OK, this is a story I’ve been dying to tell for a while. Now that the statute of limitations has passed, I think it’s time.
I went to Boston University, it wasn’t a bad school. If you’re thinking, “Ooh, that’s a great school!”, you’re probably thinking of Boston College.
There were a lot of rich kids, a large population of Euro-trash. Lots of kids from New Jersey. Not only were they from New Jersey, they were the kind of New Jersey kids who thought New Jersey was great. Annoying.
Anyway, somewhere in the middle of all this lunacy was the circle I traveled in. I was in a small school-within-a-school that had its focus on emulating a traditional liberal arts education.
The people in this program were generally smart kids from small towns. Most of my friends who lived on my floor were their class valedictorians. They could have gone to Harvard, but they got a free ride to BU, so they went there instead.
One of those was a guy named Harold. Harold was probably one of the most pompous people I had ever met. On some level, I guess he was a nice guy, but on another level he was terrible. That’s the level you should keep in mind when you hear this story.
As an example, I returned from my winter break to find Harold lying on his back, on the floor, under the desk of one of my friends, attempting to fix his computer for him.
I asked what the problem was. Now, for some reason, Harold was considered something of a “computer expert” by the people on our floor, but I had found my practical knowledge of PCs was, at the least, equal to his.
My friend explained the problem and I informed Harold that he was going about solving it the wrong way. Well, ol’ Harold didn’t like this. He stood up, dusted himself off and asked me, point blank, “Eric, did you get a 3.8 grade point average last semester?”
I told him no, which was the truth.
“OK, because I did, now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to fixing this computer the way I see fit.”
Well, what I didn’t tell him was that I had actually gotten a 3.93 grade point average last semester. I am really proud of myself for not stooping to his level and having it be enough to know that not only was I right about the computer, but I was better than him at the thing he prided himself most upon.
This is literally the only moment in my life where I’ve ever shown this kind of restraint.
So Harold’s a jerk, I think that’s established.
Well, sophomore year, Harold moves into a 3-room suite with 2 other guys. These guys, Chris and Justin, were fun-loving goofballs who were generally well-liked by everyone. Everyone but Harold.
Chris was some sort of hacker and Justin was a semi-famous skateboarder. They liked to have fun and they liked to party. Harold liked to study and drink wine and pontificate and crap like that.
Did I mention he was a pompous ass?
Inevitably, these guys started to rub each other the wrong way and a mild version of a “prank war” started to develop. I stress the word “mild”. We are talking prank phone calls, stealing soap, stuff like that.
Well, Harold does something to really piss these two off. The details are lost on me now, but apparently, they thought it bad enough at the time, to warrant the kind of response they gave him.
Harold was also cheap. He would buy a 2 liter of soda, then when it was empty, sneak it down to the dining hall, where he would fill it up for free.
Chris and Justin ordered something from the back of Soldier of Fortune magazine. I’m not sure what it was, all they would tell me was that it was not syrup of ipecac.
They claimed it was a military-issue item. A few drops on the tongue were enough to induce severe vomiting.
Well, they figured it was a good idea to dump the whole bottle into Harold’s 2-liter.
I learned of this story a few years after it happened. But when they told it to me, after swearing me to secrecy, I instantly remembered hearing about Harold and his trip to the emergency room. For his bleeding ulcer.
How close to death Harold actually came, I’m not sure. Maybe the impact of this story is lost on most of my readers. I tried to stress how much of a jerk this guy was, but I’m not sure.
The point isn’t what these guys did to Harold. It’s the fact that I not only kept my mouth shut about it, but whole-heartedly condoned their actions.
Am I making all of this up? Maybe. Should you consider this a warning not to cross me or be a dick to me or any of my friends? Definitely.