During the Christmas break I am not as popular as I once was. I hang out a lot with my parents. I’ve beaten two video games. I go to my brother’s 4A basketball games for entertainment. There’s not a lot going on. So when I want to be social, I spend time with Harlin’s friends.
When I was younger, and my grandparents lived in a different house, on Christmas Eve all the grandchildren would go to bed maybe around ten. Our parents, acting as Santa Claus, would arrange presents in specific places for each child. These presents most often weren’t wrapped; it was a bike or a dollhouse or a Dreamcast. On Christmas morning, my uncle John, who didn’t have kids at the time, would hold us back from the presents, and ask which one of us asked for a two by four, or a porcupine, or whatever an eight-year-old would never want. Then we would rush into the living room and rip open the copy of Sim City 2000 and accidentally knock a light over, burning a hole in my favorite chair. That didn’t happen every Christmas, just on a special occassion.
I spent this morning repairing my mother’s sweater, because not only do I knit, but I knit well. Some people say it’s an evolutionary advancement, like spider senses or hand eye coordination (both of which I lack). I sat at the desk in our living room and passed my knitting needles through the large gaps in the pattern of her sweater to mend the hole in the sleeve.
As I sat there, I need something to occupy myself with. I was recently told that a high school acquaintance, Brian Maloney, was on a reality show named Sing Off. Brian was a few years older than me, but our families were friends, and I’ve always thought that if he knew my name, we’d be friends. The show he’s on is a true life version of Glee. I like to think that some NBC big wig, without every seeing the show, saw Fox’s fall ratings and demanded his own version of whatever show was such a hit. It’s not so bad, though: eight a cappella groups compete in an American Idol type contest. Ben Folds is a judge, along with a black man and a lady. Nick Lachey is the host. So apparently someone got a hold of a list of my favorite things and put them in one studio together.
Today I got my car back from the Fayetteville Auto Park. I took it there last Friday and told the customer service manager that there was a demon trapped in the engine of my civic. He laughed, and then asked me, really, what is the problem. And I said, that’s all I can tell you. When I drive, it sounds like one piece of metal being drug slowly across another. It’s the sound of a demon.
On Saturday, pledge Matt Bakke and I went to Tulsa University, to the Chi Omega Winter Formal. This made four formals in a week for me. I have never been so popular as I am now as a senior. I postulate this is because I hang out with freshman every day. They think I’m really cool.
>Last night I slept in Tulsa; one of my pledges, Matt Bakke, got me a date to the formal of Tulsa University’s chapter of Chi Omega. That in itself is a essay, but right now I have to speak about my dream, before it melts like an ice sculpture of a grizzled man wrestling a wolf, which coincidentally would be an ice sculpture representing my dream.
Two nights ago I helped out with Camp War Eagle Christmas dinner, serving families of campers. DO YOU HEAR THAT GIRLS? I SERVE CHILDREN. FOOD. Actually, I don’t think any girls read this, so let’s keep that information between us. This month I’m going for more mysterious, less kind, and also vampire.
Thursday through Saturday, my groove was on. Many people speak of grooves as if they are something to be worn and quickly thrown off, like a lobster bib or the One Ring. Maybe contacts. My optometrist recently told me that since I’ve been wearing my contacts way past the prescribed throw away date, blood vessels behind my forehead have begun to bore tunnels into my eyes to supply oxygen to dying cells (because the permeability of contacts falls off after two weeks). That scared me into getting glasses. But that’s another story.
I wore my groove for three days straight, which I’m sure my doctor would have a problem with. I binge danced. And I have come out of my lost weekend with a few pointers on how to throw a function.
1) DJ DERRICK – I put this first because it takes primacy over all other pointers. DJ Derrick is legendary. He’s been around since before I came to the University. Some say he laid tracks for Napoleon at the Coronation after party; others say that he was laced beats for Chaucer. Still others say he was scene even at the time of Jesus. However, he is fresh as ever, and cannot be equaled in either music selection or tempo. Quick note to aspiring DJ’s – never let a song last longer than a minute and a half. I begin to lose interest after that, unless I personally know the musician, and that only happens when T.I. comes on.
2) COSTUME – This is half of the fun. I’ve seen pie charts that show dancing as almost three fourths of the fun. I’ve seen pies filled with the meat of human beings. But despite all this, I can say that assembling the costume is a mini-function in itself. Crafts are a personal specialty. However, these past three functions were formals, so my costume was a tie. But picking out the tie still required a trip to the Salvation Army. I guess I could have asked my date to come along, but she had already picked out a dress.
3) PICTURES – Please, do not make me go to the Square again. I realize that Lights of the Ozarks is gorgeous, but I’ve now seen it three nights in a row, and the only aspect I could marvel at was the temperature (I have been told that there are camels there – I don’t necessarily believe this, but I could be tempted to go back if I was guarenteed camels). Rather, take photos indoors, at a sorority house or in the ball pit of Chuck E Cheeze, depending on where you eat. In all seriousness, pictures are important, because this is the only record of the function you’ll have; don’t let the girl ruin it. Just take pictures with dudes.
