The Frat

January 11, 2015

My version of “Animal House” if you will. This will be in my next book and is a bit funny.

In high school I was not one of the popular kids at all even though I was on the football team. My persona was wedded more with the intelligentsia, such as it was in Gainesville, and when I went to NTSU, later named UNT, I did get out of my shell a bit by joining a fraternity. Not a social fraternity but a “professional business fraternity”. Delta Sigma Pi to be specific. It may have been a professional frat but it actually had a frat house – not your usual nice home bought by the alumni but a house the chapter rented from the university – and held parties, although not on the Bacchanalian scale and frequency that the “regular” Greeks did. But it was fun nonetheless and was also co-ed and multi-racial as well. In fact many brothers married – the females were also called brothers not sisters In fact my kid’s Mom was also my frat brother. Her name is Lisa so it truly was no “gay thing”. So no little sisters in our world but there still were the parties.

As I said above we had a house for the chapter. The one we had when I pledged was on the campus’ southeast side but later we had a nicer one on Mulberry Street. In a strange coincidence the vacant lot next to it was the lot where the rent house Dad moved to Daugherty Street came from. And years later the ever growing campus took the Mulberry Street property and turned it into a parking lot for the hordes of commuting students. Things change and come full circle too. But I digress so back to the parties.

We had a few parties each semester, after pledging was over there was one or two a month until school was out. We would get a keg, make “flight fuel”, play loud music, get drunk, and sometimes sleep on the floor of the house. And if we were still conscious we went to the Jack In The Box with the drunk munchies. We always ate too much but one time Brother Dan Thomas, who was a big, tall guy, ate a legendary feast of several tacos, more than one Bonus Jack, and of course some fries. None of us could ever match his intake even though some of us tried.

After finals were over one year we had a rather extreme party and at about 2AM only the hard core remained awake. The keg had been floated and every other form of booze had been quaffed. Brother Randy Leach had passed out on the floor – he could drink like crazy since he was a big East Texas boy and at one time in an act of Great Heresy to the Church of The Divine Fermentation had proclaimed himself “God” (Lord Keg in The Church of course). We were all more or less in a quiet fog of “drunken meditation” – a phrase coined by corrupting a phrase from one frat ritual – when Randy who was on his back started to act like he was going to puke in his sleep. He heaved and hoed and then erupted like a geyser spewing up all over himself. I acted quickly – I still had some rationality left in my wasted state – and rolled him over on his side so he would not drown in his puke. The vomit flowed outward like the lava does from one of Hawaii’s big shield volcanoes. The few who remained conscious just sat there in stunned disbelief even though it was not the first time we had seen Randy vomit up his booze.

Next we gathered ourselves up and loaded him in his car and convoyed over to his apartment which was on the other side of town near Strickland Junior High and we hauled him to his front door – it took more than one of us to drag his limp but still breathing body to that point. We got his keys and opened up the door. It was dark inside but our eyes adjusted to the dim glow of the glowing, fading coals in the fireplace. And by the fireplace were his two roommates passed out and surrounded by a huge number of beer cans scattered on the floor like empty artillery shells around a cannon after a huge barrage. We kicked some of the cans around and laid him out next to his buddies, leaving his keys on his belly, and departed back to Mulberry Street and the house. I went back to my place but I do not recall who cleaned up Randy’s vomit on the carpet in the front room but I do know we gave him a lot of shit about the incident. But that’s par for the course in college frats you know.

And those are some of the many “events” we had at the house on Mulberry but the verbal history of the chapter had other heroic examples of alcoholic fueled excess. Some had been seen by members and alumni who returned from time to time like the legendary cries of Brother Lito who mournfully cried out “HELP…ME…HELP…. ME” from one of the rooms in the “old house” after the chick who was giving him a blow job puked all over his midsection and passed out on top of him – both were naked as a jaybird and covered with vomit. And I met Lito once who laughingly confirmed the story: he was a good sport about it you see which was more than Brotherly. But better yet was the much fabled “last party” of the chapter, which was being kicked off of campus for not meeting academic requirements a la Animal House’s animalistic frat. This never verified tale held that the chapter held a literally pyrrhic party which resulted in the chapter house catching fire and burning to the ground. No one could produce a witness or a name to call to verify that but there was a vacant lot on Hickory Street by the Jack In The Box where it was said a large two story house had been – I asked Mom and Dad about that and I don’t think they even knew although we went by that location endlessly when we lived in Denton. So who knows, maybe the brothers then were just so drunk they thought they burned down the house or just made it up since it sounded good. Regardless, the truth is most likely lost for eternity.

Well, Delta Sigma Pi and the Delta Epsilon chapter still exist at NTSU…err….UNT (old habits die hard don’t they?) in Denton and who knows if they party more or less than we did. Yes we still had our “professional activities” too, even some at the local Coors distributor and our faculty sponsor the always kind and wonderful Dr. Fitch also liked a few cold ones on his sailboat. But that time in my life is more than long over but I still would like to know what happened to Randy Leach so I could ask him if he still thought he was God over a cold beer and more importantly see if he remembered the secret handshake and password that only the true Brothers of Delta Sigma Pi know and proudly use.