Me and some loonies re-enacting The Goonies

I was watching The Goonies the other night for the hundredth time and it reminded me of a CLASSIC moment in my life that could have been a deleted scene from the film – I want to set it correctly so instead of mood music, I’ll start off with a quote from a classic Goonies scene:

Francis: Tell us everything! Everything!

Chunk: Everything. OK! I’ll talk! In third grade, I cheated on my history exam. In fourth grade, I stole my uncle Max’s toupee and I glued it on my face when I was Moses in my Hebrew School play. In fifth grade, I knocked my sister Edie down the stairs and I blamed it on the dog…

Now that we’re sufficiently jazzed up, I’ll proceed…

As I’ve mentioned before, the apartment we lived in was on a really wild street in college. It was a line of one party-house after another, leading down the yellow-brick road to the Promised Land (the bars, obviously). My house was diagonal from Lisa’s and we’d usually alternate where each night’s after-hours would take place based on who had beer in the fridge. That, or if it was one of the days that the pizza place had cut me off from getting a delivery because I passed out after ordering and slept through the delivery guy at the door again – we’d be at Lisa’s.

The two most hated words known to man!

It was just past 2 AM and I was stumbling back to my apartment after the bars closed. As I was ambling down the way in my drunken haze, I saw Lisa’s Roommate Sue puttering around ten times drunker than I was. I thought Sue must be on some really good shit to be that out of control, so of course I went right over when she told me after-hours was at her house. You know that instinct that tells you something is obviously wrong and you shouldn’t do something? I don’t have that! It’s notoriously absent in me sober – nonetheless when I’m drunk.

(To clarify before I go any further – no, this is not the night that Sue was drunk and ran over her and Lisa’s other roommate Kathy with the car when she got out to pee on the ski slope. Read that back: Kathy actually got ran over with HER OWN car when she crouched in back of it to pee. It was late at night, they were wasted, and Sue couldn’t see where Kathy was peeing when she moved the car because she didn’t want to get caught because the car was ACTUALLY on the ski slope. I didn’t believe this story since they came right back to the bar after it happened until Kathy pulled down her jeans to show me the road rash. Those two were like the blind leading the blind-folded.)

Lisa, Sue & Kathy lived in the top half of a two-family house. When you entered the front door, the stairs led up into the living room which connected to the kitchen, then led to a hallway where the three bedrooms and bathroom were located. Sue and I were following through on our promise to drink absolutely every single beer in their house before the rest of our crew arrived since it was only the two if us. I randomly looked up and happened to see something I hadn’t noticed before. Although the living room ceiling was about sixteen feet high, there was a barn door with an X on it about ten feet in the air. I asked her what it was and she replied “probably goes to the roof – what else could it be?” and the very same light bulb appeared over both of our drunken head’s at exactly the same time: DING DING – Obviously, we should go on the roof!

Conventional wisdom should tell you that if you’re only 5’ 7” tall, you’re not going to be able to reach a door that’s ten feet in the air without a boost. Conventional wisdom also forgets to inform you that if said boost doesn’t work and you’re going to start stacking random pieces of furniture to reach said door – there is absolutely no wisdom present: conventional or otherwise. It is actually the opposite of any other word for used to describe or related to wisdom, yet it didn’t hinder us.

The adornments in furnished apartments are usually mismatched, cheap, and rickety but their furnishings were an especially random assortment of hodge-podge. In addition to the usual suspects (beat-up old couch, smelly loveseat, scratched up side-table) there was a weird rocking chair that never really “belonged” in the room. It also never “belonged” sandwiched in the middle of our “furniture ladder,” but that’s not really the point now is it? We let nothing stand in our way as we jammed one item on top of another to get to that door. Common sense obviously wasn’t on the guest list for this after-hours party, but we persevered and got our makeshift Tower of Babel up to the doorway. Being the absolute gentleman that I am, I let her climb up first. Obviously, I truly believed that it would collapse as soon as she mounted it, but also, it was her house so letting her go up first was the respectful thing to do. Like I said, she was much drunker than I was so she didn’t protest…

