Monday, July 10, 2006
Remembrances of Ogg Halls Past
This is charcoal rendition of the mighty Ogg Hall, where yours truly spent his freshman year of college at the mighty cold University of Wisconsin-Madison. The picture almost makes Ogg Hall look like a nice place to spend your first year of college. It is not. It is, in fact, a complete shithole.
There is an old tradition at the UW. This tradition entails getting very liquored up and standing in the blacktop quad next to Ogg Hall and screaming "Ogg Sucks!" at the top of one's lungs (it is also acceptable to scream "Ogg Sucks!" from your window if it faces the mighty Ogg Hall). When I first arrived at Ogg, I was sort of put off by this tradition. I mean, sure, the rooms were all doubles and seemed to be about 10' x 10'. And sure, someone was always breaking something, or throwing up on something, or passing out on something. And sure, there was no cable available in the dorm rooms, so you had to use the common rooms, which had only 1 TV and there was only 1 common room per every 2 floors. And sure, the foosball table was always broken...&c., &c., &c. But hey, at least it was co-ed.
Anyway, you get the picture. Pretty soon I was standing in the quad yelling "Ogg Sucks!", and standing right beside me was my roommate, Mikey P. Mike was just a good kid from a small, suburban town not entirely unlike my own - except that it was in Wisconsin. Our first night in Ogg we stayed up all night talking, and we became fast friends. Mike was skinny as a rail, drank Mountain Dew by the caseload, and had a tendency to avoid showering for way too many days in a row. But he was my boy, and we had a really, really good time in that fucking shithole dorm. They are knocking down Ogg Hall. It will soon be gone forever, enshrined only in the memories of shmoes like me and Mike, who had the distinct pleasure of being trapped in those tiny, crappy, institutional grey rooms our Freshman years.
Mike remained my roommate for all 5 years I spent at school. We had other roomies, but the last two years it was just me and Mike, hanging out and doing our thing. Despite the fact that I was a major fuck up for my first 3 years of school, I still managed to graduate before him (the fact that he double-majored in Zoology and Paleontology had a lot to do with that little feat), and the day I packed up my 12 year old Celica and drove out of Madison was about the saddest I'd ever seen Mike. Me? I was ecstatic. I was done with school, ready to move on with my life. From my perspective, Mike and I had already spent entirely too much time together and we both needed to get out into the world.
I should preface this last part by noting that I am a terrible keeper-in-toucher. I don't initiate calls or e-mails or letters and overall I am basically a bastard. I don't know why, I just let things slide. Then, I feel shitty and try to track people down, but by then it's almost always assuredly too late. So, sure enough, after spending a couple of years calling me up on the phone to see how I was doing, Mike gave up trying to keep in touch with me. I think it was when he didn't respond to my wedding invitation or call me after 9/11 happened that I finally got the picture. I felt bad about it. I still do. So, in honor of my long lost friend Mikey P. (and as a direct corollary to Captain Corky's prior post about the past lepers of our lives), I'm dedicating my first-ever blog post to him. He was a good friend and a strongly positive influence on my life back when I was a very lost soul. I owe him a lot, and he deserved better from me.
So, Mike, wherever you are, this one's for you, you magnificent bastard: