Animal House

I’m staying at my parents’ house tonight and Will is already fast asleep. I’m here to catch up on True Blood and Entourage because I don’t have HBO spend time with my family and while my mom and I were waiting for our shows to start and for my dad and brother to get home, we watched an old family favorite.

Animal House.

Yeah, get over it. I watched Animal House with my mom. Big whoop, wanna fight about it? Seriously, it’s no big deal. They let me watch it when I was like 12 years old, and I even watched it with my grandma. Her favorite line was when Dean Wormer told the Deltas they better watch it, or they’d be out of there “like shit through a goose.” Cracked her up every time. Sometimes she’d make us rewind it just to hear it again. Grandma didn’t screw around like an old betty knitting scarves and adjusting her bifocals, she’d rather be watching R-rated movies with her pre-teen grandkids and snorting lines of blow off the glass coffee table.

Relax, I’m just kidding. She only smoked pot. But I digress…

Watching Bluto and the Deltas wreack havoc on the campus of Faber University is always enjoyable for me, because the movie has deep meaning for me and brings back similar memories of my own from college.

For starters, my dad was a dead ringer for John Belushi when he was younger. Check it:


But beyond that, Animal House was the nickname bestowed upon the house I lived in for my senior year of college. It consisted of 2 apartments upstairs and downstairs, with eight total bedrooms. And it was a shithole. I mean it, just a small step above being condemned. The walls were crumbling, the stove had a funky forest of something or other growing in it, the floors were uneven and it smelled from decades of abuse stemming from college kids renting it.

I loved it.

I told my parents I wanted to live there but they had never seen it. I hoped to persuade them to cut me a rent check without them actually viewing the house, but they’d have none of that. On the final day of school junior year, they demanded we head to 60 Porter St. in beautiful North Adams so my parents could see where I’d be habitating.

I was petrified because I had just come from there and without getting too specific, let’s just say the guys were in no state to entertain. That’s why when we got close enough, I opted to yell up to the open window rather than knock. A very red-eyed flustered Alex (nicknamed The Bear) poked his head out the window and quickly realized he was going to have to play tour guide. I just hoped my parents hadn’t noticed the mushroom cloud of smoke that had emanated from the upstairs window when they opened it.

Needless to say my parents told me there was no way in f*cking hell I was living there they had some minor concerns about the house being conducive for studying and furthering my education. But with some convincing and cajoling, they finally gave me their blessing.

Time couldn’t possibly permit me to regale you with every funny/horrifying/amazing story that occurred in that house, but it was a blast. First of all, we were all armed with BB guns. One guy got one and the rest of us felt threatened and defenseless. So within a week we all had one. Getting to and from class was always an adventure because we set up a sniper’s nest from the top floor window. We’d literally have to serpentine and duck and cover some days coming home from class.

When we were in the house, you had to be armed at all times because none of us trusted each other. And for good reason. One night we were all sitting around watching TV (with our guns) and our buddy Ian spilled his beer. At that moment, everything went into slo-motion. Ian looked at the beer on the floor and then his eyes went wide as he looked up at all of us with a knowing panic growing within him. The rest of us looked around, nodded at each other, and proceeded to shoot the holy hell out of him as punishment for his party foul. It was like a scene out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. And true to the script, we had that one crazy guy who took things too far and maniacally started to shoot poor Ian in the nuts repeatedly.

Then there was the time I was passed out in a drunken stupor sleeping on the couch after a party and the guys thought it would be funny to play a little prank on me. One guy, The Sarge, was in the National Guard and had a bunch of MREs in the house. Well little did I know with the help of a 2-liter bottle, you can concoct a mild explosive pretty easily. They set it off next to my head. It’s a helluva way to wake up, lemme tell ya.