Sue was a limber little thing and she made her way up the sofa, championed past the cocktail table and over the rocker like it was her job. I had been watching her ascent and thinking to myself “That really doesn’t seem sturdy and there’s no way it will hold her…” when I realized that my beer was empty and went to get another one in the kitchen. She was passing over the second kitchen chair we had stacked on the pile and then got by the ottoman when she reached the barn door. She pried that door off like a cat burglar and tossed it onto the living room floor. The huge crash from the door hitting the ground caused her to look around and realize that I hadn’t been holding the furniture ladder steady for her. Holding it steady? I wasn’t even in the same room! Didn’t I just tell you that my beer was empty?  Did I not say that out loud? Also, she tossed that door over her shoulder to get it out of her way and THEN looked where I was – good thing I ditched her or she would have popped me right in the noggin with that friggin door! She was neither surprised nor mad that I had abandoned her. She told me to take the case of beer out of the fridge so we could take it up to the roof with us; it’s really not saying much, but she was the brains of this operation.

I grabbed the beer and headed back into the living room to see two feet crawling into the entryway the barn door had been covering up. She peeked back out the now open doorway and asked what I was waiting for. In truth, I hadn’t actually considered going on the roof at all because I’m deathly afraid of heights. I just assumed that the furniture would collapse or she’d lose interest or fall and hit her head before she could get the door off, but now I didn’t want to miss seeing what was up there. I thought it could become our new terrace or outdoor lounge but actually, I was just really drunk and didn’t think it through at all. I started my climb and the way it shook and creaked when she went up was a distant memory and I was laser-focused on not dropping the beer and not falling, but mostly I was worried about the beer. It took a bit, but I made my way up and that’s saying a lot for a guy that has no coordination or athletic ability when I’m sober, so forget about my dexterity while intoxicated.

When you looked into the hole – which was really dark; neither of us had thought about a flashlight – but due to the high ceiling lights in the living room, we could make out rows of beams with insulation in between heading to five steps leading up to two bilko doors which opened out onto the roof. We walked across the beams, got the roof door open, and headed up. The storm hadn’t let up at all and it was actually even windier on the roof – which thankfully was flat and didn’t have any peaks on it. We got out there and started dancing around in the rain like fools; she looked like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance and I looked like I got hit by a flash of lightning with my flailing arms and supreme lack of rhythm…

We walked over to the edge of the roof to survey the land and low and behold – we saw Weezie strolling up the street with Spento. They had just come back from the nightly late-night jaunt to the diner and were looking for an after-hours spot. “HOOKA!!!” I screamed down at her and she looked all around before finally realizing that we were up on the roof waving.  A normal person that sees two drunken fools prancing around on the roof like Santa Claus should have an immediate reaction to stop these two fools and get them down – not Weezie. “How do I get up there?” she screamed back. “Go inside and follow the furniture trail.” She went into the house, surveyed the situation, and marched right back out again “come down here and help me up – that’s not sturdy…”

We went down to the living room and Weezie immediately latched onto that Coors Light suitcase of beer like she was going to the chair. Just then, Sue and Lisa’s roommate Kathy came in and said “What the fuck? Come on!!!” “We’ll be quiet – you won’t even know we’re here” we chimed as we started heading back up. We got all four of us up the furniture and through the doorway. Weezie went up first and she sat on the steps leading to the roof like a bird on a perch with the beer as Spento made his way in next, followed by Sue, with me at the rear. As we were making our way through, Kathy was making her way to her bedroom to go to bed as she was in no mood for drunken nonsense and had to be up really early the next morning.

