over and over in your mind. Yeah, I was tripping.
Anyway -- I got offtrack there. That 2nd semester Freshman year, Amanda found a water gun while we were all drinking. Let it be prefaced that Amanda is a devilish instigator with a heart of gold. Someone gets shot in the face on the guy's end. The next thing we all know, buckets of water are getting thrown in hallways. Things escalated out of control into a water fight not scene since Davey Jones got sent to his own locker out on the ocean. We had supporters, people screaming at us to stop cause water was getting in the room...
This fight was primarily staged on TWO floors, not one. And just our group, nobody else dare getting involved as bucket shots to the face didn't look pleasant. Now, WHY does this land at #4? Simply put, THE ENDING.
Ben and I cornered Amanda into a bathroom stall -- or rather, she ran like a girl into one and locked the door. Curled up on a seat, we're getting water from the showers, the sinks and just pelting her. She's screaming to stop, for us to quit.
Ben's standing right near the stall door, taunting her as I'm laughing maniacally filling up my bucket. When I turn around, all of a sudden I see Amanda jump up and dump her bucket over and just completely nail Ben completely everywhere...
It takes two seconds for me to realize this was TOILET WATER.
Ben's face was priceless...from laughing so hard, to the utter disbelief and shock that he took a faceful of toilet water from Amanda, who hadn't realized this would GREATLY offend Ben. Ben flipped out, screaming at her...and stormed off. Water Fight -- OVER.
Amanda walked out soaking and pestering me to agree with her that she had to do that...I just shrugged. Ben didn't talk to Amanda for a good 24 hours...until he finally could only say, "I can't believe you did that."
So yeah, this makes it to the top of the list for the dramatic swerve at the end. And I still can't stop laughing whenever I picture Ben's face right after the toilet shot, dripping...it looks like someone raped his mom.3
The FIRST Byrd Stadium Story. Fast forwarding to Junior Year, with some new upper-class white kids from the North. On the guys side, we had myself, Chris (one of my best friends) Eckstein, and two best friends visiting from Baltimore -- Lee and Paul. I'll have some Baltimore best friends stories in the blog later -- there's about 5 of us in total...we all should be dead.
On the chicks side, we've got Sarah (big crush relationship, ended badly), Erin (at the time dating Eckstien, but we'd go on to break each other's hearts about 3 times), Lauren (the group slut that everyone messed around with) and Kim (Chris' wife today).
We get MASSIVELY
drunk in a game of flip-cup. I think Erin and myself's attraction to each other was through some sort of competition we had internally. Cause first of all, the girls won cause apparently my friends can't flip a damn cup. Erin's talking shit loudly, getting the girls to eventually...I'm shouting back and then it happens...
Katz: "Me and Chris know how to break into Byrd Stadium, its snowing outside -- I think its time for a game of football."
Erin: "YOU'RE ON!"
My eyes lit up.
Cause next thing I knew -- this is for real, both sides getting into it. We're at my current 'Knox Box' (shitty apt. on Knox Street) where I lived with Chris and Andy (the camp friend w/ the love for Firehouse once), and me and Chris and handing out every piece of sweatpant/sweatshirt material that we own. Amazingly, we've got plenty for everyone.
I grab the football and we all storm out of the place, flurries in the air and all. It's about a 15 minute walk, so we bring more alcohol for the walk -- no worries there. Everyone's wasted, I am too...but man, football is MY thing so I'm in that focused wasted area where I'd believe I could play DI or something. Lee looks that way too. Paul and Eckstien are already looking green. Chris is like a hawk, only when his eyes start lolling do you worry. They're focused on Kim, all's good.
Sidenote: I'm only 5'9, 160 at this point. I'd get murdered in DI.
So, the football is cradled in my left arm and I show the secret to busting into Byrd Stadium...
They leave the gate doors open.
If you lived in Ellicott Hall and liked to smoke joints (even cigs), you figured this out pretty quickly because the idea of smoking one in the Upper Decks is too much to pass up. So you find out that its easy to figure out.
Through the gate and onto the field we go. The first thing I do is toss the football for someone to hold and try and go slip and slide across the field...IT WORKS. So the first 3 minutes of this has everyone attempting that feat, except for Paul who's puking by the gatorade table already.
I toss the football to Erin, and we come up with the rules that you start on the 10 yard line and get 3 tries for a touchdown. Basically, the easiest rules we could think of cause we're fucking plastered.
Girls win the coin flip. Yes...there was a coin flip.
They take the ball. They huddle together...we're fucking wasted and this is starting to feel for real. The guys look at each other and know if they let up a touchdown, they know their dicks must be chopped off immediately. And we're down one, cause Paul's still puking.
And I'll be a fucking monkey's uncle, the girls RUN the ball the first two plays. So, we HAVE to tackle them. Luckily, they run straight into us and we can tackle them lightly.
Third play, I'm not kidding...
THE FUCKING OPTION.
Lee and I are screaming "What the fuck! HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS PLAY!" all the while, Sarah completing the pitch to Erin very nicely...meaning...
I tackle Erin out of bounds at the two and we go fucking sliding ten feet. I'm wondering if I've crossed the line, but she's laughing heartily...I breathe again, thanking god I didn't break a girl's rib to save a moment of bitter emasculation.
Guys get the ball, me and Lee call the handoff -> HB Pass play, nominating Eckstien as the HB cause he looks the drunkest. I'm the starting QB cause my attitude over the course of the night would leave the girls to believe I'm running the ball.
Yes, we THOUGHT about this folks.
Eckstien starts laughing, completely misses the handoff. I'm left holding the ball and I watch all the girls tackle Eckstien anyway. I walk into the endzone and proclaim "We're all way too drunk to be doing this right now," and Flair Flop into the snow. I hear Paul puking in the distance.
As we walk back victorious, Sarah grabs and caresses my hand for the first time signifying this could be the greatest night ever. Of course, a few days after this greatest night ever -- I find out she's thinking of transferring because she has a boyfriend back home.
And such is life...anyway, I remember looking back on that half of the field and thinking it looked like someone drove their car on it.2
-- Simply put, its here for the sheer evillness, brutality. At the end of each semester, the school makes money off parents by sending them a pamphlet in the mail for student care packages during finals week. For about 10 bucks, you can buy your kid a basketful of apples.
So, also across from Ellicott Hall is an ATM machine. We've got about 15 baskets of apples on the guy's side of the 8th floor at the end of 2nd semester. We get drunk on a Friday afternoon (why not?) and decide to make good use of the apples.
We head for the common room, open all the windows and ready our ammunition towards any 'freak', 'geek,' or 8th floor guy we know. First targets are a couple of goths...
Five apples are thrown like Roger Clemens fastballs towards them, but end up hammering the ATM machine. Have you ever watched goth kids run? Can someone please explain to me the hunched posture and dinosaur like leg movement? Do they reject the correct ways to run on purpose? Is that the devil in them?
Computer Science kids narrowly avoid our wrath...
Guys from our floor almost get nailed, run up and our overjoyed to receive THEIR care package to resupply our unit that's low on ammunition.
Upset over the lack of headshots, it turns to anyone that goes to the ATM becoming targets...
Until finally, a 6'6 goth kid walks up to the ATM.
It was a doubleshot of epic proportions, one apple broke upon contact with his skull as another one made a large popping sound of his black leather trenchcoat. Unfortunately, this goth kid lived in the dorm and had to shamefully walk inside while we all laughed at him.
Later that night, I would go to the ATM cause I was low on funds -- I would not be able to draw cash because the monitor is completely shattered.1
-- The requisite mushroom story and an ending that scared the shit out of me and explained the karmic values of the universe. It is also the 2nd Byrd break-in story. It all started with mushrooms found by our lion-maned friend Gilli, who I describe that way due to his rather massive curly fro and beard.
Gilli can be described as the weirdest person I've met that also had a raspy voice. He also forever became a freak in my eyes as that night he went on to argue "How resisting a shit can lead to a very erotic and sensual feeling..."
Anyway, bored out of our skulls on a Tuesday night and not wanting to think about class the next day, high on mushrooms we break into Byrd. My roommate and best friend, Mike (6'5) and Gilli decide to see if they can CLIMB the goalpost. Gilli succeeds as does Mike...as do I...we're sitting there, Gilli even manages to stand...
...and that's when all of a sudden, the goallpost we're on starts leaning forward as Amanda (present and on mushrooms) starts shrieking and immediately starts running towards the exit of Byrd.
Getting to the ground isn't a problem, since we're only two feet away now. We jump off and the goallpost STAYS where it is. We run the hell out of there figuring cops should be due at any moment. Blame the mushrooms on that.
It should be of note, the night in question was March 31. The next day in a haze I pick up the Diamondback (school's local newspaper) -- the headline reads "BYRD STADIUM GOALPOSTS DESTROYED!"
I FREAK THE FUCK OUT.
I run to Amanda's room, show her the headline and we both run to a viewpoint we can see the goalpost from. Its fixed. Completely normal and looking like we hadn't even touched it.
I look at the Diamondback and I curse April Fool's Day, mushrooms and Gilli's thoughts on pooping for the rest of the day.