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Destruction and kleptomania go hand in hand with drinking and fraternity life, especially among rival houses. I’ve known our pledges lash out at rival houses in ways that vary from stealing their porch furniture to pissing on their front doors. It’s a rite of passage and, for the most part, a healthy way to fuel an innocuous house war. As far as I’m concerned, anything left outside the bastions of fratitude (from furniture to mailboxes, drunk brothers to loose bricks) can be an instrument of mischief. It’s all fair game.
But one time, our rivals took the feud too far.
Three years ago, during a nomadic period in my chapter’s history, the resident men found themselves in their third house in as many years. Packing up and moving nearly 50 years of chapter artifacts started to take its toll, as some older composites and paddles were lost to time and others were broken or flat-out ruined. The survivors, however, were kept on unwavering display in the chapter’s penthouse, thought to be an out-of-reach destination for drunken vandals or members of rival fraternities (the two are mutually inclusive). Continuing to hang all of our old composites was a testament to our resilience as a fraternity: Though we had lost our mansion on north campus, we were determined to work our way back and celebrate two score and ten years of hard hazing and perpetual probation. Though askew and out of order, the survivors glowed from the walls with pride.
Honoring our letters, but feeling no sentiment towards the temporary locale, the house brothers took no special care of the home, and let the parties run wild. A clumsy, drunk fat girl cost a brother three feet of drywall outside of his room. The living room wall was riddled with more holes than the plot of The Butterfly Effect. Someone threw up in the second floor bathroom and it went uncleaned for months. But the worst of the house desecration came during an anarchic Saturday party, hours after the football team was shellacked by a freshman Jameis Winston and his merry band of Seminoles. A member of a rival fraternity stumbled his way to the house’s bedrooms and pushed his way past the makeshift barricades (which was actually the drywall from a brother’s bedroom pressed into a stairwell), where he found himself on the penthouse floor, in a museum of paddles and retro composites.
In a bitter act of drunken dickheadedness, our drunken rival grabbed the first composite he could reach — one from the early ’90s — and ran to the top floor bathroom. With the door locked behind him, he set the frame in the tub, dropped his drawers, and took a big shit in the middle of the composite — right where the mascot glowered from the glossy print. To this day, no one is sure if he even wiped or not. The offending party made an inconspicuous exit and left his handiwork to be found and cleaned by an unfortunate pledge later that night.
Years later, we remain diligent about keeping our older composites out of reach of party-goers. The ones on display in the living room are only the most recent, and they’re hung high and out of reach of anyone short of Shaq. The portraits of brothers past stay locked in the attics and closets of auxiliary houses, away from any shitty acts of vandalism.
When we go to these great lengths to protect our composites, I always pose the question: “Is there no sanctity left in Greek life?” I ask how much you must hate another group of men to not just steal a piece of their history, but to take a metaphorical and literal shit on it. It’s not only deep disrespect for your rival, it’s like shitting on all of Greek life. We’ve since taken the high road. We sought no direct retribution — that is to say, we leave their composites out of our feud.
But I do feel for the pledges that have to hose all the shit off our rival’s front porch every couple weeks..