Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tiger'ish Tales Vol 5: To Sleep The Sleep Of The Dammed

As much as Logan would’ve liked it to be true, we simply didn’t live in a bubble. A world existed beyond our room, and Logan would have to venture out into it. I feel sorry for those with whom he had classes. It was a fairly typical experience to come back to our room, check our voice mail and hear, “Hey, uh, Logan…This is Mike from Intro to Anatomy…uhm….you, uh, ….missed our lab appointment today, so, uh, …yeah. Also, uhm,…so, where’s our fetal pig?”

Simply put, Logan was lucky to have me as his roommate. I can honestly say that no one on campus and certainly not in our dorm wing would have tolerated him as well as I did. Our school policy on roommate switches was that I –the grieved- was responsible for finding someone who was willing to move in with Logan. Additionally, I had to have a written agreement from my new roommate accepting me into their room and a document signed by Logan’s would-be roomie spelling out why I could no longer live with him and felt moving was the only option. Logan stymied any chance I had of taking that route within hours of being at school. First of all, he stuck out like a guy who always wore a unicorn necklace that hung down to his waist, because HE ALWAYS WORE A UNICORN NECKLACE THAT HUNG DOWN TO HIS WAIST! Secondly, our wing-mates (wing-men?) were almost uniformly the dumb jock/ frat boy stereotype.

A few words on with whom we co-existed: If I were to pick an anthem for our wing, it would be the Limp Bizkit cover of the Mission: Impossible theme. That was always blasting, and far too many of these fine young men thought it was the height of musical achievement. Also, these guys had discovered the cult-hit that had flopped at the box-office not quite one year prior, FIGHT CLUB. Completely missing the point of the movie, these generally privileged upper-middle class Midwestern white boys identified very heavily with Tyler Durden and his message. The inevitable fight clubs began, only to be shut down by the administration, citing it as a violation of the school policy prohibiting “General Tomfoolery.” Well, what choice is left for these disenfranchised youths but to proceed to their own version of Project Mayhem? And, in fairness, to them, who more embodies the belief that he is, in fact “special,” that he is, in fact, a “beautiful and unique snowflake” and not “the same decaying organic matter as everything else” than Logan? Project Mayhem had its target, and I would be collateral damage.

Aside to the aside: The town in which our University exists had one tattoo parlor, Porch Front Tattoos. Anyone who went there –on my floor it was usually to get the barbed-wire bicep- of course became known as “Porch Monkeys.” Of course, Porch Monkeys took the name with pride, never realizing its etymology. One Monkey took Project Mayhem really to heart and, in thinking of the wonderful synergy between Porch Monkey and Fight Club had “Space Monkey” tattooed on his neck. For the rest of his college days, he was to be known as “Sponkey.”

Anyhow, the Space Monkeys mission to upset Logan-as-representative-of-the-establishment (and really, Logan couldn’t be less representative…they were the ones downing White Castle Crave Cases nightly) began gently enough. Our dry-erase board regularly was tagged with “Logan has bitch tits!” When Logan started putting up equestrian art on the outside of our door, the horses always ended up with giant cocks drawn somewhere on their bodies. Which, for reasons that would become all too clear, didn’t bother Logan at all. Having the only room that was opposite a bare wall and not another dorm room, our door was blocked with all of the lounge furniture. A few times a gallon-sized zip-lock baggie was filled with shaving cream, slid partially under our door and then stomped upon. They gave that up when they realized that it was only hitting the bare floor and my bed, so Logan wasn’t affected.

The one thing they did that was truly clever, that still boggles my mind and makes me shudder to think of how potentially dangerous it was, was inspired by Logan’s own insufferable bathroom habits. Each room had a small sink and mirror, but that meant everyone had to use the communal showers, toilets, and urinals. Logan being Logan, had his own way of doing things. The shower set-up was a bank of five shower heads along a wall, with dividers in between, but with one drain in the middle stall that all the water ran into. In other words, each day a choice had to be made: do you take the end showers, which had only cold water, but relatively clean conditions, or do you go in towards the center, where the water was hot, but you were guaranteed to deal with the shower water of the other men? This water was always dirty, usually pissy, oftentimes mixed with cum, and if someone was drunk, shit and/or vomit. I was a cold-shower man. Logan, was a bath man. Which is to say, he would take the next available stall, and sit/lay bare-assed on the ground and bathe. Why? Because he preferred baths, plain and simple. But, as the stall dividers and curtains went from about six feet off the ground to maybe two feet off the ground, and because Logan wasn’t one to close the curtain anyhow, everyone got the show.

