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I Fell Out of Bed Twice: Chapter One

Robert's first day of college opens a whole new world to him

Chapter 1: Strangeways, Here We Come

September 12, 1987

"Let me tell you about Whitesnake," my roommate Tom shouted as we walked back to Bond Hall from the dining commons.

I pretended to be interested he was talking about the worst metal band in the history of metal. He kept going on and on about how much they rocked his world. I was in hell. I didn’t want to spend my first night in college listening to this jackass talk about David Coverdale and the boys. I wanted to spend my first night of freedom getting loaded.

As we walked past the library he started singing one of their songs. I was wishing I was anywhere but here. I needed an exit strategy.

At the State Street light a guy dressed like he just got back from London stood there. He was short, rail thin, glasses, bangs covering his face, was wearing a New Order t-shirt and a leather jacket, even though it was to warm to wear one. Exit strategy found. I turned to him and asked, “Did you see them at Pine Knob?”

"It’s where I bought the shirt,” he answered.

"I was there too," I replied.

"From what I remember the show was pretty cool," he said.

"They were okay but I prefer Joy Division to New Order." I said hoping I sounded cool.

"I can dig that," he said.

"What are you doing tonight?” I asked.

"Going to sit in my dorm, listen to music and get fucked-up," he answered. “You guys wanna join me?”

"Sure," I replied.

Tom shook his head no.

I turned to my new friend and asked, “Where and when?”

"Henderson Hall room 117 in about an hour.” He said. “By the way my name's Scott."

"Robert,” I said.

After shaking hands we went our separate ways.

Back in the room Tom was lifting weights and listening to Whitesnake. I was trying to figure out what shirt would make me look more punk rock. I settled on the Meatmen. It read, "We're the Meatmen and you suck." The shirt ruled. Along with my spiked hair it made me look like a badass. I grabbed my box of cassettes and headed over to Scott's.

His room looked so different than mine. There were posters of bands that covered the walls. A disco ball hung by the lights. He had a real stereo, with huge speakers. As I walked in he was playing Ministry.

"Twitch is the greatest album," he shouted over the music.

"Yeah, it rocks, I love it," I exclaimed hoping he didn't catch the fact that I hesitated in responding.

"What's your favorite album?" he asked.

"The Specials by The Specials."

"My ex-girlfriend and I used to fuck to that album all the time?"

"Me too," came out of my mouth as I blatantly lied to my new friend.

“Holy fuck, he's had sex,” I thought to myself. I was lucky enough to kiss a girl this past summer. Scott was the real deal. I had to play it cool. I couldn't let him know that I was a virgin. If he knew that he would think I was a loser. I couldn't go through another 4 years of being ostracized.

"You want to get high?" Scott asked as he pulled a joint out of a Love and Rockets album.

"Fuck yeah," I said.

This was another thing I’ve never done before. Was it going to give me brain damage? All the anti drug movies I saw in health class were simultaneously playing in my head. I didn’t want to do this. I was scared. But I didn’t know what he’d think if I just said no. I really wanted someone to think I was cool. I had to make him think I knew what I was doing.

I studied everything he did, from the way he put it up to his mouth to the way he inhaled. I could do it. He handed it to me. I put it up to my mouth. Inhaled. Then the coughing came. I hadn't coughed this hard since I had bronchitis last spring. Scott was laughing hysterically. I was still coughing. Scott grabbed a Pabst out of the mini-fridge handed it to me and said "Drink this."

I gulped it down.

"I should have told you this was good shit,"he said as he took another hit.

"Damn," I said, "I haven't had shit this good since my going away party."

“I didn't have a going away party,” he said as he finished off the joint.

"So what are we going to do tonight?" I asked as I nursed by beer.

"Well that was my last beer,” he said. “We could go to the Alibi."

"Lame," I said.

“Bars aren’t lame,” he said.

“Bars that play top-40 are,” I responded.

“Do you know who hangs out at those kind of bars?” he asked.

“Dumb people,” I said laughing.

“Dumb girls,” he said. “Don’t you want to get laid tonight?”

“I have a girlfriend,” I said.

“I do too,” he said, “I’m not going to let that stop me. Let’s go, a bunch of my friends from marching band are going to be up there.”

"You're in marching band?" I asked as I finished my PBR.

"Yeah," he replied. “I play the sax. Sexiest instrument in the world.”

"Loser," I said laughing.

"You have no idea what you’re talking about,” he said. “People in marching band know how to party."

"Yeah right," I said laughing.

"I've been here a fucking week practicing with them and partying with them. You haven't,” Scott said.

"Touché," I replied.

Scott grabbed some Lysol and sprayed it throughout the room to hide the smell of pot. Then we started heading toward the Alibi. As we walked Scott was telling me that his girlfriend was going to Central, which was 45 minutes away. He mumbled how that was to close for comfort. I agreed. For the rest of the walk we just talked about music, it seemed that was all we really had in common.

Being high for the first time wasn’t like what I expected it to be like. I didn’t feel like jumping off a bridge or going crazy. All I wanted to do was laugh and eat.

The Alibi is a place where bad music lived. If it ever played on a top-40 station there was a good chance the DJ was going to play it. I never thought I would frequent a place like this. The people who hung out here were not the type I’d ever associate with. Frat people, sorority chicks and jocks packed the bar. I thought I was in hell.

After making our way through the crowd we eventually found Scott’s band mates. Their table was packed with beer. A guy, whose name I don't remember, bought after round. I kept on drinking. With every second that passed I was getting more fucked up. I was feeling really good. Soon after my umpteenth beer the DJ finally played a song I liked, “Blue Monday” by New Order.

"I know this song," I shouted.

I ran to the dance floor to show my moves. Scott was already there dancing close to some band girl. We were the only people dancing. Mid song the DJ stopped and put on “Boom Boom.”

Within seconds frat boys and sorority girls piled onto the floor. They all started singing the chorus, “Boom, boom, boom, let’s go back to my room.”

I seemed like this song was an anthem to the Greek sect. They all knew the words to this song. Is this what the college experience all about, knowing the words and singing along to bad songs?

I walked back to the table and found a half full pitcher. I drank all of it.

Scott and the band girl returned to the table and asked, "You going to be cool?

“Huh?” I drunkenly asked.

"You going to be cool here without me?" he said as he grabbed one of the other half full pitchers and drank out of it.

"Where are you going?"I asked already knowing the answer.

"Her place," he said as he touched her butt.

I should have asked him about his girlfriend but I didn't want to ruin this friendship on its first day. So I just said, "Cool."

He left.

So not fair. Some guys have all the luck. Maybe I should actually go try and talk to a girl. No, I am dating someone back home that wouldn't be cool. I feel a rumbling in my stomach. Oh crap. I shouldn't have had that last beer. The bathroom is all the way on the other side of the bar. Can't make it. So I duck under the table and puke. I hope no one saw me. I think this is my cue to leave.

I get back to my room. I turn on the lights without even caring that Tom is asleep. I go to the bathroom and notice a mattress in the shower. As I'm pissing I wonder why that's there. I finish up and change into my pajamas. Climb into bed. Something's wrong. My bed is uncomfortable. Fuck, that mattress is mine. I walk back into the bathroom think about moving it back into the room. But I feel like puking. So, I put the mattress down in the shower and laid down as I thought to myself that this is probably for the best.

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