Saturday, February 19, 2011

Frat Life 101: The Beginning or Were You One Of Those Frat Dudes?

Whenever I tell people that I was in a fraternity while I attended college off and on back in the 80s they normally get a mental picture of a bunch of rich, smarmy jerks wearing Izod shirts and plaid shorts sitting around being pretentious, anal douche bags. Then I have to take the time to explain to them that no, we weren't like that and in actuality if you had to compare us to anybody we were much closer to Delta house from the film Animal House. Okay when I say "closer to" I really mean almost identical. Probably as close in real life to what came across the screen as you can get.

Here's how my personal story goes. I had met Henry during the summer through my best friend Tommy. We found out that we would be staying in the same dorm at Northeastern State University (NSU) in quaint, bucolic Tahlequah, Ok and made loose plans to look each other up once we got there. It can never hurt to have someone you know to hang out with even of you're not lifelong friends or anything. When I found Henry he had already made friends with a pretty large group of guys in the dorm and I joined in with them. What was significant for me was that my early life was marred by a severe inferiority complex and a total lack of self confidence so the fact that suddenly I had a group of 10 or so immediate friends was incredible for me.

Basically I think we all had decided that now that we were out of our parents homes and away at college that whatever we were in our previous lives didn't matter. Now we could remake those things about ourselves that we didn't like and try to become cooler versions of what we thought we wanted to be. Or maybe it was just me who thought that way. Some of us were tall and some short, some skinny and some fat. Some were good looking and some were not, some of us knew somebody else in the group previously but most did not. I myself fit into several of those categories. What we all shared was a sudden realization that we were now free (or so we thought) in society's eyes and we could be as wild, crazy and as stupid as we wanted to be. And believe me, we did just that.

At some point or another one of the guys mentioned to the rest that he knew about a fraternity party on Friday night and since we were all young and free we should go. So we did. After all, isn't that what you were supposed to do in college? Attend as many parties as you could, drink as much free beer as was available and if possible convince some poor besotted lass to take pity on you and perhaps throw some loving your way? Well, that's not always the way it works out. In this case we attended the party, drank the free beer and had zero luck with the ladies in attendance, mostly due to the fact that they were almost all girlfriends of fraternity members or alumni. At least that's the story we stuck with.

Every single one of us ended up pledging and we ended up becoming part of an unusually large group of new recruits for the fraternity, although not all of us made it for varying reasons. Still, it was a banner semester for Sigma Tau Gamma and as it turned out a perfect fit for those of us who stuck with it and made it all the way through. You see we weren't looking to be the most popular nor the most athletic or even the smartest. No, what we and countless others before and after us were interested in was true brotherhood and friendship. We found that and much more in Zeta Chapter at little old NSU.

To Be Continued....................

1 comment:

Gary Rivera said...

I'm kind of envious, here we don't have something similar.
I'll wait for the next post, it's interesting!