When a fraternity’s young alumni return to their college town, all hell tends to break loose. They have no supervision, there are very few (if any) repercussions for their actions, and they hold nothing back. As an active, you just have to hope they concentrate on terrorizing the pledges and don’t bang out anyone’s girlfriend by dropping the “I’m a lawyer” line, or cause too much destruction. Young alumni destruction is undoubtedly one of the most infuriating things a house manager ever has to deal with. So much drywall destroyed and no one to make fix it as punishment. Maybe fraternities should start instituting an “own goal” type rule, wherein the last active/pledge to hand the destructive alumnus a drink is responsible for his damages, the same way the last player to touch the ball on the opposing team is credited as the goal scorer after an own goal. Eh, fuck it, just blame the pledges.
Young alumni rampages are almost always random and almost certainly excessive. There’s nothing worse than getting in a fight with another fraternity that some drunk 24-year-old started because, for some reason in his Rumple Mintz-induced rage blackout, he can remember a flagrant foul in a rec league basketball game from 2008, but not how to use a toilet.
“We fought [insert totally random house] last night!?! We don’t even have a problem with them, and they live four blocks away. Why?”
“Yeah I don’t know, but that alum Bill was outside their house threatening to cut their dicks off. After the brawl was over, he went back to the house, pissed in a corner of the formal room, and passed out with no pants on.”
On Monday, that alum goes back to being a financial advisor.
Young alumni aren’t drinking for anything fun, like celebrations. They can’t be entertained, restrained, or partied with. Young alumni just want to watch the world burn. As a young alum myself, I can attest to this firsthand. Ironically, as the “young” part of that title becomes increasingly debatable, I get thrown into a depression and drink even more when I go back to Columbia. All the partying makes me feel young again, which is also ironic since it’s actually probably pushing me closer to midlife by decreasing my life expectancy.
Young alumni aren’t drinking for anything fun, like celebrations. They can’t be entertained, restrained, or partied with. Young alumni just want to watch the world burn.
I guess there are people out there who would observe me guzzling Bud Lights and Trops as I stumble from Harpo’s to Big 12 to Quinton’s while hitting on every cute 19-year-old girl I see and think to themselves, “Grow up, asshole.” But you know what? The people thinking that are the assholes. College towns like Columbia aren’t meant to be visited with reverence or restraint — they’re meant to be visited with revelry. Intense revelry. Inappropriate revelry. Questionably legal and absolutely unhealthy revelry. If there’s one thing I learned from the film Hook, aside from the fact that it’s hilarious to put out empty pots at a soup kitchen and insist that the bums have to use their imaginations if they want to eat, it’s that you’re not going to have any fun in Neverland if you arrive with an uptight attitude and an unwillingness to act like a kid. It took Robin Williams like 70 minutes to figure that out. Now that I have been a young alum, I get it, and I’m childlike upon arrival.
Still, I’ve rarely gotten outrageously out of hand, and with young alumni, things can escalate to shameful heights, even for them. Sometimes it gets to the point where you actually wonder with awe and bewilderment, as if a towering volcano has just sprung from the Earth raining hell and death right in front of you, “How in the FUCK did this happen?” While I was an active, I was at the center of one of those moments, nearly choking to death as a naked woman screamed, a government agent laughed, and my house seemed as if it was burning to the ground. I should probably elaborate.
The weekend of my fraternity’s alumni golf tournament, my (first) senior year was more heavily attended than years previous for whatever reason. Most of the participants in the tournament were in the 24 to 40-years-old range. The increase in young alumni attendance essentially guaranteed that something really fucking stupid was going to happen, of that I was sure. What I did not realize was that this really fucking stupid thing was going to happen to me.
