Metzger 4–Thanks for the Memories…RIP J.

I’m not sure what prompted me to do it. Boredom maybe. I was tooling around Facebook reading statuses of people I knew a lifetime ago. I guess that sparked curiosity. I typed an old friend’s name into the Facebook search bar and when I started reading his wall I saw messages from his friends’ and family speaking about how much they miss him, and what a wonderful person he was. The past tense told me that my old friend had died. Scrolling back I saw that his last post was in October.

I hadn’t spoken to him in years. I think the last time we’d communicated was right before he got married a few years back. I remember seeing people post congratulations on his wall. During one of my periodic friends list clean ups I’d deleted him. Our lives were in different places. It seemed silly to expose him to my banal status updates, and I’m not a big fan of people I don’t really know, having such intimate knowledge of my family. I was happy to know he was happy. There was no need for anything more.

I find myself very affected by this new knowledge. It really feels like there is one less light on in the world, and it makes me sad to know he’s gone. More than sad, though, I’m feeling extremely nostalgic as I remember him, and the adventures we had together. He was a significant character during a very significant year of my life.

It was some random twist of life that brought him into my life. In fact, a random twist that brought us all together as college freshman back in 1999. We were living on a campus that was unofficially designated for the Engineering majors, but also acted as overflow from the Main Campus. I was there because that college was not my first choice. On the very last day of the deadline I accepted the space they’d offered me. I’d wanted to go somewhere else, and spend an entire summer convincing myself that I’d made the right decision. Had I accepted earlier, I’d probably lived on College Ave, but my lateness secured me a triple on Metzger 4. When I moved in that first day, tucking my pink plaid comforter over the matching sheets, I had no idea what kind of mayhem laid before me.

I can’t speak for other people’s freshman experiences, but mine was filled with a cast of characters who would each imprint themselves on my life. One thing was for sure, there was copious amounts of alcohol involved. I rubbed the backs of numerous floormates as they puked the contents of the night into a garbage can. There were drunken confessions made to one another, about fears, virginities still in tact, unrequited loves. There were immature wars between the Koreans, who clung together from the start, and the rest of the floor. There was napster and photoshop. Naive forrays into the mysteries of casual sex, and one night stands would take place. Pranks. Drinking challenges. Puzzles to be solved. I won’t call it the best year of my life, but if I had to choose one year to relive, this year would be in my top five. It wasn’t all fun and games. Rivalries were formed, alliances made, feelings hurt, relationships torn apart. Furniture was destroyed, windows broken, incredible messes made, and fires were literally set. It was amazing, and terrible and something I enjoy thinking about despite it, and because of it all. It was a coming of age year, for lots of us. Virginities were lost. People came out of the closet. Identities began to bloom. At least one person met their wife that year.

J. was a friend in the most platonic sense. He was devoted to his girlfriend, and I was…well I just had my sights set on other guys. Although the whole floor was incredibly amicable (minus the Korean mafia), we tended to group together. I had a complicated relationship with one of the guys on the floor, and would spend most of my time in his room, with his roommate(who went home to his girlfriend every weekend). They’d both graduated from the same high school and had an incredibly delightful bantering relationship. Somewhere along the line J. completed the foursome. He was a comedic addition, whose mischief added a much needed punch to our lives.  We’d all hang out in R. & E.’s room, at first spending hours trying to figure out the math puzzle E had created. There was a message within a pattern of letters he’d hung like a border on his side of he room. J. would change their computer password, using the screensaver to leave them a clue to what the new one would be. He masterminded pranks, painting dirty pictures with detergent on the walls of their room, so it was only visible under the new blacklight they’d installed. Once we removed all of R’s furniture from the room, and even changed the answering machine message so it was just E’s room.

He totally ignored the rule that freshman weren’t allowed to have cars, and we would go on late night driving adventures, sometimes stealing pumpkins from the lawns of the nearby homes, one time coming home with a plastic Joseph from a nativity scene. It became the indicator of whether or not he was on the floor. If Joseph was lit, he was home.

Somehow we evolved into spending every Tuesday together. He had this endearingly obnoxious way of screaming my name from down the hall, and beating on my door until I emerged, ready to leave. We’d go to the dining hall, then we’d embark on some kind of expedition, usually involving some kind of shopping. I’d never known anyone like him. He wasn’t afraid to speak or act. If he was thinking it, you’d know it. He didn’t follow conventional rules. Once we went to the store for him to buy clothes, and instead of taking a pair of pants to the dressing room, he dropped trow and tried them on right there in the middle of the store. If he couldn’t find me, he would yell my name from the opposite end of the store, navigating towards me like a game of Marco Polo, where I’d reply with his name until we found each other.

He went home almost every single weekend, to see his girlfriend, whereas I stayed and partied as much as I could. Only once did he go to a party with me, and he ended up saving me after he’d noticed I was acting strange–I’d been Rufied. He was why I got home safely. Over winter break, with $40 in my pocket, I spent almost an entire week in his town, bouncing from his friend’s couch, to his house, to his girlfriend’s house until my Mom broke down and recovered me.

After I failed my first semester and stopped living there, we saw each other less. R and I broke up for good. E and I were never really friends. We didn’t really see one another much. I think I saw him two years later, because I was visiting R, and they were roommates in an apartment by then.And from there…well be just both grew up and moved on.

I don’t actually have any friends that I’ve kept from those days. I have a few faces on my friend’s list that make me smile when I see a new baby, or pictures of their recent luxurious vacation, but just recently, my last tie from those days was dissolved, and the cheese stands alone. I’m not upset about it. I mean, I only lasted that one year, and only half of that as a full time resident. It’s awesome to hear that one of us has gotten married, another has moved across the country, yet another is hoping to work for NASA. Seeing the transformations from our 18 year old days to our 30s is jarring too. I know there are more lines, more curves, and more scars on my own body then back then.

It’s sad to hear that a light on Metzger 4 has gone out, but I’m glad for the memories. It’s something we all share. A moment in our lives we can’t go back to, but we get to relive every time someone talks about their freshman year.

Thank you Metzger 4. We were hardcore. We were the floor we could never ignore.

Leave a comment


  1. Pam G

     /  April 27, 2012

    Love it! What a great trip down memory lane. J will be greatly missed. I remember being in the dining hall and hearing him scream my name in the Marco Polo fashion you speak of and never lowering his voice as I got closer to him! You people want some four??? LOL


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