To give you an idea about the beams…

Weezie sat facing the entryway with a vice grip on her Coors Light tighter than Kate Winslet had on that driftwood at the end of Titanic when she looked up. “Spento, you better walk on those beams…”No sooner had the words escaped her mouth than Spento took one misstep and it was like it happened in slow-motion. I thought for sure that I was back on the dust because he hit that insulation in between the beams (which wouldn’t support the weight of a fart, by the way) and he dropped through it in a flash. Not only did he go through the insulation and the floor – but he went feet-first right through the ceiling like an atom bomb; those kicks came shooting through Kathy’s bedroom ceiling just as she was opening the doorway. He brought with him a storm of insulation, sheetrock, and whatever the hell else was in between the ceiling and attic all over her, her bedroom, and all over us in the attic. Weezie screamed like they were bringing back prohibition as the dust storm erupted through the attic and bedroom absolutely covering us in that shit. As the cloud approached, I ducked behind Sue to try and shield me from the caustic material, but it was to no avail – it got us all.

As if that wasn’t crazy enough – Spento didn’t go all the way through and he got lodged between the beams. “I’m stuck…I’m stuck” he said, which made us laugh even harder. His stomach was ripped open and bleeding as he was lodged between those beams while Weezie kept drinking, Sue tried to help, and I tried not to piss my pants…Needless to say, Kathy was not amused but actually really pissed off and didn’t see the humor in the situation like we did…She pushed his feet up and Weezie and Sue helped pry him out from the beam’s vice grip, while I tried to stop laughing. Never one to argue with an obvious sign – we took that sign to mean we should head back down and stay off the roof. Granted, the more obvious sign should have been his blood signaling the need for medical attention, but I digress.

We climbed back down without any other incidents and with nothing left to sit on, we were forced to had to dismantle some of the items off the furniture ladder. Kathy yelled at us non-stop because had he fell ten seconds later, she would have gotten a Converse to the cranium – yet we couldn’t stop laughing… I was literally crying from laughing so hard that I felt like I might actually have a stroke.

Weezie was quiet for a long time after and was almost catatonic. “Hey Hooka, What’s wrong with you?” I offered. “I’ve been here for six years, that’s a long time…but…if that was me…I’d transfer…I’d transfer right out of here…I know you’d tell everyone. You’d tell everyone.” Was all she could mutter and I knew she was dead-on-balls accurate because if that had been her that went through the roof, I’d have gotten a megaphone and went up and down the street immediately after the insulation dust settled…

I have never laughed like that in my life – even when my aunt was ejected out of the wheelchair at Disney. The best part of it was that because Lisa, Sue and Kathy were moving out at the end of the semester, the landlord had been showing it to prospective tenants all the time and he came over bright and early the next morning. Besides Kathy, guess who else didn’t find it as funny as we did…Then guess who didn’t get their security deposit back…Lisa was just as pissed off as Kathy was but not for the damage, not for the disturbance, and certainly not for the concern over Spento’s health – she was mad that she missed seeing it. To this day I still break up every time I think about it…if only there were camera phones back then…

For that one quick moment, I got to live out my own Goonies moment, and the only thing that could have made it any better would have been if Spento did the truffle shuffle when they got him out of the floor…I did feel bad a couple of days later as I kept replaying it in my head over and over and laughing because not once did we ask if he was OK – we just laughed…I guess that is selfish, but I never said I was good in a crisis. It has been years since this happened, yet I still just pictured it again and burst out laughing like a fool as if it took place this morning. I almost felt this bad: (cue another great Goonies scene)


Chunk: Then my mom sent me to the summer camp for fat kids and then once during lunch I got nuts and I pigged out and they kicked me out… But the worst thing I ever done — I mixed all this fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theater, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony and then… then, I made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaaaaaaa — and then I dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And then, this was horrible, all the people started getting sick and throwing up all over each other. I never felt so bad in my entire life.


I Hate Birds Part Four – No love from the dove: It wasn’t a pisser when that bird popped me in the kisser!

As I have bemoaned many times – I hate birds. Indulge me as I share another example why…

I used to do event planning and would attend many trade shows to meet prospective clients, but just as importantly, to meet new vendors. If you’ve never been to one of these trade shows, picture a huge hotel ballroom with rows and rows and rows of booths full of everything from cakes and flowers to event venues to Yiddish poets and strolling minstrels.