On Friday, the day before the tournament, some of the younger alums who had just arrived in Columbia after leaving work earlier that day hit the town with the older actives. It was at Bengal’s Bar and Grill where I first met Nick, the 27-year-old alumnus who would, a few hours later, be turning my relatively normal evening into a nightmare hellscape. I had never met Nick before. A fifth year senior named Joe introduced him to me. “Hey Rob, this is Nick. He was kind of like the you of the house when he was there. The funny guy who messed with people and wrote the serenades and stuff,” Joe explained. At the time that introduction seemed innocuous and relatable. I had no idea it was going to come back to haunt me, like the way that house in the movie The Conjuring is haunted, which is to say, aggressively.
Nick and I said hello, joked around for a little bit, and that was about it. I left thinking he was a pretty cool guy. For the rest of the night I do not recall having any interaction with Nick, though I will grant that I was pretty blacked out. I remember meeting up with my then girlfriend at some point, but other than that, the night is a mystery. My memories only come back into focus a moment or two before the incident happened, as I was mounted on top of my naked girlfriend, my bare ass in the air, drunk off of said ass, probably about three-quarters cocked, one eye closed to fight off double vision and the spins, and otherwise without a care in the world. What I’m trying to say is that I was having a pretty romantic evening. By the way ladies, I’m single.
Before I go any further, though, I have to backtrack. What would transpire that night did so for three reasons:
1.Nick was apparently a “prankster” when he was in school. Young alumni love to relive their former roles when they visit their college towns. The ex-president chats about fraternity politics and the bullshit he had to deal with in his day with current exec members. The rec league all-star asks how the teams are, calls some other house the fraternity was rivals with in his day “fags” and possibly starts a fight. The fat, drunk, asshole acts like a fat, drunk asshole, though to be fair he might still be acting that way everyday. The pussyhound is once again banging out some 20-year-old, and chances are it’s in your bed. Nick the prankster was no different.
2.Nick was really, really drunk.
3.Nick was a Homeland Security agent.
A shitfaced drunk young alumnus visiting his fraternity, who loves playing pranks and happens to be a Homeland Security agent, is quite possibly one of the worst combinations you can have in a human being if you’re hoping your encounter with them will have a pleasant outcome. If this story is any indication, you absolutely DO NOT want to be on the wrong end of that.
After we met at Bengal’s and I went on my way, Nick went on his way as well. He went back to the fraternity house where he got incredibly drunk and befriended a pledge named Timmy. The two bonded over their love of firearms, and apparently Nick, wanting to impress Timmy, invited the pledge out to his car to show off the arsenal that was in his trunk. I did not personally ever see the inside of the trunk but I was told the contents included an AR, some submachine guns, several incendiary devices, as well as flash bang and smoke grenades.
Nick had some pretty impressive stuff in the trunk of his car, but apparently none of it was as impressive as the jacket Timmy was wearing. The jacket had been made in commemoration of a formal the fraternity held a year prior. It was a black soft-shell fleece with the fraternity’s letters stitched on it in the fraternity colors, and it really caught Nick’s eye. I won’t lie, it was a pretty sweet jacket. Nick, being beyond fucked up (both in the drunk sense and apparently the mental sense) offered Timmy a trade: a flash bang grenade and an M18 smoke grenade for the jacket. Timmy accepted in a heartbeat.
Let that sink in for a moment. A drunk Homeland Security agent traded some weapons he had in his trunk for a $60 jacket. God bless America.
Naturally, Timmy was excited to use his new toys, those toys being A FLASH BANG GRENADE AND A SMOKE GRENADE, as soon as possible.
“But oh no!” I’m sure Timmy exclaimed. “Where can I use my new grenades?”
“No worries, young Timothy,” Nick probably assured him, “I know exactly where you can use your grenades! Let’s throw them at Rob. As a fellow jokester, he’ll surely appreciate the hilarity of having some military grade weaponry thrown at him!”
So off they went.
