Monday, February 9, 2009

The Farmhouse, Part 4

Our hell week began with the traditional “pledge meal,” supposedly intended to fortify us for the tough week ahead. We walked a gantlet of brothers screaming in our ears things like, “You are the lowest bottom-feeding suckers of slime!” and “You are the dingleberries in the hairy crack of ignorance!” Entering the party room of the new fraternity house, where our dinner was to be served, we were first led in an especially long session of calisthenics, during which we were pelted with eggs and gobs of mustard. Insults continued to be shouted above the blaring rock music.

At last, they seated us at a table. We were each given a large raw onion and told to eat it as we would an apple. When we had finished that “salad course,” our “entrée” arrived. Cans of Alpo dog food were emptied into bowls and then smothered in a gravy of Pepto Bismal.
The room rocked with uproarious laughter each time one of us, pale and splattered in bright yellow, gagged and then vomited in the waste cans placed beside us for that purpose.

When they had tired of this amusement, the brothers threw us into ice-cold showers. After we dressed in dry clothes, we underwent another hellish exercise session before being hustled into a car and driven to the farm. While our masters drank and warmed themselves by the fireplace that evening, we scrubbed the filthy wooden floors, over and over again. Eventually, we were allowed to sleep – on the floor – but were wakened every hour to perform more push-ups and jumping jacks.
When dawn arrived, I felt a sense of satisfaction that we had made it through the first night, and perhaps the worst of it. We feasted on bowls of dry cereal and then the Pledge Master told us to prepare ourselves, because the “hell” of hell week was about to begin.


Anonymous said...

Oh what people will suffer just to belong to a group. I sure hope it was worth it!

Ellipses said...

Park... I love this story... I hope it has 43241 parts. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

As a fraternity man myself, I am happy that our organization did not act this way. We did push our pledges, but it was to build their ability to work in a group and NEVER to degrade them. We tried one degrading activity and because of it, some of us, myself including, refused to participate as brothers in hell week. Thank you for this story so that I can see how truly lucky I was.