I Attended A National Fraternity Convention And Now I’m Scarred For Life

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I had always been aware of our national reputation. We have a few solid chapters across the country, but outside of those standouts, we don’t have shit worth showing off. I never knew the true reality of just how dire our situation is, though.

Two years into my fraternity career, and I find myself possessing the title of pledge educator. How did I get that position? To this day, I couldn’t even give you a bullshit answer, but I was the best damn surprise pledge educator the chapter had ever seen. As October came to a close, my new pledges were well past the halfway point of their pledgeship. My job was nearly over and life was great. But then, just minutes after arriving to the house for dinner one night, I was approached by our president with an email from our national HQ. They were implementing a new national leadership training program that required the attendance of four members of the chapter: the president, vice president, pledge educator, and rush chair. Instead of requiring the next batch of officers slated for those positions to attend, nationals specifically requested the current owners of those positions attend this godawful summer conference to learn about positions they had already completed. That makes a ton of fucking sense. Whatever — I guess I’ll go. It’s not like I’m doing anything else anyway.

Day One: Thanks to a delayed flight, the three officers and myself managed to shave five hours off our three days in hell. Until now, we had been taking solace in the possibility that we’d be allowed to room together. As we approached the place that would trap us for the weekend, I noticed it was a surprisingly upscale hotel in the middle of a major west coast city. Maybe there was a chance this wouldn’t be so bad after all.

We finally entered the hotel in which the event was housed only to be handed keys to separate rooms. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought. “Here we go.”

I opened the door of Room 233 to meet Frank. I’m calling him Frank because that’s his real name and he’s a weird piece of shit. Frank was from a university outside of Boston that I had never heard of or cared about before. Frank from Boston was wearing a mesh flag football jersey featuring the fraternity crest on his chest, gym shorts with the fraternity name embroidered down the seam, and fucking Crocs with our Greek letters painted onto the toes.

To make matters worse, he spoke…

“Hey, dude. What’s up, brother? I’m Frank. You vape?”

Thoughts of jumping out of the nearest window entered my brain.

Dinner was quickly approaching, and I used this as an excuse to escape back to my kind. As I met my chapter brothers in the lobby, I quickly realized that we were the odd men out. We were surrounded by a living Fail Friday. I actually sent TFM Intern a Snapchat from the lobby. He very well may have pissed himself with glee as he took in the many Fail Friday potential participants weighing down that hotel.

My chapter ate dinner together and were then forced to return to our rooms. I walked into the room in time to overhear the end of Frank’s conversation with his mother. Two steps into the room and he begins describing to his mother the attractiveness of the easily 50-year-old maid cleaning the rooms along our hallway. It was with that I nope’d the fuck out and went to drown my misery at the bars downtown with my chapter.

Around 2 A.M. we stumbled back to our hell for the week. As I settled into bed, I heard a faint “Have a great night’s sleep, brother” from across the room. Thanks, Frank.

I hadn’t been laying in bed 5 minutes before a loud thud shook my door. Frank and I raced to the peephole. After I allowed my eyes to adjust for the blurriness in my drunken vision, I saw a flash run across the door. As I opened the door, a mountain of wooden objects fell into the doorframe. Chairs, nightstands, benches, and even a coffee table all vied for entry into Room 233. As Frank flipped his shit, I saw the rumbling ball of obesity that was my chapter brother hauling ass for the elevator. It didn’t take me long to realize where all of this furniture came from. That blackout motherfucker loaded the furniture from his own room into the elevator and left it outside my door. I chased him back to his floor, only to find him waiting on an elevator with his mattress in hand, apparently preparing for round two.

I returned to Frank searching for his phone. The conversation went something like this.

Frank: “Should I call the police or are you going to do it?”

Me: “Why the fuck would we call the police, Frank?”

Frank: “Are you just going to let that guy take advantage of you like that? He clearly has no concern for your personal safety and is only concerned with not being able to control his alcohol.”

Me: “It’s cool, Frank. There’s no need to get anyone in trouble. I’ll have it taken care of by the morning.”

Frank: “If you say so, but just know that being a doormat is no way to go through life.”

Fuck you, Frank.