The person that was supposed to go with me bailed at the last-minute, so my wife filled in to help me out running the booth. It wasn’t a big setup, but there was a huge crowd and one person can easily get overwhelmed by it. We got set up and were meeting a ton of people – everything was going great…

All of a sudden, I see this really tall glimmer of red sparkles through the crowd…The crowd parts and then this magician struts up to our booth in a bright red sparkly jacket and top hat. He was covered in sparkles and definitely not blending subtlety into the crowd. I’ve dealt with a lot of entertainers, so I was used to “eccentric” but I’ve seen showgirls with less razzle-dazzle than this guy…He stepped up to me and thrust out his hand to present his business card, but I was so distracted by all the sparkles that I dropped his card on the ground.

I bent down to pick it up and was on one knee facing the floor to see where the card landed so that I could pick it up. All of a sudden I hear the magician scream “Huzzah!!!” which caught me off guard and I looked up to see what had happened…

Once he thrust the card at me, he reached back in his waistcoat where a dove was waiting (I get it you’re a magician it’s normal, but who keeps a bird in his pants? That’s just disgusting and weird!) and then he thrust that bird forward. I guess it was supposed to be impressive or a trick to be like “WOW, here’s a bird.” That was the intention anyway – what happened was a different story altogether.

I heard him scream “Huzzah!” and thrust my head up to see why this wacko was screaming only to have him and the dove connect with my face – He punched me right in the eye with that bird! HE PUNCHED ME RIGHT IN THE EYE WITH THE BIRD! I was so taken off guard and frankly, almost blinded by that filthy beak, that I toppled backwards onto the floor screaming like a lunatic “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? WHY WOULD YOU PUNCH ME IN THE EYE WITH THAT FILTHY BIRD? WHO DOES THAT? WHY WAS IT IN YOUR PANTS?”

At this point, with me screaming at the top of my lungs and sprawled out on the floor of our booth, you’d think that at least someone would at the very least ask if I was OK…Not there…there were tons of people staring at the commotion asking if the bird was OK, saying “Oh, that poor bird” as if I wasn’t the victim here. Where was the magician you might ask? He was also on the ground – not checking if I was OK, but trying to see if the God damn bird was OK…that sweaty thing was hobbling around cooing in some sort of fowl distress code cocking it’s head from side to side like Stevie Wonder. Magic Mike (not the Magician’s real name) was like “It’s OK; you’re OK…It’s OK.” To the bird, mind you, not to me…Granted, the bird was probably brain-dead because it took a pounding to the head like it was fighting Iron Mike Tyson!

I was trying to remember that I was in a work setting and regain composure, but I had just been the victim of a drive by shooting courtesy of that filthy foul assassin and was legitimately almost blinded! And did I mention that filthy bird touched my face? I got up and made a run for the bathroom to wash myself and Magic Mike was like “Hey, you forgot my card…” Obviously, I got your number buddy and even if he was the best magician in the world I could never call him after that. Needless to say I spent the next twenty minutes scrubbing my face in the hotel bathroom sink…My face was red and irritated and I had to go to the Front Desk to get a real bar of soap because that dispenser soap just wasn’t cutting it.

After I finally emerged, pretending nothing had happened and hoping there weren’t any other magicians positioned to attack or member of PETA mobilizing, it was pretty hard to be professional. As is to be expected when one has just been assaulted, I was a little jittery. My wife was standing by the whole time – laughing at me really – thinking “who else would that ever happen to?”… Another day at the mill for me though…Note to all trade show exhibitors:  helmets are not crazy – better to be safe than sorry.

Wanna hear something ironic? Imodium AD actually tried to stage an intervention with me!!!

Forget about the Government Debt Ceiling Bill or MTV turning 30; I have an update on a dangerous epidemic sweeping the nation that’s going shamefully under-reported by the media: The Imodium Ad shortage of 2011.


