The most stressful part of coming back to college every year is meeting your roommates. Best case scenario – you get a new groomsman. Worst case scenario…actually, there are infinity worst-case scenarios. Lice. Top-bunk toenail clipper. Kleptomaniac. Pyromaniac. Regular maniac.
To take a few bullets out of the Roommate Roulette chamber, many college students choose to room with people they already know. Sure, they may be lowering their chances of making a new BFF, but when it comes time to confront a vindictive shower urinater, you need all the allies you can get.
That’s why I decided to room with my brother Jesse my junior year of college. I was already pretty familiar with Jesse’s work as a roommate after sharing a room with him for 20 years. He had a few annoying habits like leaving his light on after falling asleep, but at least I knew he wouldn’t give me scabies.
After a week in my new room, I was relieved to find out that I wouldn’t be needing Jesse as an ally. My other two roommates, Chris and Jason, were fantastic. Chris even showed us how to hook up our computers through a LAN network to play video games against each other. A few weeks into the semester, we started a tradition of playing Medal of Honor: Allied Assault every Friday after midnight against the room next door. I’m not much for video games, but Friday night MOHAA was one of my favorite college traditions.
Unfortunately, Friday night was not the only time the LAN network made an appearance. One Sunday afternoon, I walked into the room to take a nap. Sunday afternoon naps are, and have always been, among my favorite parts of life. I opened the door to find four nerds I’d never seen before shouting incomprehensible things at their laptops.
“You just got pwned!!”
“Chris? What is this?” I asked.
“A LAN party.”
I did not get a nap.
The LAN parties continued, and not just on the weekends. Monday night. Tuesday afternoon. Nerds on nerds on nerds, piling into my room, unplugging my printer, sitting on my bed, LEAVING CRUMBS ON MY BED.
I needed an ally.
“Jesse, we need to end this.”
Jesse, it should be mentioned, has one weakness: video games. And he was getting sucked in.
A few weeks later, I had a technical writing paper due – a 20-page user manual for a printer. If that project sounds like The Worst, it wasn’t, because I also had to write a 30-page review of dictionaries that year, but it was for sure The Second Worst. As such, I had put it off until the last possible afternoon. Walking back to my room that afternoon, I mentally prepared myself to focus for the next four hours. All I had to do was…
I opened the door. LAN party.
And some kid was using my desktop.
“OK no! We are not doing this today!”
Jesse turned around from his computer. “Settle down.”
“He’ll get off after this game, and it’s all yours. Just settle.”
I stared at Jesse. Everyone else smiled. The uptight kid had gotten pwned. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to concentrate amid a bazooka battle.
I did not settle, and I did not forget.
I did not settle, and I did not forget.
A few weeks later, Jesse had pulled an all-nighter to get an art project done. Right before he collapsed in bed, he handed me his project to turn in for him. “Room 201 at 9 o’clock,” he said with a deranged look in his eye.
“201. 9 o’clock. If it’s late, I lose a full letter grade.”
Jesse collapsed. I turned around and smiled.
I handed Jesse’s project to his teacher at 8:55, then stood in the hallway next to the bell for four minutes. At 8:59:20, I called him.
“Hey, I put it on the table, but I just thought it was weird that no one was in the classroom.”
“What do you mean no one was in the classroom?”
“Like the lights were off…”
I timed it perfectly. At that moment, I held the phone up. The bell rang.
“NO! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” Jesse hung up on me.
Jesse is getting married this weekend, and he will be getting a new roommate for life. April, I can assure you that Jesse is an excellent roommate. I’m excited for you two to start your life together.
But if video games start to get in the way, well just see me. I have a few ideas.
LIFE LESSON #73
Video game pwnings are fun, but not nearly as fun as real-life pwnings.