At some point overnight, my chapter brother realized he needed furniture in his room and retrieved his loot, solving one issue.

Day Two: It was at this point that they made us split into groups comprised of officers from other chapters that held the same position as ourselves. A 6 A.M. wake-up call courtesy of Frank’s mom was only the start to a phenomenal day.

As I begrudgingly made my way through a sea of block letter t-shirts and fraternity flip flops to the 8 A.M. session, I was stopped by a very extroverted guy with a name that I cannot remember. I could tell just by the way he approached that he wanted me to join him in something that I had no desire to participate in.

“Good morning, brother! I see you’re wearing an XYZ University, shirt. I’m on a mission to take a selfie with a brother from every chapter in the country while doing our national hand sign. Would you like to help me check your chapter off the list?”

It was at this point that I truly felt like I was in another world. This was either a dream or I had died and actually entered hell. It wasn’t just a joke anymore. Unfortunately, I was so shocked by his request that my mind failed to tame my response.

All I could blurt out was, “The fuck? We have that shit?”

He responded with one of the most mind-blowing statements I have ever heard a fraternity man speak.

“Oh, well, it’s not a national thing, but my chapter made one because it looks good in group pictures.”

I couldn’t listen to this dipshit run his mouth any longer. I told him I was late and practically ran to my assigned session.

The day itself was nothing more than exactly what you’d expect from a national conference full of goobers. A lot of unnecessarily emotional speeches. A lot of easily offended losers making cases for an end to all hazing including designated driving and even pledge meetings. Even an appeal from the national president to give them money. Forget that you drug my ass here, they now want me to fund their pathetic excuse for a national organization.

After dinner we again hit the bars to drown our misery. We came back around 1 A.M. to find a large gathering in the lobby. A 30-rack of Natty was sitting on a coffee table in the middle of a group of about 10 guys. We were drunk enough to encroach upon their activity before fleeing in the opposite direction like a spooked cat as we had done since the beginning.

Our president took the lead on this one.

“Y’all getting fucked ass up over here or what?”

Random Boner 1: “Yeah, brother! We all got together and decided there was no better way to close out the day than getting drunk on some beer.”

President: “So, all of you are splitting a 30-rack?”

Random Boner 2: “Well I’ve already had three so I should probably call it off soon. I’m pretty drunk.”

Random Boner 1: “Hahahahaha yeah dude, you’re getting pretty bad.”

We then fled like spooked cats. Fuck that. I’m not one to scoff at someone for not having a tolerance, but ten guys actually getting drunk off of a split 30-rack of Natural Light is something that should never happen. Just never. Sorry.

Day Three: We made it. The final day was here. We only had to make it through lunch and our trip to home would begin. After a rather late wake-up call from Frank’s mom at 7:30 A.M., we packed up our shit, brought our bags to the lobby, and prepared for the final four hours of satan’s fury.

At this point they allowed us to sit together as a chapter. We were paired at a table with a chapter from California. After nearly 72-hours on the ground, we had finally found a surprisingly normal chapter. As the closing ceremony began, the national president took the stage to announce his personal thoughts on every single fucking chapter in the country. After nearly 20-minutes, he reached my chapter.

“These guys have struggled to behave in recent years. The past decade has been a tumultuous one. They’ve always been strong in numbers, but not always in character, unfortunately. With that said, they are now two years probation free, and I hope to make that last for an eternity.”

Thanks, bud. You know how hard we work to please you.

The ceremony eventually came to a conclusion over two hours later. The parting words were asking for us to visit the laptops at the side of the stage to register for the next national convention to be held the following summer. As the goobers lined up several dozen deep for the chance to experience Boner Convention 2.0 in slightly over 365 days, the California chapter and my own slipped out the back, past the line of waiting buses bound for the airport, and took an Uber directly to the terminal.

It has now been several years since that experience, and to this day I am not quite the same. I knew goobers existed in college. I knew they existed in fraternities. Hell, I work for a website that features these losers every Friday. I never knew they existed in such numbers, though.

I love my chapter. I love my letters, but if I ever have to attend a national convention again you’ll find me in the river. Nobody should suffer that fate. That’s just cruel.

Image via TFM Fail Friday


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