Thursday, September 24, 2009

Freaks and Frats

I was torn between two worlds at UGA: The Freaks and The Frats

For most of the day, I was meandering from class to class with my fellow art students, like "The Roach", a Fine Arts painting major who didn't speak. And when I say didn't speak ... I'm not talking about saying a few words every once in a while ... I mean he NEVER said anything. He was really tall, really skinny and had hair and a beard that covered his entire face. No one knew what he really looked like.

His nickname was not derived from what he smoked to get high ... he actually painted abstract roaches on canvasses. The canvasses were huge and there were three roaches on each one. The teachers called him a genius and praised his work daily.  I ran into Roach years later. Still had long hair and a beard ... but he finally spoke. In fact, he was giving a lecture at the Museum of Modern Art about one of his paintings that MOMA had acquired. Go and figure!

At night I'd hang out at the fraternity house for dinner and then we'd sit around and belch and look cool in Athens frat attire ... matching socks and shirts, sweaters tucked into  pants and perfectly cropped early Beatles haircuts. Everyone looked the same ... except for Larry. He never wore a shirt and often no pants. Larry's major goal in life was to build a reputation as a badass. He was not too tall ... maybe 5'8" ... had a muscular build and bright red hair. He was the guy who scared all the pledges and stayed up late dreaming up ways to humiliate them ... like dropping them off in the middle of nowhere naked without money (that was one of the more creative, intellectual pranks he dreamed up.)

Larry had issues. I remember once he hid in a closet all day because apparently some girl was after him to go to Vegas to get married. I asked him why he just didn't say no instead of hiding there ... so ... he bit me. He dropped out of school, married the Vegas girl and went to work for a construction company. The owner really liked Larry alot. Five years later the owner dropped dead and left the company to Larry who now owns one of the most successful construction companies in Atlanta. You see a pattern here?

 Here's what I think. Whether you start out as a frat or a freak, you can still succeed in this world if you just remember this:

"There are no losers ... just other idiots who can make you rich and powerful."

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