Stage 1: Post-Initiation
Once initiated, a JI is introduced to a multitude of new fraternal aspects. These include acceptance by the brothers, knowledge of the rituals and signals, and basic human rights. There’s also the pleasure of enjoying full nights of weekday sleep without being interrupted by blackout fifth years who burst into the room to demand a ride to Whataburger, but moments later pass out in the pledge’s bed and vomit Whataburger all over his pillow as the pledge is getting dressed, because the fifth year is so blackout that he has forgotten that he already ate Whataburger.
One of the other new aspects of post-initiated life is gaining access to chapter. This, like everything else, is exciting to the JI. Oh sweet, naïve, basically-still-as-retarded-as-a-pledge JI. They don’t know any better. As a pledge they most likely spent chapter time doing study hours somewhere. Now they’ve gone from using that time productively to participating in an activity as pointless as a mortician giving a corpse a happy ending. That’s how productive most chapters are, in case any soon-to-be JIs were wondering, about as productive as beating off a dead body.
But even if every single other brother dreads heading to the chapter room, the JI’s excitement will refuse to wane. It’s new! It’s a meeting! It’s democracy! MY VOICE WILL BE HEARD AND IMPORTANT THINGS WILL BE DISCUSSED HERE! Which is half true, if you consider your chapter’s most worthless sophomore complaining about the quality of last week’s chicken sandwiches or the treasurer imploring kids he knows DAMN WELL can afford to pay social fee to actually pay social fee to be important. No JI’s voice will be heard though, unless that voice says, “Hey you guys, as I was walking into chapter I noticed a gaggle of Tri-Delts setting up a blowjob stand outside our house! Dollar blowjobs for all!” Even then, he’ll probably have to say it twice.
Stage 2: A Brother’s First Position
This happens when a brother is a sophomore and is given his first position in the fraternity. It’s usually something pointless and barely necessary, like chapter historian. But don’t tell this guy that, because to him chapter historian is tantamount to being that centuries old knight guarding the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I AM THE KEEPER OF HISTORY!
If the house caught on fire this guy would try to pull a Dolley Madison and save the portrait of the chapter’s founding father, except he would probably die in that fire. Hey chief, no one cares if you save a painting of man who was once known to his peers as “toe dick.”
This is the guy that’s going to give updates at chapter like, “Great party last weekend guys, I know we all raged pretty hard. Wanted you guys to know that I took a lot of great pictures and they’re up on our Facebook page so you guys can all check them out.” Moments after that worthless update the historian will have his soul crushed when the president berates him for posting two hundred pictures so incriminating that even NBA players would be disgusted.
Despite the fact that most of his pledge brothers, already by their sophomore year, have developed a severe hatred for chapter meetings (see Stage 4), this guy still clings to that initial enthusiasm. It’s because having something new to do at chapter, and feeling important at chapter, reinvigorates his enthusiasm for the meetings.
This is all despite the fact that he is basically as vital to this meeting as the plot is to a porno called “The Sluts Before Time.” I have a sneaking suspicion that he, like the porn stars dressed as slutty cave girls, knows as much. But it doesn’t matter, because he’ll continue to read updates like, “On this date in chapter history in 1974,” despite constantly being interrupted by brothers saying, “We don’t give a shit,” the same way those porn stars will continue to read lines like, “Oh no! The T-Rex is after us,” only to be interrupted by a dick barreling into their mouths.
Stage 3: Holding an Important Position
If a brother holds an important position in the chapter then they most likely previously held a lesser, essentially meaningless position. What this means is that by this point even holding a significant office, like something on exec board, does not excite them, unless they’re total boners. More likely they approach their position dutifully and in a matter of fact manner, or if they’re the president of a shitty/drunken anarchical fraternity, or the treasurer of any fraternity, they probably hate chapter.
After all, there are only so many times a president can say, “please for the love of God stop lighting couches on fire, we’re running out of places to sit and excuses to give the fire department.”
Also, there are only so many ways a treasurer can implore, “Pay your Goddamn dues! You’re on TFM all day posting pictures of yourselves deep-sea fishing and whatnot to make strangers think you’re rich but you can’t write a fucking check? Fuck all of you!”
And when both the president and the treasurer have to plead to the chapter, “DO NOT use fraternity checks as kindling for your couch fires, it costs us money and then we don’t have any checks to buy new couches with,” well, that’s when these meetings get pretty Goddamn miserable. Why? Because the only thing worse than being forced to listen to someone who wants to talk, but shouldn’t, is being forced to talk to people who don’t want to listen, but should. Plus they elected you to talk, what kind of sick joke is that?
The only thing that could make a scenario like that more annoying is the historian hurriedly flipping through the chapter annals and chiming in with what he assumes is a relevant tidbit like, “In recorded chapter history only the sofa riots of 1936 saw more burned couches in this town than our current semester.” NOW’S NOT THE FUCKING TIME!
Stage 4: Hate and/or Indifference
These stages are not sequential. Any brother can skip from Stage 1 to Stage 4 in as quickly as a few chapters. Stage 4 is where most brothers land, and usually sooner rather than later. Stage 4s detest the JIs for insisting on giving their opinion on fraternity business, even though that opinion is as informed as a Starbucks barista’s is about tax cuts. The young guys holding worthless appointed positions, who extend chapter meetings by a solid twenty to thirty minutes in order to update everyone about pointless crap, endlessly annoy the Stage 4s. Even the Stage 3s, the guys holding important positions, are fairly insufferable, if only because they are probably reprimanding the Stage 4s for whatever the hell they did that weekend.
“You’re being brought to standards because you threw up in JI’s laundry hamper, stole the house checkbook to make your second Whataburger run of the night, instead used those checks as kindling for a couch fire, and our historian is in the hospital because of smoke inhalation after he tried to save the painting of Brother Toe Dick that was hanging above the couch that YOU lit on fire. Your hearing is Wednesday night at 9pm. May God have mercy on your twisted soul.”
Chapter is rough for Stage 4s.