By my senior year, I no longer lived in the fraternity house. Instead, I lived a mile or so south of campus in a house with three pledge brothers. To the right of my house were two other houses full of fraternity brothers, as well. Despite my imagined conversation above, I’m not actually sure if it was simply the desire to use their grenades on me, or whether one of the other houses was having after bars, but those were the only two reasons they would have come out that way.
By now we’re back into my memories, and not information that was relayed to me after the fact. Again, I am naked and I am having sex with my naked girlfriend, and at least one of us is enjoying it. Mid-thrust, I hear the door handle jiggle. Thankfully, the door is locked. I assumed the person on the other side of the door was a drunken roommate coming to tell me a story or ask to eat one of my frozen chimichangas, so I ignore it and go back to the sex stuff. The doorknob, however, keeps jiggling. It’s a different kind of jiggle, though. There was no forceful pulling and turning, as if a frustrated person wanted to open it but couldn’t. Rather, it was a quiet, precise fiddling. Someone was picking the lock. That someone happened to be an expert at picking locks, because the government trained him to do it, along with providing him a slew of other skills that rendered me completely helpless.
Let that sink in for a moment. A drunk Homeland Security agent traded some weapons he had in his trunk for a $60 jacket. God bless America.
I still didn’t know who was on the other side of the door, but I was pissed. Finally, the lock popped. I shouted, “Get the fuck out of here!” The door opened ever so slightly, and two faces appeared in the dark crack. There, giggling at what was about to unfold, and probably also my girlfriend’s boobs, were Nick and Timmy.
Then a small, metal, pipe-like canister rolled into the center of my room and the door slammed shut.
That was the only thought that went through my head. The canister immediately began to hiss. Smoke, at first slowly, began to seep out. The slow leak did not last more than a split second, though, because within another moment, acrid, chemical smoke was absolutely pouring out. The sheer volume and thickness of the smoke was almost indescribably incredible. I was in shock at how quickly my room became completely filled with smoke. Within three seconds of the grenade going off, I could not see my own hand if I put it more than two inches away from my face.
As if the detonated smoke grenade that federal agents typically use on terrorist cells and meth labs, as well as the fact that I was so drunk I had only just come out of a blackout seconds earlier, weren’t disorienting enough, my girlfriend, whom I was still inside of, was now screaming her face off. I quickly threw her under the covers in the hopes she would have some relatively clean air to breathe and clumsily dismounted her, then the bed. By this point, I had lived in this room for about eight months. I knew the layout pretty well. The smoke changed all of that. I was naked, shitfaced, and choking as I tried to make my way to the only window in the room, my arms outstretched in the thick smoke. This was nearly impossible. At one point, I was so confused that I stopped to try to reorient myself. That was a bad idea. I got lost standing still.
I understand the government’s affinity for the M18 smoke grenade. I had no fucking clue what was going on as soon as it went off. If I were a terrorist, I would have been beaten, zip tied, had a bag slipped over my head, and been put on a plane to Guantanamo before I had any prayer of figuring out what was happening.
After about a minute and a half, I finally got to the window. I struggled to open it. My lungs were empty and burning. When I finally wrenched the window open, I shoved my head into the clean night air so quickly that half my body went with it and I almost fell out. I choked in what oxygen I could before the smoke from the grenade began to billow out so thickly that it again became impossible to breathe. With new air inside my lungs I ventured back into my room. Opening the window had little effect on the visibility level in my bedroom. I still could not see anything. This grenade was fucking intense. I hate to say that there was a part of me that was impressed, but there was. I don’t think my still shrieking girlfriend shared that sentiment, though.
Next, I dropped to the ground and crawled quickly towards the door, still blind. I banged my head into the wall, which hurt. I groped clumsily for the knob, as if it were attached to my girlfriend, and finally opened it. When I did, smoke then began to pour into the rest of the house. Outside the door, Nick and Timmy were dying laughing. My roommate Carl came out of his room across the hall to ask what was going on. The sight he was greeted with was a Homeland Security agent and a pledge having the time of their lives, and me, completely naked, standing in my doorway, with what looked like an inferno raging behind me as a woman’s terrified screams emanated from within.