I first shared my concerns here in June and my wife joked that maybe my mass Imodium consumption had caused a shortage of some sorts and it appears that might be the case. After striking out in my local stores, I branched out.  Three different CVS managers and a Wal-Mart employee plus an employee from a Pennsylvania supermarket have told me that there was a recall on Imodium AD, but I can’t find anything about a recall online, in the farmer’s almanac or with Ask Asa. I doubted them because I figured that of all people, I would know if there was a recall, it’s not like they wouldn’t publicize it or spread the word. Have you ever heard of a secret recall? No – they spread the word like Officer Bird and tell people everywhere if something is wrong! That’s how things get recalled – they let people know.  And don’t tell me to get the store brand – it’s not the same! After scouring three states to no avail, I got strategic and went on the website for Imodium AD and called the Consumer Care Center at the number listed.

Before you even ask – No, I am not a crazy person nor am I a junkie looking for a fix…I’m just a concerned citizen looking for answers. OK, maybe I am a junkie looking for a fix – but this is getting suspicious and don’t judge me!  I can tell you with absolute certainty that I now know what they meant in May with all that Rapture and the world ending talk. If I’m lying in my bed, covered in sweat while trembling in fear and this is only a nightmare – PLEASE WAKE ME UP!!!

Let me just start by saying that the Imodium customer service agent was the absolute coolest and nicest lady ever! She assured me it wasn’t a recall and that it was a shortage of supply to fill the demand. Take that in and let me repeat it – it’s a shortage of supply. She was reassuring me that everything would be OK and we were on the way to becoming besties, when the call suddenly took a wrong turn and veered downhill.

Agent: “Sir, can I get your contact info and we can put you on our mailing list for coupons and then contact you when Imodium AD is available back in your area again?”


I proceeded to give her my phone number, address, and then told her my email address.

Agent: “Sir, can you repeat your email address for me?”

Me: “immodiumabuser (at)

Agent: “Sir, Stop it right now, I don’t believe that. Is that really your email address?”

Me: “Of course it is, why would I ask you to contact me and give you the wrong email address? What kind of person does that? Email me while we’re on the phone and I’ll email you back.”

Agent: “Sir, are you kidding with me?”

Me: “I’m being serious, why would I waste my time to call you if I wasn’t looking for help here? I’m not a lunatic – I just want to know when and where I can get my Imodium.”


I then filled her in on how I can’t go anywhere without my Imodium, take it 24/7 if I need to leave the house, how this site is a love letter to Imodium AD, and basically how it saved my life and made me a productive citizen. Needless to say, her end of the line got a lot quieter.

Agent: “Sir, how much Imodium do you take? How many have you taken today?”

Me: “5 pills”

Agent: “Sir – its 11 AM! Why have you already taken 5 pills?”

Me: “Maam, I work almost an hour from home…”

Agent: “Sir, Please don’t take any more today…”

Me: “Maam, I won’t be able to eat lunch if I don’t take anymore.”

Agent: “Sir, How many days have you been taking that many?”

Me: “Days, it’s been since 1994. I never would have been able to go to Woodstock in 1994, or college for that matter…”

Agent: “Sir, that is not OK. We do not recommend that many pills to be taken for that period of time and we don’t test on that dosage. We test on the dosage listed on the back of the box. You can be causing internal damage to your organs and…”

Me: “Maam, I’m sure I don’t even have internal organs anymore between all the Imodium, the alcohol and everything else – I’m convinced that if you were to X-Ray my body, it would go straight from Esophagus to Anus with nothing in between…”

Agent: “Sir, have you taken anything else today?”

Me: “Just some Tylenol, why…”

Agent: “How many of those have you taken and which kind?”

Me: “I took three Tylenol Extra Strength because I had a headache when I woke up.”

Agent: “Sir, Legally I now have to give you the number for Poison Control because you have exceeded the recommended dosage on those products. We also make Tylenol – do you have a pen? 1-800-222-1222. Please repeat it back to me so I know that you wrote it down.”