4) DANCING – I absolutely loathe the dance circle. Perhaps 75% percent of all function goers grind, which is fine. Go ahead and vibrate. But, let’s be honest, that looks like zero to negative amounts of fun. Most participants are catatonic. Dancing with some separation is required to have fun. But, many moons ago, when the stars were young and cats ruled over their human slaves, someone invented the dance circle as the only alternative to grinding. In this scenario, girls have a lot of fun with their sorority sisters, while their dates stare at one another and nod. I’m serious – stare. I stared at David Lee for over fifteen minutes – and his face never changed. Robot? More investigation is required. But it is possible to dance one on one. In fact, it is much better for all parties involved. Symbiotic relationship. A dance square, of two couples, is acceptable. A dance hexagon is even attainable, but in terms of geometry, it is the pinnacle of sides if the fun factor is to be maintained. Trust me – I was a math major.
5) DON’T LET YOUR DATE GET WATER ALONE – She will leave you.
6) PARTY BUS – Riding the bus home from the function Friday night, I was reminded of how glad I am that I do not have to go to hell, which I imagine is a lot like a party bus. Double capacity. Extremely hot. No handrails for those who have to stand. They played music at maximum volume, but the problem was the channel, which wasn’t a channel at all but just a static space where a radio station used to be. I saw a drunk couple making very unsexy love. I can’t close my eyes at night anymore. To avoid this, come to the function realtively early, maybe a half hour after it starts, and leave a half hour before it ends. Unless you like hell.
A few weeks ago, BYX threw it’s annual Roller Disco function. We drive to a neighboring town and roller skate in those tan Forrest Gump boots. It reminds me of CEO Day, at St. Joe’s Elementary. Once a month, if you brought a canned food, you could wear whatever clothes you wanted, instead of the requisite white shirt blue pants uniform. At the end of the school day, St. Joe’s would bus all the students to the Skate Place, where we would watch the public school kids get in fights. They tore the Skate Place down many years ago. Now it’s a grouping of apartments, named the Skate Place. This is the reason we have to have Roller Disco in a different city.
Traditionally, my fraternity’s semi-formal event, Reindeer Rendezvous, is a movie night. Small groups go out to eat, then gather at some warm and comfortable location and watch a movie. Last year it was A Muppet Christmas Carol. That was my pick. I was told later that the movie was the reason we were changing the format. Apparently everyone except for me has terrible tastes in movies.
This year, Nathan Allen, an older member who looks Irish, taught the fraternity and our dates to waltz. It was almost violent. When you’re spinning in a circle, oscillating up and down like a parabola, you can only see where you’re going half the time. That means the other half the time you’re traveling backwards, flying blind with no idea about what’s at your six. I hit a lot of people with my elbows; not all of them were guys. I blamed it on my date.
Another new feature of this year’s Reindeer Rendezvous was presents; instead of making shirts to commemorate the event, we asked all the members to use the money which would have gone to shirts to buy presents for children. That was both a good and bad idea.
Did you know that a nameless, No-Ad company packages two revolver type dart guns for only ten dollars? It’s an amazing deal. This may just be a testament to how overboard Wal-Mart has gone with their Roll-Back campaign – I mean, we get it; you’re a cheap store – but this was a deal I couldn’t pass up. And since I was supposed to buy a present for a girl (no brainer: EasyBake Oven, 18 dollars ROLLED BACK from 25), I bought them for myself.
Last year my family had to spend Christmas with my sister and her husband on account of her pregnant belly. Don’t even get me started on how much I hate babies. That’s entirely too many words for this segment. But during the gift exchange on Christmas Eve, my sister’s mother-in-law gave the same shaped present to my dad, my brother, my brother-in-law, Cory, and me. We opened them at the same time. It was a solid, fifteen dollar Nert blaster with a revolving barrel. Cool, but cool when I was eight, you know. I didn’t really know how to react, since I didn’t know the gift giver that well. Maybe she thought I was still in junior high. I thanked her and watched my sister unwrap her present (a paint set), until I saw Cory opening the packing with a knife. I didn’t quite understand what he was doing until my brother got his gun entirely free of the package and flipped his recliner over to use as cover. By then, it was too late for Christmas Eve. The night devolved into a war that lasted to a point that surprised everyone. My dad shot my brother in the eye, point blank; he doesn’t even like it when we play Halo.
The women had to go into the kitchen to drink tea and fluff my sister’s pillows or something. I tried to shoot her in the stomach, but it didn’t do anything. The baby still came out normal.
When my date and I got to the Rendezvous venue last night, I found that many other members bought the same two gun package. There was some time set aside to wrap the EasyBake Oven, but I told my date to handle it – there was something I had to do. Then I shot her with a dart.
These guns were quite cheaply made, and most of the darts were misfires, but the amount of guns present added up to hundreds, literally hundreds of foam darts stuck in girls’ hair. A few pledges bought more expensive, on brand guns that, in the long run, won out over the Air Splitters I dual wielded. One buck had a Nerf sword. Did you know they made Nerf swords? My date does, because I hit her with it.
This was my last fraternity event as an executive officer. My tenure is finished at semester. Seeing a vision of my dad in transparent blue telling me to finish strong, I stayed behind to help pick up darts. I sadly threw away maybe ten Air Splitters that were abandoned. However, I found a Nerf shotgun that was bought as a present and laid aside, forgotten and unwrapped. It’s now beside my bed, loaded and cocked.