Similarly, Logan would leave the stall door open on the toilet, and one could tell what his purpose was by how he was sitting. If he was facing forward, looking out towards the sinks and mirrors, he was taking a piss. If he was sitting backwards, pants off, straddling the bowl and holding onto the pipes, dude was taking a dump. Even if shitting, however, he was turned to watch himself in the mirror. I asked him once why he didn’t stand at the urinal to take a leak and he told me, “Why do something standing when it can be done sitting down?” He’s got a point there. I do think a bigger factor really was that there were no mirrors by the urinals. Dude liked to watch himself on the toilet. But again, this meant everyone else had to watch him, too.

So, onto the one prank that made sense to me. It was a Sunday morning, and the combination of Logan’s general early-bird noises, as well as the constant Bizkit through the walls, had developed in me a high capacity to sleep through noise. Even if a noise was loud enough to kind of wake me, I would ignore it for as long as possible, usually get used to it, and fall back asleep. I was also pretty hung-over, so it didn’t occur to me the gravity of the situation when I finally did open my eyes. As usual, Logan had been up for a while and I had decided the need to pee was greater than the need to sleep and woke up to see my shower sandal float gently past my bed on a pool of water that was easily two inches deep. I just kind of stared for a moment, slowly realizing that something was very wrong and that I probably had to deal with it.

It would turn out that the Monkeys had purchased some garden hoses and duct tape. They taped the hoses to the faucets in the bathroom, then taped the other ends to the bottom of our door. They then taped the bottom of our door to the floor to create a surprisingly effective seal. They jammed pennies between our door and doorframe, locking us in for good measure, then started up the water and waited.

I would end up calling the physical plant services for help, only to be told that they were busy dealing with a mysterious ceiling leak in the room below ours. Evidently, it never occurred to them to check on what might be happening on the floor above. Anyhow, I called our Resident Assistant, he stopped the water, un-jammed our door and things slowly drained out onto the women living below. All four of us with water damage got some cash from our room-cost reimbursed, and we were all relieved that nothing really came of it. No electrocution, no drowning, just some wet stuff and a small cash payout.

Now, I know what you, the reader, really want to know. What was Logan’s reaction to all this? Again, I remind you that he always woke up before me. After I woke up and saw my sandal float by, I turned my head toward where I knew Logan would be, his computer. Right as I did I saw his already all-too-familiar bare ass winking at me through the slats in his chair, and then I saw his hand, calm as can be, reach down holding one of those cheap cups colleges like to give out with the event-du-jour printed on it (Ok-SOBER-fest 2000 in this case), his hand dip the cup into our flood waters, fill it a bit, and bring it up to his lips for a nice, refreshing drink.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tiger'ish Tales Vol 4: All The Pretty Horses

It didn't take long to begin noticing that Logan's biggest problem wasn't an embarrassing family. First of all, he had all the cliche bad roommate traits. He'd wake-up hours before me, make lots of noise -country music at 6 in the morning. Spill sink water onto me while I slept and he popped zits -wiping them on the mirror- eat my food, leave his wet laundry on my bed, etc. Horrible shit, but not unheard of.

I should have known from the moment he went from not speaking around family to being perfectly chatty when they left that he was crazy. I would eventually find out that he was truly the little prince of his clan. He had an older brother who had died and Logan was the replacement child. He was sheltered and spoiled because his brother died by accident. I never learned what exactly happened. I did learn that they even named him after his brother. His brother was also named Logan. FUCK ME. Mostly isolated from the larger world, Logan lived on the goat farm as a precious jewel that was to be protected both physically and mentally. He wasn't kept from the greater world, but everything was filtered through his parents editing.

Now, before you feel sorry for the fucker -remember that he wasn't being abused he was being treated like a god. The problem came when they -actually rather surprisingly- left him to his own devices as a college boy. I liken it to the Amish sending their young men out to be tested. Problem is, he in no way was ready for socializing with the real world.

When they bought his computer, it came with a DVD player, which was very rare at the time. So he picked out two movies that he played CONSTANTLY -even if it was only the sound in the background. What two flicks would an average 18 year old in 2000 pick? Not these:

It would be bad enough if the movies weren't awful, but god damn it, Robin Williams as a robot and fucking Cuba Gooding Jr. buddying up with Skeet Ulrich? Eventually he would get X-MEN and run that into the ground, taking notes on his future.

