skot AT izzlepfaff DOT com
Thursday, 19 April
I Shared Dorms With . . .
Gavin, you affable, pasty man! You were a pretty nice guy, but I think you had issues. For one, you would sit in the dark in your dorm across from mine and pray to Buddha. Then you would soulfully play your saxophone. You and Jason and I enjoyed talking about music, sort of, unless the topic was Prince, which was a strange hobbyhorse of yours. "Prince is a genius," I would declare. "Prince is not a genius," you would serenely reply. When Jason and I challenged you for a backup argument on this statement, you would say, maddeningly, "I can't explain it to you. You're not musicians."
Other than this irritating thing, you were a nice guy, and doubly so for letting me have sex with Bonnie in your bed. If I have one regret about that very strange evening, it would be that, when trying to fumble with your boombox in the dark to give us some music to fuck by, I inadvertently hit the "Record" button. Thanks, really, a ton for playing that tape for me the next day. That was awesomely horrible. But you at least didn't do what I would have been sorely tempted to do, which would be to play it at high volume in the quad.
I'm sorry that after one semester you got wiped out by mononucleosis and we never saw you again.
Dale, you well-combed dapper motherfucker! I really liked your affectations, particularly your smoking jacket and pipe. Was there every any doubt that you'd join the frat that had a reputation for being a pack of baying pussyhounds? Even as a freshman, you were smooth. I particularly liked your evening sojourns over to the girls' end of the dorm, where you would offer to read the girls bedtime stories--the accompanying milk and cookies were a nice touch. With you bejacketed and empiped as you were, you must have cut a surreal figure, like J.R. "Bob" Dobbs come to gently and lasciviously coo the lasses to sweet sleep with your lullabies of Slack.
Man, you sure could comb your fucking hair, dude. If we really had superheroes, you would have been Comb-Man, or maybe just Comb, or even The Living Coif. On the other hand, if you were a baseball player, you could be Jerry Hairston.
One day when I was loudly playing "I Melt With You," you appeared spectrally in my doorway and regarded me with a look of strange transport. "This is the best fucking love song ever made," you asserted, and then retreated across the hall to your room with mysterious pamphlets about the miracle drug MDMA. A couple weeks later, when I was blaring "Orinoco Flow," you appeared again in my doorway and stared wordlessly at me, your every feature displaying feelings of deep betrayal. Then you stalked across the hall from me and I don't think you spoke to me again for a month.
For what it's worth, Kelly, you were right. I'm sorry. I'm also sorry for my roommate's penchant for playing Terrapin Station and the pain it so clearly caused you as well. But you could have shared some of that MDMA.
You drove a Volkswagen Scirocco with gold hubcaps. Thanks for that, as it was fucking hilarious. Also hilarious was that prank you pulled on me where you put shaving cream on my phone headset and then called me, resulting in me getting shaving cream in my ears.
Sorry when I pennied your door shut and I couldn't get you out until I found a screwdriver. Also, sorry for figuring out how to redirect the admissions office phone line to ring to your phone.
Then again, I'm slightly less sorry when I remember that you insisted on constantly playing the George Harrison album Cloud Nine. Thank God Kelly wasn't around for that.
Word is that you had to move out after one horrible drunken night when your roommate Chris woke up to find you naked and poised above his supine head, saying "Put my dick in your mouth!" Unhappily, this is all I remember about you.
There have been times since I've been away from school when I could have used you, my 6' 5" 275-lb. rugby-playing friend. In addition to being genuinely awesome, you were also quite handy to have around to occasionally say things like "Is there a problem here, gentlemen?" whenever I happened to say something stupid to people who had a sudden interest in beating my face in. Funny how the air always cleared!
Remember the great idea I had when I challenged you to a beer-drinking contest? Why am I alive?
But it is your divinely retrograde female-remembering mnemonic system that I particularly remember, for some reason.
"Hey, Noel, do you know Gretchen?"
(Thoughtful pause on your part.)
Ah, Jace, I think of you still and I think of you often. You were my best friend; you did not laugh at me for not knowing what you were talking about when you said to me once, "Shine on, you crazy diamond." (Reminder: I grew up in Idaho.) You were my ally in the Gavin wars, when he made the puzzling and typically gnomic "Prince is not a genius" assertion, and you stayed as such even when I was weirdly haranguing you about your tentative foray into very college-y things like "self-actualization."
Also, you refused to sleep with girls that literally cornered you in hallways because "it wouldn't be right." What the fuck, man? I would have fucked some of those girls right there in the hallway if I ever had a shot, which I didn't. God knows if I did have the chance, I'd probably accidentally record it anyway.
Remember when we did some piddling bunch of coke and went and played video games? There was that strange fucking game where dwarves decapitated each other. Then we went with Dan to play frisbee, but Dan was so wrecked on mushrooms that he dropped like a stone on the lawn. Some time later, we got burned on some other coke exchange where we were sold what the dealer called "really good machine dust." Good idea! We took it anyway, because we were fearless and immortal and, I guess, fucking stupid.
You were my best man, once, and another of my (first) wedding party commented with an unmistakeable certitude, "That guy really is the best man." And you were. I didn't give you a tenth of what you gave me. I owe you, my friend. I called you brother once. I meant it, and I miss you.
I'm pushing forty. I have so much. But I miss so much.
I remember so clearly Jason playing me this song.
The earth is weeping, the sky is shaking
And an unnamed mammal is darkly rising
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It is impossible that you even exist. God I adore you.
This is the single best and most healing response to a bad fucking week spent avoiding news about dorms. Thank you, you heartless, hilarious motherfucker.
What a putz.
I'm sure you have some hilarious stories about Cho, too. Woo-hoo! I spent years in a dorm and couldn't keep a roommate!
I'd love to hear the stories these guys tell about you. I bet they homosexual fantasies about you when they weren't stoned, drunk or reloading ammo.
I agree with Peggy, and, oh, who is George? Ah, yeah, George the gealouse green monster. Sad George.
George, what are you on about?
Golden Axe! You were playing Golden Axe! The dwarf rocked, especially when one was absolutely high!
Christ, Skot, you've just lit the internet beacon for these people. Next thing you know they'll be asking you to host the reunion committee or something.
Midlife crisis approaching?
Ah yes, dorms. New friends, good times, a place for making memories...
I wouldn't live in one of those shitholes again for all the money in the world.
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