Monday, October 1, 2012

TEP: New & Old

In September of 1991, I made the 75 mile drive East to a college town known as Athens, Georgia. In the weeks ahead, I would go through orientation until I decided on my fraternity choice. It wasn't easy. All the fraternities were pretty good but I loved the brotherhood at Tau Epsilon Phi. The location of the house was even better...2 minutes walking distance from the stadium. The only negative was the house looked like the Titanic...after it 100 years after it sunk. Still this house had the best ice machine ever. It made little cubes of ice that went down easy. I seriously think I joined a fraternity because of the ice machine.

I could not find a picture of the old house. All I could find was the picture of attached when the house was imploded to make room for university property. This picture is probably best because this is what the house looked like to me when I first saw it and it was actually a live-in structure. I notice there were a few bricks missing in this picture but I'm going to guess that some of the rats that lived there probably carried them out when they moved on after years of cozy living.

The top picture is the new TEP house. It's beautiful...except to me. How are these kids supposed to struggle when they live in that inspection-approved house? How are these kids supposed to be humbled when they don't know the feeling of getting a splinter by sitting on the kitchen benches? How are these kids supposed to understand how lucky they are when they come home to find things that the TEP house used to never carry...soap, toilet paper, toilet seats. I bet the house meets all standard building codes. That just makes me sick!

But I digress. I did decide to make a list of the 10 things that make this TEP house different from ours. I'm not saying that this makes the new house better. I'm just saying these kids missed out on the beautiful house myself and my brothers lived in during the 1990's.

The top 10 differences between this TEP and the one I remember:

10. This TEP House has an elevator. An elevator!!! I am not kidding. Trust me when I say that in the old days the only way the brothers in our house got high was can figure that one out. Heck, we were lucky when all the stairs were available to use. These kids are going to be obese when they're taking the elevator every day. I wonder if they have a dumbwaiter too. I didn't check. I bet the fridge was packed with Grey Poupon...spoiled brats!

9. The first room you come to is the House Director. It's labeled on a nice sign next to the door. Seriously? They actually vote for a house director??? In our day, the house director was the one who explained to guests that the 2 foot rats outside the ice machine were not pets and should not be fed...and the foam coming from their mouths was not shaving cream.

8. The basketball goal looks like a real modern day basketball goal. I remember our basketball goal. Most times the rim was bent. We rarely had a net and the odd times that we did, it was ripped down immediately as we didn't want the brothers to be spoiled. What would our brothers have wanted next...The Ritz Carlton?

7. There is central air conditioning in the new house. At the old house, we had a unit that was ripped out of the wall one day that was in the center of the kitchen just lying there. We considered that central air...or when someone brought a portable fan and threw it in the middle of the chapter room to get rid of the smell of old Chinese food that had been left on the pool table for days. We knew how to treat our residents right.

6. There were no cars parked in the yard of the new TEP House. The grass was actually green. It made no sense to me. If the cars don't park in the lawn, where do you put them? A parking lot? Seriously? Good luck finding a fertilizer that smells like gasoline to give the lawn that wonderful new-car-just-got-gas smell.

5. The chapter room in the new house was large and clean and looked like a sorority chapter room. It made me want to vomit! Our old chapter room was the place that the kids who were doing fraternity rush would sleep in. It brought comradery...and maybe some flies when they forgot to clean up after the previous night's party.

4. The women's restroom had the strangest sign on it. It said "women" and even had a lock on it. The one we had did not say women. Basically you'd let your date go in the bathroom and scream to her if a brother was coming, "Hide Baby Hide! Run for your life!" You would actually let the guy in but tell him not to use stall number 2. How did you know it was stall number 2? It was the one missing a door. How did you know which one was stall number 1? It had 2 doors slanted against the wall. It's always good to have wood lying around in case you need to make a fire or if you want to build another loft.

3. They had real authentic liquid soap. They actually had someone come in to check the soap and install soap dispensers in the new house. Our soap dispenser was called your hand grabbing a bar of soap that may or may not have been in the shower and may or may not have been used several times prior.

2. The house was 3 or 4 stories. Our old house had 1 story...that story was "Once upon a time there was a piece of crap house with bricks missing..."

1. They have windows in the new house. Don't get me wrong. We had places for windows; the glass was just missing. Actually having no glass in the windows allowed us to use our wonderful imaginations. We were able to pretend there was glass in the windows. It was pretty fulfilling. I think we were better for it quite honestly.

In conclusion, while this house may look pretty, may meet building codes and may even get more rushees to join, this house is the worst thing to happen to these kids. They will never understand what college is supposed to be about.

Finally here are 5 terms that we at TEP in the 90s would define differently than the kids today...

5. Recycling...

The kids of 2012: Put glass and plastic in recycle cans to preserve the environment.

The kids of 1991: Put Chinese food back in the fridge for 2 more weeks until it walks out on its own.

LESSON: This taught a better sense of smell.

4. A Restful night sleep

The kids of 2012: Sleeping a good 8 hours before class.

The kids of 1991: Having a firecracker not shot through your vent that night lighting your comforter on fire.

LESSON: This helped hand-eye coordination.

3. Making it cooler in the house

The kids of 2012: Turning up the A/C and laying on their beds.

The kids of 1991: Turning over the ice machine and grabbing cups of ice to pour on our sweat-infested heads.

LESSON: This taught McGyver-like skills.

2. Announcing the big party

The kids of 2012: Sending an Evite

The kids of 1991: Running through traffic finding pretty girls and begging them to attend our parties.


And finally...

1. Someone throws a rock through your window...

The kids of 2012: Call the police. Call your parents. Call University security. Lock your doors. Clean up all the glass. Wear shoes in the house for a week so not to get glass stuck in your foot. Hire a cleaning service. Replace the glass. Go before the chapter and collect money from people. Pray that this doesn't happen again.

The kids of 1991: That's why we don't have glass in our windows. Ah-Chah!

LESSON: Apathy is next to Godliness. While our house may not have looked like a castle, it sure was low maintenance.

Thanks for listening. To the kids from 2012 who may be reading this, please enjoy your elevator rides and lovely chapter room.

So I lived in a house full of asbestos and possibly acquired rabies from the rats who ate through our walls...I'm still much better for it. At least I had the best ice machine the world had ever seen...


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