Worse though, then the movies, was that the PC offered him his first foray into the internet, where nothing is off limits, everything is the best ever and he could get validation for his every strange belief. His MP3 of choice? The Hamster Dance. Over and over. His initial obsession? Horses. He would print out hundreds of horse pictures and hang them up all over our room. In asking about this, I got the first visit from Tiger'ish:

ME: So what's with the horses?
L:They are my friends.
M: I just saw you get that off the internet. It's fucking Mr. Ed.
L: We like each other.
M: (already somewhat used to creepy statements like that) So are horses your favorite animals?
L: No. They are just friendlies. My favorite are unicorns.
M: You know they're not real, right?
L: Just because you haven't seen one doesn't mean they are not real. You've never seen a dragon, but you believe in them.
M: Fuckin' A. dude.

He went on to show me the pictures and tell me about the horses personalities, names, etc. Even when it was Mr. Ed or a Budweiser ad, they were friendlies with names, etc.

Years later I saw GRIZZLY MAN and a chill went down my spine. This Timothy Treadwell fucker reminded me so much of Logan. They both can be in society, but have constructed such an elaborate fantasy world that you just know someone's getting hurt. It is in seeing this movie that people can get the clearest idea of who Logan thought he was in relation to animals. The only real difference is that Treadwell was benevolent, trying to protect (he felt) the animals, whereas Logan never lost sight that they too, were here for his pleasure and his pleasure alone. Here's the trailer:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tiger'ish Tales Vol 3: Mano-a-Gato

I'll be honest: I come from a fucked up family. Maybe as fucked up as Logan's. The difference being that in my family the cardinal rule is to keep the skeletons in the closet. Logan's family keeps the skeletons nailed to the front porch, with dildos rammed through the eye sockets and a big sign that says "FREE CANDY" next to a bowl full of cum-glazed-shit. My family is ashamed of itself, and rightly so. Logan's family celebrates their depravity like the family in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

All of which is to say that I, at this point, was still reserving judgment of Logan. I've fought against being defined by the actions of my family -both evil and innocent- my entire life. Just because his parents couldn't understand the concept of sharing a room or his grandparents couldn't respect the sanctity of a stranger's bed didnt' mean he was the same.

Eventually they had to leave, and I would learn the truth. It would be just him and me and the truth would come out. That truth, is that Logan was their Leatherface. He didn't have a blood-lust and cannibalistic tendencies, that I knew of, at least. He did, however, lack any social awareness and coupled that lack with a complete disregard for others. And yet, somehow, it wasn't selfishness. It was how he was raised; he genuinely thought he was the center of the universe. His family thought so too, and he'd never known anyone or anything else. When eventually challenged by the larger world that is college, he didn't get angry. Instead, he treated his detractors, myself included, as if we were the foolish toddlers still learning about the world. He was patient with us, with our yelling at him, because he knew that he was god, and no one -at least for the year I knew him- could challenge that.

Of course, this created a dangerous mixture: He was the little prince straight from David Lynch's version of Wonderland whose parents bizarrely secure financial liquidity left him with almost no door unopened. I was the youngest of seven children in a Todd Solodnz movie and was the one who was allowed nothing in life on the basis of simply being youngest. Imagine my rage when this freak gets everything and can't even figure out that you don't have to turn the ringer off whenever you answer the phone, and not only do I have nothing I didn't work for myself, I have to live with him.

Now, patient reader, I admit that so far this blog has been a giant cock-tease. You are here for stories of animal-love, of fantastical creatures, and even a little bit of laughs. Well, the ground-work has been laid and from here on out you have the context to fully know the man who was Logan and would become Tiger'ish.

I'll end this post with a taste of life with Logan. Given his bizarre narcissism, Logan surmised that Wolverine of the X-men was named for him. Ergo, this Logan, my roommate, is the Logan of lore. He is Wolverine. When I challenged this, he merely reasoned that as Wolverine was older than now-Logan, it was something of a prophecy. THE FUCKER COULDN'T TELL FACT FROM FICTION! EVEN WITH A MOVIE THAT FEATURES SUPER-FUCKING-HEROES. AND AN ACTOR THAT WOULD APPEAR IN ANOTHER FAVORITE FILM OF HIS, STAR TREK INSURRECTION! He simply saw it as his destiny, as shown to him by the good people at 20th Century Fox to become Wolverine.