The Bear had a severe case of sleep apnea and he was impossible to wake up. He’d literally stop breathing for prolonged stretches of time. We timed him one night at over a minute. So it was the job of other people in the house to make sure he was still alive in the morning. But Bear is not a morning person and he hates being stirred from his hibernation, so he started locking the door. One day it was noon and his door was locked. We didn’t know if he was dead or just hungover. So after several minutes of knocking and banging on the door we grew impatient. We had to beat his door down but how? Reasonable people would’ve picked the lock or entered through the outside window. But we thought it’d be better to put a helmet on our friend Ryan and use him as a human battering ram.

A keg tap wouldn’t work one night so we used a power drill to make a hole. Then we got a Gatorade bucket and put a collinder with a coffee strainer in it to filter out the bits of metal so we could continue to drink. Our friend Dino ate a raw onion at our Jimmy Buffett party. My buddy Lozo kicked a girl out of a party for not liking Dave Matthews. Our friend Lav stuck a mozzarella stick up his backside and then offered it to an unwitting townie who crashed our party. But that was only after Lav lit a dumpster on fire and tried to hijack an Army vehicle at the nearby armory.

That was 10 years ago and I’ve since grown up. I graduated, got a job, bought a house, got married and now I’m a father and a role model for a beautiful son. I no longer live in Animal House nor would I want to considering my station in life.

But sometimes it’s nice to reminisce and that movie always allows me to revisit my capricious youth.

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13 thoughts on “Animal House

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  2. Hahaha! Knowing these people and hearing these stories brings back fond memories of NA myself. As a follow up, I want to add that Ian is expecting a little girl, Grace, around thanksgiving time – so apparently the attack his testicles endured did no long term damage!!

  3. This place you speak of sounds utterly disgraceful! What would make you want to live in a two family with eight college kids, horseshoe pit, self-modified steam room, and farmer’s porch with a bug light that is walking distance to the bar and liquor store?

  4. Dammit! I forgot the makeshift sauna and the horseshoe pit. And yes, we were a stone’s throw from our favorite bar, The Mound! It was fantastic. Not to mention our furniture, specifically the barrel chair. That’s right, a barrel that folded out and turned into a chair.

    Oh who am I kidding? I’d live there again in a second!

  5. What’s scary is how much that sounded like my sophomore through senior years at college, living in our fraternity house with 30 other guys. Including the part where my parents stopped by on a Sunday morning, and had to step over several of my friends who passed out on the front porch (and front bushes) because they couldn’t quite make it inside the night before.

    12 years ago for me. I’m amazed to this day I, and my liver, made it through intact. Good times.

  6. If I remember correctly, there were fists thrown over that barrel chair! Wonder where it is now….

  7. I watched Animal House with my 18 and 15 year old girls just before the 18 year old left for college. Yeah, not a smart move. As a mom, I just shudder thinking about college apartments and frat houses. Animal House makes me want to educate the two in a convent. The girls and the husband thought it was hilarious. I did, too, before I had children. This time I just watched it with a frozen smile on my face. My mantra is “My girls will not do this. My girls will not do this.”

  8. Or Student inventing “coffee beer” and subsequently ruining his digestive system.

  9. These are my favorite kind of posts. It’s nice to think back to the mcla days! 🙂

  10. I love Animal House. It reminds me of my fraternity days too. I got the name Otter off that movie. I have so many stories like yours it is crazy. I usually can’t remember many of them until I get together with some of my buddies and we put our heads together. We don’t get together much anymore so I use Animal House to jog my memory much like you. I choose to keep most of my stories secret, but two guys in our fraternity got kicked out of school for shooting BB guns at a rival fraternity. We didn’t shoot each other.

  11. Bear tried so hard to keep us out of the kitchen – but I made the mistake of opening the oven. There were dead things in there. And Bear pretty mych body-blocked us from going upstairs, where a familiar ordor was wafting down. And watching Bear drill a hole in an aluminum keg with a screen after the tap broke was an inspiring moment. You are all lucky to be alive.

  12. Your grandma sounds like the greatest woman EVER!!!!! I think I’ve seen that movie over 50 times, and I still laugh my ass off. I’d never want to live in a smelly dorm, but I’d attend the parties there for sure 😉

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