For a large portion of my freshman year, I lived in fear. Fear of about half of my floor. A large number of
them seemed to pose a dangerous threat. For the most part, they were older, bigger and more bitter than I was.
They were probably bitter because they were upperclassmen and were still stuck in the dorms. This likely happens
because they have no friends, and can't get a townhouse with their friends because of this fact. That is probably why
they are bitter, and something to be feared. Being big, I don't suppose had anything to do with it, because I'm
roundish and not that bitter.
There was one fellow, however, towards the other end named Dave. He scared me a lot because he was a
basketball player. A "jock". I failed to like jocks, mostly because they didn't like me. Jocks don't like me because I
don't worship them. Especially not the Houghton men's basketball team. They really failed to inspire me at all.
Dave really started to dislike me when I didn't help him cheat on his Calculus homework. We were all
sitting together in the big room in the science building, and with my luck I got to sit next to Dave. I was always
nervous sitting next to him, because I didn't like him either. One time when the teachers were collecting homework
he asked if he could put his name on the group I was in's homework. I didn't let him. He started whining.
I do kind of wonder if maybe I had been say mildly civil to him in some way if he wouldn't have gotten
along fine with the rest of us. Then again, maybe he wouldn't have.
Personal problems were always a trouble on First Shen. Even on my end, there was a lot of trouble. The
biggest trouble other than that of nooses was that of Fealko.
"Yeah, mom," said Paul, "I need more clean underwear sent to me this week, I ran out."
"No, no colors, just the ones with the blue stripes."
"I can't believe that she would say that."
"Really, two kids, huh?"
"FEALKO!" screamed Paul. As suddenly after a half hour of conversation with his mom on the phone, he
turned his head to the side about an inch and noticed that Fealko's cheek was almost touching his, "Where did come
"I was just stopping in," said Fealko, "saying hi."
"Go away," said Paul, "I'm on the phone."
"Oh, Okay," sighed Fealko. Fealko was clearly unhappy about having to leave.
"I have baggage," Paul announced to the Baggage hour group.
"Don't we all," I said.
"I have more baggage," Luke announced.
"What?" I asked.
"Fealko," said Lukey, "I can't stand him anymore."
"Why not, he's a nice fellow," I said.
"He's so irritating," said Lukey.
"So are you," said Paul.
"Yeah," I said, "You too should get along."
There was a knock on the door. An obnoxious nerdy knock. The kind of knock that you'd expect to hear if
a skinny naked man knocked on your door while standing out in the cold and snow, hoping to get a hug from
whoever was inside.
"Ignore it," said Paul.
We ignored it very intensly. Then the banging came again. It was more of a soft caress of the door, of
someone who knew you were inside and was going to bother you until you answered.
"Ignore it," said Paul, "My baggage is more important than whoever is out there."
He was right, I realized, as I heard Fealko in the hall yell, "Guys, let me in."
"I'm going to get it," said Luke, loathingly. He walked over to the door and opened it.
"Hi guys," said Fealko, "Can I join in on the action."
"No," said Luke, "We're busy."
Fealko got a big grin on his face, and reached over and poked Luke in the belly. Luke jumped back as if he
had been violated. Fealko asked slyly, "What are you guys doing in there?"
"Nothing important," said Paul, "Go away."
Fealko leaned his little scrawny neck forward and then reached his arm forward again to poke Luke in the
belly again, and just as his pointer finger was about to come in direct contact with Luke's navel, Luke shoved him.
Fealko screamed like a girl and kicked Luke hard. Luke shoved Fealko again, across the hall into Fealko's room.
Then jumped back into his own room and locked us in again.
"Crisis averted," I said.
"Sort of," said Paul.
"He touched me," said Luke, "I never want him to touch me again."
Male affection was something not approved of that year. With none of us having girlfriends or anything
there was still a lot of fear. Not so much a fear that someone else on the floor is going to "like" you. More of a fear
that others will think you "like" them. Then again, maybe it was all just a game. Whatever it was, the only kind of
affections that were liked that year were punches. My favorite person to punch was Fealko because he screamed
like a girl and went berserk. Seeing a guy who is built like a garden rake go berserk is like seeing a large flock of
birds suddenly explode in the air. Maybe it's messy for a bit, but I'll be laughing about it for weeks afterwards.