Do you remember, before the days of darkness descended onto college campuses, how you could get free beer almost at will? And if you did have to pay, you could schedule your beer drinking days around Dimies at assorted saloons, or Kill-a-Keg at the Creeker? Or, in my day, the Bartender-is-a-Pike discount at the C-House (Jimís Place)? Dang. Nowadays you couldnít get free beer if you were on fire at the VFW. Back then you could leave class with a pocket full of change and end the day naked at a bus stop in Cayuga Heights with a chipmunk tail hanging from your mouth,†and still have†a†dime†left for the ride home.
The fall rush parties were the best places for free beer. Fraternities would prominently advertise, on their homemade Campus Store signs, how many barrels of beer they had ordered. By my reckoning, the highest count was 67. Obviously, Iím not talking about tap-a-keg in the basement parties, Iím talking about outdoor-beer-truck-and-loud-band parties. Andy Bjork and I, tiring of the long lines at the beer trucks, realized that only one side of the trucks had taps, and that people who stood in line were suckers. So we would crawl under the trucks from the tapless side and hand our cups up to the servers. Kids, if you try this at home, wear old clothes. Andy would check the truckís cab doors first, but the beer truck guys hated it if you cut the line by going through the cab, so they usually locked up.
My reminiscences were piqued by recent visits by Pikes. Paul Wessel and his family were in Washington so his daughter could decide between attending Georgetown and Cornell. She chose Cornell, but it was touch-and-go, which makes you wonder about†Wesís parenting skills. Anyway, I donít think he ever told his wife the real story about how he broke his arm that time he was scaling a house to get to his second story apartment because he had forgotten his keys, and he had a couple of coeds in tow. If youíve seen ďAnimal House,Ē †the situation smacked of the John Belushi scene at the sorority house.†As Johnny O would say, be careful when you let the little head do the thinking for the big head.
I correspond occasionally with Steve Crump, who is expecting some kind of award for paying the most in Cornell tuition. Heís put two kids through so far, with one more likely next year, and yet another in the wings. Wes is two-for-two, but heís only got one more to go.
Days†after Wesís visit, Jim ďGringoĒ Criscuolo came to town. Heís a VP for an Italian gear manufacturer. If you drive a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, you can thank Gringo as you get hauled to the can for doing 160 in a school zone. Gringo is a grandfather, which is a tough one for me to get my head around. He came over to the house for dinner with my wife and me, and after the pleasantries we launched into story telling. My normally unflappable wife was flapped up one side and down the other, and we didnít even get to the story about the Stones concert in Buffalo, no part of which is suitable for a publication available to family members, employers, or anyone with a sense of decency or morality. Gringo and I called Brother Hector, who lives in Seattle and teaches grade school. I wonít use Brother Hectorís full name, because there are some things even a strong teacherís union canít save you from.
Speaking of grandfathers, I saw Jay Hardenburg a few months back. He is hale and is the patriarch of a growing extended family. I donít remember if I ever told him about the time I stole his car. I think so. I probably didnít tell him about how, out of addled curiosity, I revved†his†VW†Bug†up to about 12 billion rpm before I shifted it, just to hear the whine.†I also stole Chris Ashleyís Mustang once, but nothing could harm that beast; it growled like a Rottweiler, and the seat belts were in a box in the trunk, which was just as well, because nothing would save your ass if you ran it into a tree, even in second gear. Donzo had an Opel, but he could leave it in front of me with the motor running and feel safe, because who the hell would steal an Opel? I did have standards.
Lynda Dream Girl Hershey stayed at our house for a couple of days this past winter. She and her husband moved to Augusta, Georgia a few weeks ago. She invited us to come down for the Masterís tournament, but golf isnít an interest of mine. Donít get me wrong, Iíve enjoyed my rounds of golf with my Pike brethren, but, and Iíll put this as delicately as I can out of respect for our golfing readers, itís the stupidest goddamn sport ever invented. I mean, ďlow score winsĒ?! Whose idea was that?