What goes up must come down. Pride comes before the fall. Not every man can be living the dream at the same time, all the time. For every instance of a smoking hot babe falling straight into your lap, some other poor bastard is catching crabs from his girlfriend who cheated on him with a hygiene deficient hipster. Life is made up of highs and lows. Today, I’ve decided to share one of my personal lows.
It was my freshman year, I was a pledge, and it was the night of my fraternity’s most anticipated party of the semester. Everyone knows that pledge life consists of nonstop suffering and humiliation, so when you’re given the opportunity to enjoy yourself, you take it. As pledges, we were absolutely forbidden to enjoy ourselves or consume alcohol, but when the actives were too shitfaced to enforce their own rules it was relatively easy to get away with things that would’ve normally resulted in intense behavioral correction exercises.
This event was a paint-themed annual mixer held in an off-campus location with one of our favorite sororities. Thousands of tubes of different colored paint were dispersed throughout the crowd, and by the time the 80s cover band finished playing you couldn’t tell one wasted motherfucker from another. This obviously made it easier for the pledges to get away with drinking. Being an opportunist, I decided to get completely obliterated.
I would later be told that the party was a huge success, with multiple dance floor OTPHJs and several mistaken identity makeouts taking place. Afterward, everyone boarded the buses that our chapter had rented to safely transport people back and forth from campus, but for some reason…I did not. One of the actives decided to drive me, one of my pledge brothers, and a random girl back to campus in his truck. I don’t know why we thought this was a good idea, but we did.
By some miracle of God, we safely made it back to campus and into a parking garage in the heart of the dorm area. I stumbled from the backseat of the truck wearing only a bathing suit, because I had lost my shirt and shoes during the chaos of the party. Immediately upon exiting the truck I decided to relieve myself, facing the back of the parking garage and undoing the Velcro of my swimsuit. Seconds into my liquid evacuation session, my pledge brother yelled, “Shit! Cops! Stop pissing!” I instinctively tucked-and-rolled over the concrete barricade and out of the parking garage in an attempt to avoid arrest.
There were several basic flaws in my ill-advised escape attempt. I hadn’t thought things through, or realized that we were on the second floor. I’m not saying that information would’ve stopped me from fleeing, as I was already on probation and really couldn’t afford to get arrested again, but it probably would’ve gotten me to change my exit strategy.
After flailing 15-feet through the air, I landed in the grass with a loud thud, cracking a rib or two and groaning in pain on impact. I looked up and realized that I had unfortunately landed right next to yet another university police cruiser, which was occupied by a friendly officer who immediately exited his vehicle and approached me.
“What in the hell is wrong with you, son?” the officer asked as he struggled to pull me to my feet. “Are you part of some kinda suicide art cult?”
Just then his walkie-talkie buzzed: “We’ve got a runner. Tall, presumably white male, covered in paint.”
The officer promptly cuffed me and led me back into the parking garage, and the remainder of the night is only partially remembered because of the sobering affect that adrenaline has on the human body. I was read my rights and charged with public intoxication along with evading arrest. The officers were also kind enough to write everyone else MIPs, repeatedly reminding them that they were only being ticketed because of my attempt to flee.
I remember my first thought after realizing I had fucked everyone: My pledge trainer is going to fucking kill me.
I was taken to the county jail, where after being patted down I was ordered to disrobe so that they could hose me down to get the paint off my body. I told the cops to go fuck themselves, and they told me that I could either undress myself, or they would undress me. Obviously I opted for the former. I was the only person in the drunk tank forced to wear a prison jumpsuit and foam sandals, because I didn’t have shirt or shoes. To make matters worse, the prison jumpsuit was a v-neck, and my mugshot strangely resembled a photo of me as a “lost boy” in my middle school’s 8th grade production of “Peter Pan.”
The police department was kind enough to provide me with a blanket, as I was shivering like a leaf after being hosed down in the freezing, shithole county jail. I woke up the next morning on the floor of the jail, still wrapped in the blanket which was now soaking wet because I had pissed myself in the night, with patches of dried paint all over my face and body. At 10:00am, the magistrate informed me that I was still not sober enough to be released on a recognizance bond, and later that afternoon when they finally let me out I had to catch a ride with another criminal back to my dorm because I didn’t have a cell phone, and couldn’t remember anyone’s number.
My pledge trainer, and the entire active chapter, made my life a living hell for the remainder of the semester, and I was officially branded “the fuck up pledge” of my pledge class (which was well-deserved). Not only that, but my probation was extended another year, and my parents nearly disowned me.
It was a low point in fraternity life.