Flipped through the old journal again and found an entry from 15 years ago today.  I recorded the events of the past two weeks where nineteen year old me:

  1. Arrived from Barcelona, Spain,
  2. Spent a couple of days in NYC with some college friends,
    • Empire State Building
    • Museums
    • Nose pierced in Greenwich Village
  3. Joined a co-ed fraternity,
  4. Got a tattoo.

1-2.  Friends were waiting to pick me up when I flew into New York.  We unloaded my stuff at the hotel in Jersey and took a ferry to Manhattan.  Did I mention it was the night of St. Patty’s day?  There was a SAUCED old man who was probably very distinguished in his sober day-to-day life.  Except today he wore a plastic, green top hot and loads of green necklaces with his tweed jacket and button-down.  His wife kept saying, “Barry.  Barry, we’re on the ferry.  You’re drunk, Barry.  Barry!  Barry! Can you hear me?  We’re on the FERRY!”  Festive Ferry Barry did the drunk-lean on his wife and I’m pretty sure he knew he was drunk.  He probably didn’t know he was on the ferry.

We paid a good chunk of change to see the Empire State Building and the view from the observation deck.  It was night and pretty amazing.

There were seven of us wandering around Manhattan that night, all of us under the drinking age, and drunk people were everywhere.  I must have received a contact buzz from the alcoholic clouds surrounding people on the street because, next thing I know, I’m standing in a dingy building getting my nose pierced.  Cost me less than $20.  I had it for 5 or 6 years…  Not a bad investment.

3. A day or two later, I’m back on campus and it’s spring break.  Everything was quiet.  Some friends I knew at The Tabard decided to throw a little party for the stranded folk.  Next thing I know, I pledged the house.  Several of my friends had pledged while I was away in Spain during the previous term.  Call it peer pressure but it would have happened eventually.  I’m glad I did, that’s where I eventually met Karl.

4. The next night, a slightly different group of seven decided to lay low and rent Braveheart and Real Genius.  I was rooting for Real Genius but the vote was for Braveheart.  (I refused to watch this movie for over a year because the first time I saw it, after several hours into the movie, JUST AS William Wallace was at the height of torture, and he sees his dead wife in the crowd, and he opens his mouth to yell…. NOTHING!!!! The film melted.  Oh, so angry.)

Braveheart was over at 3 AM.  What to do, what to do?  “Let’s drive to Portsmouth, NH and watch the sunrise on the ocean,” someone with a car suggested.  “Okay!”  The seven of us piled into two cars and headed out in the middle of the night.

The sunrise part of the trip was a bust.  It was gray and rainy…not much sunrise to be seen.  We stopped at a HoJo’s for breakfast and a new plan.  One of us had a picture of a tattoo they wanted in their wallet and they said, “Since we’re here in Portsmouth, let’s go get tattoos!”  “Okay!”

Except it was so early in the morning, tattoo parlors weren’t open yet.  Shit.  We were exhausted.  Luckily….we were at a hotel…and they have beds in hotels…except we didn’t want to spend all of our tattoo money on a room we needed for less than a day…

So the mastermind of our group convinced the two desk clerks that we were an all-girl group from New Zealand, we just drove all night from a gig in NY, and we needed a place to crash for a few hours before playing in Portsmouth that night.  The clerks looked us over and we nodded and waved back, not saying a word.  Pointing at our two guys, the clerks asked, “So, what about them?”  And in a flash, our friends became the sound guy and manager.

The desk clerks fell for it (I wonder what instrument I played?) and let us stay for four hours.  One catch, only four of us could be in the room at one time.  “Sure, sure, thanks!”  And we shuffled the rest of us in through a side door and slept for a few hours.

Next came a visit to the appropriately named establishment, “The Tattoo Shop”, and four of us got tattoos from a guy named Hobo.

A few weeks later the frat house had photos taken for the large “composites” that hang on the walls of the house.  Apparently the company also sends a copy of your portraits to your home address because I got call from home asking, “So, what’s this ‘Tabard’ and what’s that thing in your nose?”  Notice, no questions about the ridiculous hair.  My mom had long given up on my hair.  And my explanation went something like this, “So, I got my nose-pierced, then I joined a frat house, and then I got a tattoo.  And that’s it.”

The first line of today’s 15-year-old entry: “What a crazy person I turned out to be.” That about sums it up.


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