“WHAT THE FUCK!?!” was all Carl could think to say. What else was there to say, really?
“Open all the windows!” I shouted back to him.
“Is the house on fire?” He asked anxiously.
“No, those fuckers threw a smoke grenade in my room,” I yelled back.
“What!?!” he said in disbelief.
“Just open the windows to get the smoke out,” I ordered.
“Why are you naked?” Carl asked.
“I was having sex. Let me borrow a pair of shorts,” I asked.
“No! Get your own shorts,” he scoffed.
“I can’t fucking see anything in my room, dude. I don’t know where they are,” I explained, irritated.
“You’re naked! I don’t want your dick rubbing around in my shorts!”
“I will fucking wash them. Just give me some goddamn shorts!” I demanded.
My roommate Carl reluctantly threw me a pair of basketball shorts. By now, the hall and living room were filled with smoke, though finally it was spread out over enough space to have slightly dissipated, making things somewhat visible.
“ROB, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!!?!” screamed my girlfriend from inside the room, presumably still choking to death in terror under my comforter.
I ran back into the madness and grabbed her. She ran downstairs to another roommate’s room, but he happened to not be home so she stole some clothes from him in order to be covered by something other than a blanket. After Carl and I opened all the doors and windows in the house, we went outside and let the terror run its course.
To someone who had no idea what was happening, it would have looked like our house was burning down. Unfortunately, there were about twenty of those someones in the street, basically all of our neighbors. For the next thirty minutes, we had to beg everyone who had come outside on our block not to call the fire department. We were terrified they were going to come anyway. I mean, how in the hell do you explain to a firefighter why a smoke grenade went off in your house?
My roommate Carl came out of his room across the hall to ask what was going on. The sight he was greeted with was me, completely naked, standing in my doorway, with what looked like an inferno raging behind me as a woman’s terrified screams emanated from within.
When the smoke had finally cleared enough, we went back inside. The house smelled awful, like someone had set off a bunch of fire extinguishers to put out a blaze fueled by Styrofoam and rubber. Timmy, by the way, was no longer laughing. I grabbed the little fucker by his collar and dragged him into the house. My room was still pretty smoky. As Timmy stood there with a small rotating fan, doing his best to clear the smoke out of my room, tears streamed down his face. This was by far the meanest I have ever been to, and angriest I have ever been at, a pledge. I motherfucked him for a solid twenty minutes, practically screaming myself hoarse and calling him every terrible thing I could think of. I doubt any of my drunken, thundering insults and threats even made sense. My only goal was to shred his self-esteem into oblivion. Mission accomplished. All in all, Timmy was in my room for about two hours, fanning and Febreezing the shit out of it, then we made him go to work on the rest of the house.
The only saving grace for Timmy’s membership was that a member of the house with a much higher pin than me had told him to do all of this. Meanwhile, after I was done colorfully explaining to Timmy how stunningly worthless and fucked he was, I asked Nick one simple question.
“What the fuck?”
“I thought you’d think it was funny,” Nick explained completely sincere. “Joe said you were like a funny guy, a prankster or whatever.”
The ex-president talks fraternity politics with the exec guys. The former rec league all star talks about intramurals with actives. The pussyhound has barely legal sex with a 20-year-old girl. The funny guy gets a grenade thrown in his room by the former funny guy.
Goddamn young alumni.
To this day, I don’t know what happened to the flash bang grenade. The last I heard of it was when exec board strongly vetoed someone’s idea to throw it in a rival fraternity’s house. That was probably a good call on their part. The golf tournament happened the next morning. It was a rousing success. My girlfriend refused to spend the night at my house that evening. There’s a part of me that still has no idea what the fuck happened that night.
Feel free to submit your own Young Alumni Horror Stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. I might share it with the world.