Wednesday, July 16, 2014


In my world, boredom usually results in one of two things happening. Either I end up spending the next six hours binge-watching something completely ridiculous like "Ice Road Truckers," or I end up in a car driving around with my best friend Jason wondering what the rest of the world does when THEY get bored.

The other night, I graduated to a newfound five-O level of boredom. That's right, I was booooored. Thankfully, there were no episodes of "Ice Road Truckers" to be found. This was a good thing, because the weather was nice and the walls of my house were closing in around me. One phone call and thirty minutes later, Jason and I found ourselves wasting gas on what was likely the 11,000th Quad Cities driving tour of our 20+ year friendship.

"We should shake things up this year," I said. "Do something different."
"Like what?" asked Jason.
"No clue," I admitted.
"We could join a fraternity."

Now there's a sentence I hadn't heard since college.

"I don't think we could pass for sophomores anymore, dude."
"Not THAT kind of fraternity," Jason said, pointing. "THIS kind of fraternity."

I looked out the window and we were passing one of those lodge/club/hall places.

"Ohhh," I said. "Isn't that for grey-hairs who like to sit around all night?"

That was when I caught a glance in the mirror of the sun glistening off the crop of silver hairs that I steadfastly refuse to believe are growing out of MY head.

"And you've pretty much made a career of sitting around all night."

Fair point. But joining one of those fraternal order society thingamajigs? I don't know if that's exactly my style. Then again, it wouldn't be the first time.

Yes, I was a "fraternity man" at college. The late, great Zeta Omega Omega, or ZOO for short. We were proudly the un-frat frat, though. There was no pledging, hazing, or initiation. Basically, it was just an excuse to throw parties. Did I really make a good frat guy? Hardly. I'm pretty sure half the guys never cared for me then or now. No, I think my joining owed a lot more to my desperate and shallow need for acceptance and their need for a DJ who'd work for free.

Still, it was a great experience. Some of the guys in that group I count among my closest friends for life. We've got alumni spread out all the country, and it's nice to know that wherever I roam, someone's got my back. So maybe I shouldn't turn my back on frat life just because I'm a boring, mature adult-type person.

There's just a few kinks in the plan. I'm not Catholic, so I don't think I can be a Knight of Columbus. And I'm pretty sure the Veterans of Foreign Wars (who are somewhat fraternal but not a fraternity) have this pesky rule about needing to be a veteran of a foreign war. As for the rest of them, I'd never survive the vote. I might still be desperate for acceptance, but I don't think the Moose or the Elk are in dire need of a hip-hop DJ, even if I work free (which I wouldn't. Wisdom comes with age.)

Let's face it. If I want to be in a fraternity, I'm probably gonna need to start my own. And that's how Jason and I spent the remainder of our drive: plotting our super cool awesome neat-o frat that everyone will want to join just as soon as we win the lottery and have enough money to found it. Don't worry, we worked out all the details. We need:

• A cool name. Elk and moose and eagles are all fine animals, don't get me wrong. But we need our frat to convey power and mysticism and to strike fear into the hearts of goats worldwide. That's why we've settled on The Royal Order of the Knights of the Chupacabra.

• Sweet hats. All frats have ridiculous headgear, or at least they should. I figure since nobody really knows what a chupacabra looks like, we can just glue some cat hair onto a beanie and call it a thing, right?

• Tiny cars. No offense to you Shriners, but you guys can't have the lock on the awesome red hats AND the tiny cars. It's just not fair. We want in on that action.

• Spooky mysterious symbols everywhere. No one will know what they mean, because they will mean nothing. But we need to constantly pretend as if the Chupacabra secretly run the government, possess the Holy Grail, have ties with the Illuminati, faked the moon landings, and are hiding reptilian humanoids behind our window-less meeting halls. In reality, of course, we'll be inside listening to the Wu-Tang Clan, eating Doritos, and probably binge-watching "Ice Road Truckers."

• GIRLS. A fraternity by definition is an organized society of men dedicated to the intellectual, physical, and social development of its members. But when I was in ZOO, pretty much our only priority was seeing to it that cute girls came to our parties. So the honorable Knights of the Chupacabra will henceforth be a uni-ternity and let women in upon request. I hope they like "Ice Road Truckers."

• An open door policy. The only thing we Chupacabra will discriminate against are jerkwads. If you're really abhorrent and annoying, no way. But if you're a decent person, you're in. If you can DJ for free, you're in faster -- I'm going to be a little busy, what with all the truckers and ice roads and such.

I know absolutely nothing about the fraternal organizations of the Quad Cities, so I plead ignorant. You guys do great things for the community, and I've played trivia and DJed parties in many of your fine rental halls. So please don't think I'm teasing you with this column. Truth is, I'm jealous and curious and desperate for acceptance. You've all been nothing but nice to me, and I hope you'll extend the same courtesy when the Ancient Mystical Benevolent Fraternal Order of the 33rd Rite of the Mighty Chupacabra come to town. Look for us on a parade route near you.

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