Me: (laughing) “1-800-222-1222 (which really is the number for the American Association of Poison Control Centers) I got it but I don’t need that number. I don’t care if you tell me that there’s gasoline or pesticide in Imodium and that it’ll kill me by New Year’s Eve – it works and I’m gonna take it either way! I didn’t call to get you nervous and I’m not looking to sue you guys or anything – I just need the Imodium to be available again!”

Agent: “Sir, this is not OK and I am really concerned. Obviously I cannot tell you not to take Imodium AD, but I must caution you that we do not test it in the quantity that you take it in.”

Me: “Listen Maam, I love Imodium AD more than anyone out there and I can guarantee that you will never find anyone more loyal to it than me. It has changed my life and I want to be the spokesperson for you. How can I get my face on the box – can you help me with that?” (we both laughed at this) “My wife wouldn’t let me send in my testimonial. Seriously, I just need it back on the shelves.”

None of these are available? What's going on?

I reassured her that I was fine and just wanted to find the Imodium and she was able to help me find 5 different locations (ShopRite, A & P, Food Emporium and 2 K-Marts) with Imodium AD in stock. Forget the Amber Alert – she had a listing of stores within 30 miles of my house along with their phone numbers so I could confirm before I went. She could tell if they had 6 packs, 12 packs, or 24 packs – unfortunately no one had the 72 packs in stock, but who was I to complain? I don’t know why the White House didn’t have these guys looking for Bin Laden, because with their pin point accuracy and precision – they could have bagged that fool years ago!
She really was a very nice lady and told me that she would go and check out this site when she got home from work that night. I’m sure she probably thought that I was a lunatic, but later that night I did see a small spike in hits… I’m sure they record those calls and will probably play my call at their holiday party so everyone can have a good laugh at my expense.

The best part was that my boss walked into my office while I was on the phone and asked who I was on the phone with and didn’t believe me when I said Imodium. He shook his head and then he looked at me like I was crazy. As he sat down to listen to me, he realized that I really was on the phone with them. He also didn’t expect (and neither did I – to be honest) that I would be on the phone for over forty minutes with them either.  

As if that wasn’t enough, I got a letter and authorization form in the mail a couple of days after the call requesting my medical records. How crazy is that? I just want my Imodium on the shelves and they want to talk with my doctors. They haven’t requested my photo for the box yet, but I’m sure that letter should come any day now. When it does and my picture on the box makes me the international face of Diarrhea – I’ll remember each and every one of you!

Imodium Letter 1

Imodium Letter 2

Phoenix Schmeenix! It wasn’t breast trip I’ve ever been on!

In case you can’t read this, the car window says “A WHOLE LOTTA BREASTS UP AHEAD! Who doesn’t love Coachella?

I couldn’t even escape the lunatics at the hotel bar. All of a sudden this random guy sits down cheery as can be because he has had the best sales day of his career. Apparently, he’s a paint salesman and had sold 33,000 gallons that day. He didn’t get my joke when I asked if he had to lug each paint can door to door…and then he proceeded to tell me that he was “The right guy, selling the right paint, to the right people at the right time.” I busted out laughing at that and he got annoyed because I accidentally laughed in his face.  I said “‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to laugh, I just thought you were kidding.” Apparently, the paint industry is very serious.  I couldn’t be that mean either because it was an airport property and there weren’t that many people in the bar. I had very limited conversation choices: it was either talk with him about paint in all it’s glory or talk to the 20ish girl tending bar who said she was trying to get something “heartfelt” for her boyfriend’s graduation at Walmart. She gave me a dirty look when I laughed out loud but I couldn’t tell if he was graduating from Walmart or what she thought might be “heartfelt” there anyway.

Start to finish, this was the worst trip I’ve ever been on. I started out almost knocking myself unconscious in the driveway when I hit my head with the trunk while trying to close it after loading luggage in which resulted in a big red gash on my forehead, I ended up delayed seven hours at various airports, getting bumped from two flights and missing a connecting flight, had a full-on anxiety attack because they didn’t send my luggage with the flight for some reason but still charged me to check the bag, then I found out that I was charged for two airline tickets instead of one and then they proceeded to tell me that it was my fault, the boxes with presentation giveaways for my clients that I had shipped to my hotel didn’t arrive on time, and did I mention the heat and the sweating?


