Sunday, April 24, 2011

Frat Life 101: The Pledges Who Thought They Were In

One day in 1986 (I can't remember what semester it was) it occurred to the Sig Tau membership that the pledge class had become very bold, even going so far as to show up at the house by themselves when protocol dictated that pledges were to only show up as no less than a pair at a minimum. The rule was in place to ensure that any and all pledges would have no choice but to get to know each other extremely well and therefore raise the level of brotherhood that they felt amongst each other. That way once they became members that sense of brotherhood would transfer over as well. At least that's how I remember it.

So as I said at this time the pledges were acting as if they were already in, that there was nothing left for them to prove even though the semester was far from over. In the face of this bravado there was only one thing left for the brothers to do and that was to teach the pledges a lesson. A lone pledge who had shown up (his name escapes me at this time) was dispatched with instructions to locate all of his pledge brothers and to return in an hour as a group or else they all would be gone, black balled into obscurity. Truthfully we had no intention of doing that, we just wanted to put some fear into them and have some fun while doing so.

In that hours time we came up with a quick plan and went with it wholeheartedly. When the pledges showed up first we read them the riot act for their lackadaisical attitude and told them that it all stopped tonight. We were going to teach them a lesson on brotherhood, trust and being aware of where you are. The pledges were promptly blindfolded and and put into the back of a pickup truck and then paper bags were put over their heads. After cautioning them about trying to peek and get a look at their surroundings we secretly dispatched a few members to purchase the oh so normal liquid elixir that always seemed to be prevalent at fraternity gatherings. Of course I am speaking of beer.

Next we set off on a grand journey designed to approximate the time that it would take for us to drive out to the Illinois river. We made lots of turns, sped up and slowed down and put the right wheels off the side of the road into the gravel to make it seem as though we were at the river. Honestly I don't think we really believed that they thought this was truly happening but indeed they fell for it hook, line and sinker. After pulling back onto the grounds of our fraternity house we took them out of the truck and led them on a circuitous trek around the property until we ended up in the back yard.

The scene was now set. We explained to them that we had brought them to a precise spot at the edge of the river and that they were now standing close enough to jump into said river. The water at this particular spot was neither too shallow nor too deep for them to get hurt or for them to drown. Their choice was simple, on the count of three all of them would jump in to the river as a group or they were all finished. We were anxious to see what their reactions would be. Would they all jump, not wanting to be the reason that the entire class was blackballed (in their minds but not in reality) or would some of them balk at the very idea of having to jump into water while blindfolded with a paper sack over their heads?

We didn't give them much time to think about how preposterous the idea was and instead started the countdown. To our amazement at the count of three they literally launched themselves as a unit into the air and landed not in the river as they believed they would but instead on the ground which no doubt was not a pleasant experience. As they pulled off the bags and blindfolds we could see that they were clearly stunned. Quickly we helped them up as we laughed (naturally) and told them "Do you really believe we would do something like that to you?" We all adjourned inside to partake of the beverages and share in our newly proven camaraderie. This pledge class had proven that they had a good sense of brotherhood and could be trusted to follow through on their word. They were the kind of guys that we were looking for to carry on our legacy. They were our friends.

Published by Don Leach

1 comment: said...

That's my pledge class. Fall 1985. Jay Cook, Dave McCrae back row. and Clay Perryman (RIP), Terry someone(he quit)and Ron Gallegos. Not pictured: Tim Wolfe. Wolfe disappeared at Christmas break after stealing everything that wasn't nailed down in Ron's room. Yeah we were a hell of a pledge class. We brought back the hairy buffalo, and the lyrics to "lady gadiva" were pulled from the rum soaked depths of Mark "geezy peezy its tits" Monger bonger Rainbolt. Those were definitely the "good ol days." Not sure how much of that brotherhood has lasted to present day though. Ah well, for one brief shining moment, as King Aurther once said, "we had our Camelot."