If you’ve ever watched Sportscenter, David Letterman, or pretty much any show on the Travel Channel, you’re probably familiar with Top Tens. These days we love to concoct lists and rankings. Whether it’s the top ten plays of the day, the top ten beaches in America, or even the top ten childhood celebrities gone bad (E! viewers you know who you are), we love to sort them out and then count them down, always saving the best for last. In ten days I’ll be returning to campus to embark on another year’s journey at Holy Cross. But before I package up the memories from Freshman year and stick them in the attic, I think it’s only right to take a look back at some of the top moments from year one. This post is the first installment of a three part series. Today we deal with numbers ten, nine, and eight. So, without further adieu, let’s count ’em down.
#10 Loftus Goes Nuts
It was just the second week on campus and the awkwardness of meeting new people and getting acquainted with campus had long since subsided. Roughly twenty dorm-mates and I had begun a tradition that we called ‘Wheeler Wednesdays.’ Since most of us didn’t have class on Thursday morning, we took the opportunity to get out and run around a bit when the darkness set in. The game? Manhunt. If you’ve never heard of Manhunt and you think it sounds violent or dangerous, feel free to return your skeptically furrowed brow to it’s upright and locked position. Manhunt is simply a more competitive combination of Tag and Hide and Go Seek. Nevertheless, Manhunt requires both creativity when deciding on hiding spots, and athleticism to escape when the spots are discovered. Dan Loftus was and is one of the most athletic and most competitive members of my friend group, but he is by no means the fastest. That honor belongs to Charlie Cunningham – my friend, my roommate, and Track team extraordinaire. So when Dan was ousted from his shadowy nook and had to depend on pure foot speed to secure his escape, the rest of us looked for Charlie to track him down.
You know baby gazelles? You know how when they first learn to walk they look more awkward than the kid who peed his pants in pre-school because he really had to go but he was too shy to ask to be excused? (Okay, I’m getting off track, but for the record I’ve become more outspoken since then.) Well one day that baby gazelle gets separated from the pack and has to try to outrun a ferocious cheetah. It never escapes. Watching Dan and Charlie was a lot like that. Sorry Loftus. Dan the Gazelle had one hope and one hope only – a near impossible leap over a very sharp and very unforgiving fence. “For the love of elevation!” No, Linda Cohn, not this time. Next time you’re in Kimball Quad, check out the black iron around the statue. Then imagine a young freshman hanging from it by a ripped up sweatshirt. Later on, Dan revealed to us that one of the sharp iron points pierced the skin on his upper thigh, merely inches from his…well yeah. So anyways, the number 10 spot goes to a fear-stricken Dan Loftus during an overly-competitive game that 6 year-olds play. He went nuts that night trying to escape. We’re just glad his nuts didn’t go with him.
Wait, can I say that? We’ll find out. Let’s move on.
#9 Tyson Offers Wings, Brings Cake
My freshman year roommate and I had little in common. We came from different places, had different interests, and hung out with different people. I always heard about situations like this before I got to college, and it seemed that they always ended badly. I will never forget my first night at college. I stretched out on my skinny little mattress and tried to get some shuteye. I was nervous and excited, and it must have been around 2 a.m. before I finally drifted off. My roommate was still out. Just moments after I fell asleep, the door opened and Tyson walked in. I heard chewing and I smelled barbeque sauce. I rolled over and opened my eyes. There was Tyson, lounging on his bed with takeout from Wings Over Worcester. He saw me look at him, swallowed, and then held out the plate, “Want a wing?”
I wasn’t hungry. All I could think about was how strange the whole situation seemed. It was at that moment that I realized that college would be full of new and sometimes strange experiences.
Despite our strange encounter on my first night, Tyson and I struck a nice balance and enjoyed a peaceful coexistence. Between both of our busy schedules though, there were days and sometimes weeks during which we saw each other very little.
I had gone away for a weekend and when I came back Tyson was out somewhere on campus. I was tired so I went to bed early, before Tyson came back. In the morning I had to leave for class before Tyson woke up, and when I got back he had already gone to lunch. Our schedules seemed to clash more than Craig Sager’s outfits.
Sometime during that stretch I accidentally drank one of Tyson’s waters out of the fridge. When I realized my sin I bought two bottles to replace the stolen one. Tyson was quite grateful, and when I got back from work that same night I found a piece of chocolate cake waiting for me on my desk. “I brought you a piece of cake, Dan. I know how much you love cake.” He could not have been more right. It may seem like a simple exchange between roommates, but the water and the cake were in fact much more than that. For two people as different as Tyson and I were, our living situation could have been disastrous. Instead, I made sure he was hydrated and he made sure I satisfied my sweet tooth.
#8 Tom’s Biggest Mistake (He Just Doesn’t Know It Yet)
Whenever something went amiss on my half of the hallway, most people knew where to look. Tom Casavant, my neighbor and friend, put the tom in tomfoolery. So when I crawled into my bed after a four hour study session the night before a test and found it filled with packing peanuts, I knew exactly which door to knock on first.
“You mind cleaning up the mess you made, buddy?”
“What are you talking about?”
His act, I will admit, was convincing. He seemed to have no idea what I was talking about, but out of the goodness of his heart he helped me rid my bed of pesky little styrofoam nuggets. I thanked him and went to bed for the second time that night. But the longer I laid there the more convinced I became that Tom had done it. It had to be him. I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and put all of the skills I acquired from watching CSI: to work. Packing peanuts could only mean one thing…a package. And sure enough when I peeked into the trash can my eyes fell on a brown shipping box addressed to a Thomas Casavant. I hitched up my pants, squatted down to get a better look, said something incredibly cheesy, and put on my sunglasses just before the theme music. YEEEAHHHHH! Having completed my Horatio Caine moment, I tucked myself back in and fell asleep to dreams of revenge on Tom.
It took him a few days to confess, but the confession did come. And as Tom acknowledged, one prank deserves another in return. So what did I do? Nothing. Not yet. I’m letting it simmer. Tom, if you’re reading this, just know that I haven’t forgotten. I promise you that my revenge will appear on my sophomore Top Ten a year from now, and I promise you it will do better than #8.
Stay tuned for the next installment. Moments seven, six, and five are up next.