That’s not even to talk about the old lady on the security line who was holding everything up because security had to come over. Apparently, she thought it was a good idea to bring two cans of tuna fish, a plastic squeeze bottle of mayonnaise, slices of bread, and a plastic knife in her carry-on bag. She was gonna make a little snack mid-flight. What is wrong with people that they think they can make stinky tuna sandwich on a plane? The stink alone is reason not to do it even if it was allowed – but seriously, where was she planning on draining that tuna? Why wouldn’t you make the sandwich before-hand?

After her I was at my gate (before the first delay and then de-planing) and the lady scanning the boarding passes had to call security on the guy in front of me. After being told his carry on bag was too big, he took all of his clothes out and carried them under his arm and abandoned the suitcase at her counter and tried to walk around her and board the plane with an armful of shirts, boxers, pants, and socks. She was yelling at him not to leave his bag there unattended and he tried to ignore her so she called security. I never did see him get on the plane, so who knows what happened to him after that…

Am I the only one who goes through the airport security line scanning the crowd to see who I would be friends with if we crashed onto an island like Oceanic 815 did on LOST? Obviously, I’m not looking for Kate, Hurley, or Jack, but I give the people a once-over and see who’s gonna be dead-weight if a boar comes charging at us, who’s most likely a fugitive, who has a drug problem…and It helps me realize that as crazy as I may be, there are quite a few more nuts than me!!!

The upsides to living in a condemned building…

Off-campus housing in college is always a challenge.  For some reason, I always seemed to wait until the last-minute to finalize and during my second senior year, I mistakenly let my friend Weezie handle everything. I should have known something was up when we got a prime spot on Clayton Street across from the bars, but who thinks like that?

School was starting in two days and Weezie called to tell me that we had somehow “lost” our apartment because other tenants were showing up and moving in and we now had nowhere to live for the school year. Apparently, the two landlords that owned the building had a parting of the ways and both of them had rented our apartment out to separate tenants. They both took the money and ran, so they were suing each other – which forced the court to appoint a Trustee to handle everything relating to their properties. Here it is two days before school starts and it was like musical chairs – the music stopped and there were not enough rooms for every one of us that was still dancing. 

It is probably my fault for planning on living with a lunatic, but Weezie was a close friend and we were together almost daily – so who better to live with?  She called and explained to me how people kept showing up and claiming rooms, but no one could find either one of the landlords. The Trustee finally showed up to help settle the situation, wanting to keep the peace and he offered to find us other housing since the other roommates had already shown up and were getting settled. Not gonna work buddy – we had to live there.

That apartment was a wreck; It had only one heating vent in the living room for the whole apartment, so no other room had any sort of heat and the winters in upstate NY are brutal. There were four bedrooms and my tiny little bedroom had a door leading out to a metal fire escape that wasn’t fully attached to the building – it actually used to bang against the building during storms. That wouldn’t have been so bad if there also wasn’t a ten-inch gap between the bottom of the fire escape door and the door frame which allowed the wind, rain, and snow to come in if there weren’t towels and blankets jammed in there. The furniture was old, mismatched, wobbly, and disgusting (even before my roommate that we liked to affectionately call “Unibrow” (for obvious reasons)  pissed all over the couch like a stray cat one night when he was drunk), the windows were broken or wouldn’t stay open unless propped up with books, and the stove didn’t always work.

The apartment was on the second floor in a condemned building that was scheduled to be torn down after the semester to make a parking lot for the YWCA next door, but it was on the bottom of Clayton Street steps from the bars and my friends were living in the houses next door, so I never gave it a second thought. Clayton Street is a long steep hill with the college campus at the top of the hill and the bars at the bottom of the hill and the apartment was in the last house at the bottom of the street across from the bars which more than made up for not having heat, working appliances, or a sanitary environment. You know what they say – location, location, location (so you can understand the importance of us not losing that apartment).