To that end, he attempted to groom himself in appropriate fashion. This task lasted as long as I would know him, and probably beyond. I spent my last moment with Logan taking his picture, knowing that this past year would be one for the record books. Here's how far he got in his quest to become Wolverine:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tiger'ish Tales Vol 2: It's Genetic

I'm the youngest of seven kids. In other words, my mom don't give a damn. Whereas Logan's entire clan left the middle ages that is a Tennessee goat farm to see him off (yes, of course, he was the first to go to college), my mother lasted long enough to leave my shit at the curb. Once Logan's family accepted my existence, they got pretty dependent on me for "big city" advice. Imagine the rednecks from The Simpsons, and you've got a pretty decent idea. They stuck around for several days of freshman orientation and throughout Logan never said a word. They went to the bookstore and got the requirement info for computer purchases and promptly went to Walmart and bought one. I tried to do my own thing but they wouldn't leave me alone. Being a theatre major, I had auditions and they showed up with me. I went to dinner, they went to dinner. Through it all Logan never spoke. I finally found a way to lose them by suggesting they attend some of Logan's orientation activities, like the pre-med mixer. He was going to be a doctor. They listened, I did my own thing for once and hoped that would be the end. That evening, I returned to our room to find Logan's grandparents spooning in my bed -clothed, at least, his great grandparents and his father in his bed asleep. Logan was exploring his new computer and his mother was sitting at mine. She angrily began chastising me, "What kind of person has a 'password' on their computer? I've been trying to use your computer for some time now, and I can't get in!"

I was Logan's roommate for a week before I heard him utter a syllable.

I would quickly learn that much of Logan's issues were not his doing, but the result of his bizarre redneck life. None of that excuses it, however. It serves merely as a warning to you, the reader, that everything Logan would do, say and be over the next year was encouraged and validated by his family.

Tiger'ish Tales Vol. 1: The Beginning

I've decided the best way to write about my freshman year roommate, Logan, is to try to do it chronologically. The truly bizarre tales should be earned by you, the reader, and given greater context by having some background.

It was mid-summer 2000 and I had received my housing assignment letter. None of my friends from HS were going to the same college that I was so I took the "computer compatibility" housing option. This wasn't about personality, but a basic set of living questions that boiled down to 1.)Have you lived with a smoker? 2.)Are you a morning person or an evening person? and 3.)Would you be willing to bring a fridge or TV, and if so, which?

I opened the letter to see that my roommate was Logan, from Tennessee. Immediately my older brothers put forth the speculation that he was a big black dude. I, being a white boy from Milwaukee, could only agree. The letter also said that he would bring the TV and I the fridge.

I never got to use the contact number to call and confer with Logan becuase the phone company royally fucked up the entire area code and no one in it had phone service until after I'd be at school. The first contact with Logan would be in person.

Upon arriving at school I left my shit in the car to check in and get keys, etc. I find my RA, get shown my room and find a genteel white boy, with 3 generations in tow, and a dorm room that is completely decorated. Both beds made, both dressers full, etc. The RA tries to introduce me, but we are informed by a middle-aged southern woman that, "This is Logan's room." which prompted the following exchange between Logan's mom and the RA:

RA:And this is his roommate.
LM:But Logan got here first, let him use another room.
RA: This is their shared room.
LM:I understand he brought a refrigerator. Where is it?
RA:So you'll take his fridge, but expect him to live in another room? Ma'am, it's pretty simple. They share this room. Logan gets half. He gets half. One bed, desk, closet and dresser each. Now please clear out half of the room so he can move in. They share the sink, fridge and whatever else they decide.

So Logan sits there in silence while his daddy, granddaddy, and great granddaddy start tossing one half of the room. They all grumble about the inconvenience and injustice and that Logan's lefthanded so he should have his own room.

I am left-handed. I am also fucked. He's sitting there like a psychopath, and my very existence is already a problem for him. I had no idea what I was in for.

An Introduction

So here's the score: I've started this blog to serve as a compendium of all the fucked up stories I can remember about my roommate freshman year of college. There's all the context you get. They are all true. I imagine I'll also just join the ranks of everyone else and have a "blog." The difference being that I hold no delusions anyone besides me gives a damn or reads this. Comment if you wish. Share this if you wish.