Tyree: Dorm life: good, bad or ugly? |

So after earning an associate degree from our local community college, my son Gideon is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mechatronic engineering from my old alma mater.

This only child who had never really spent the night away from home carefully adapts to life in a dormitory. (“Dormitory”: Latin for “Who needs Latin? We’ve got panties to loot and fire extinguishers to unload!”)

So far, he and his roommate are coexisting amicably. But I’ve seen enough “roommate from hell” stories online to know that’s not everyone’s college experience. (Atheists have terrible dorm anecdotes. Who wants to hear about the “roommate from a state of non-existence after death”? But I digress.)

Many circumstances can create friction between roommates. The recurring complaint about “breaking boundaries” features in one of Gideon’s favorite anecdotes from my college days.

I remember following my friend John to his dorm. (Maybe that was when we failed to make it to a sold-out screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”) John generously offered me chips. While I was snacking, his roommate Ralph (a future lawyer) came in and let it be known that he was the real owner of the aforementioned snacks. Ralph snapped, “Huh. It says right on the bag, “Goes great with dips”, and you were drawn right in by them! »

Yes, ground rules should be established – regarding borrowing, bedtime, thermostats, hygiene, visitors, decorations, TV/stereo volume, etc. And there are always problems. (“Were you raised in a barn??? Those pastel headphones are throwing the whole feng shui out of the room!”)

I can think of at least two freshmen who assumed it would be fun, fun, fun to share a room with their high school classmate, only to have things head south in a hurry. Suddenly, BFF started representing Butthead Facing Fury.

I always took the chance of the draw when it came to roommates. I haven’t been in contact with any of my roommates since I graduated, but I still treasure my memories.

Ken has achieved the lofty goal of being both a comic book nerd and a ladies’ man. I remember Ken playing a Richard Pryor LP, which had the Pied Piper effect of drawing neighbors into the room one by one, until we had a full house. Of course, that doesn’t mean much for a dorm.

You can’t write home, “Dear Mom and Dad, I’m feeling claustrophobic” without opening the window or hallway door to make room to write “claustrophobic.”

Nate was a gentle soul who had issues with my politics, my lack of pace, and the boldness I displayed by not being born in Philadelphia. (What can I say? I’ve won “Rebel Fetus of the Trimester” three times in a row.)

At least I didn’t have a room with the guy who lived in my friend Jack’s dorm. Jack nicknamed him “Sieg Heil!” for he could often be seen alone in his room doing a sort of goose-step dance to deafening polka music. I suspect Sieg! was nearly worthless in late-night study sessions. (“I know nothing! I see nothing! I hear nothing!”)

I hope Gideon continues to enjoy dorm life, graduates, and gets a respectable job. I hope he finds plenty of chips for his electronic projects.

And that Ralph doesn’t show up with a cease and desist order. Sigh

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— Danny Tyree is a columnist with the newspaper syndicate Cagle Cartoons Inc.

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