So the Trustee “worked everything out” with Weezie  as the two of them had now become friends. She was to live out in the back building, which was literally an old garage that was crudely converted into separate upstairs and downstairs apartments. Another feature of the apartment was that it was actually on an incline; if you put a basketball on the floor and let it go, it would roll towards the corner. It was so dingy in there that the Trustee gave us a case of beer if Weezie and I agreed to paint the inside of the garage (I mean apartment) so you can just imagine what it looked like. A case of beer is hard to pass up and I wasn’t that invested since I didn’t have to sleep out there, so we painted it.  Also, keep in mind that she was living with two strangers in there and didn’t have a door on her room. These apartments were also illegal so Weezie couldn’t get a phone out there, couldn’t get cable, and couldn’t even get mail delivered back there; but as I said the location more than made up for any negatives the place might have had.  

The window to her “living room” was about twenty-five feet from my bedroom fire escape door, so she would throw things at my door or scream HOOKA!!! out her window to get my attention and see if I wanted to go get lunch at the Grill Room or watch a movie. Since she didn’t have cable, she’d have to come over to watch anything or borrow a movie. One day I came home to find Smokey missing and a screwdriver rammed into my front door with a note saying “Walter, I have your dog!” which is a quote from The Burbs. 

I thought she was crazy to live out there, but I didn’t really argue with her because I still got to live in the apartment that we were originally supposed to, although with two strangers. It was awkward – they didn’t like that I had a dog that kept shitting in Unibrow’s bedroom and used to chew his books and piss on his bed, but like I said – location made up for a lot. I also didn’t like that Evan would order food and then go have sex with his girlfriend and of course when the food was delivered – they were still going at it. It actually isn’t as awkward as you might think to answer the door to a pizza delivery guy to the sounds of Evan’s bed banging against the wall, him moaning and his girlfriend screaming as you might think.  You might imagine that Evan’s girlfriend would be embarrassed when she dismounted and came out scrounging for food when they were done, but you would be mistaken for thinking that. She’d come strolling out of his room with him following shortly after like they just got back from running an errand, making small talk as if he hadn’t just pounded the shit out of her and everyone in the building had heard it. 

Here I was thinking I made out better than Weezie and then she started getting hand-written notes from the Trustee with cute stickers on the envelope. Now, ponder that for a second because what man in his mid fifties sends hand-written notes with stickers on the envelopes to a random girl he just met? My thoughts exactly. I only knew she was getting hand-written notes because she had to use my address as she couldn’t get mail out back. I also came to find out that Weezie was paying hundreds of dollars less than me for the rent. When I questioned the Trustee, he told me that Weezie had been through a lot. As if I hadn’t? Unless by being through a lot, he meant him hitting that…To this day, Weezie denies that there was anything between her and the Trustee besides friendship, but I am still not convinced. It could have all been innocent, but all those visits from him and the stickers and notes were pretty odd if you ask me…Also, this is the same girl who still denies that there was almost a fist fight in her sorority house because someone ate one of her frozen eggos, but I digress…In her defense, I must say that Weezie will admit to coming home to her sorority house one night and  finding a bowl that she had made in Ceramics class that had been used as an ashtray and went to Sara‘s room pounding on the door (Sara was being pounded by her boyfriend at the time, but it didn’t stop Weezie’s pounding at the door) and when Sara answered the door in just a towel, Weezie attacked her and almost beat the shit out of her too…

So over winter break, the pipes out in Weezie’s apartment/garage burst and she couldn’t live there anymore. A studio apartment opened up in the main house on the second floor, so the Trustee brought Weezie over to see it. She took one look at the rickety loft bed with desk under it and told the Trustee “I can’t have sex on that thing – it’ll fall apart and will never hold me.” Who says that? She still denies that she said that, but like I said these stories are all made up…She ended up moving into the studio and the chaos just kept on going…

More on that apartment and that glorious street later…