What did I learn this weekend? Apparently, in Maine, the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — much like a coat and tie at Mory’s — is an optional rule to be followed at one’s convenience. More on this later.
I recently made the long trek up the East Coast, passing through several of the quaint little “mini-states” before stopping in woodsy, pristine, isolated, mind-numbingly cold Lower New Brunswick, which the locals insist on calling Maine. The trip was for an a cappella “invitational,” which implies some criteria for selection — keyword: implies. Since I arrived in the early evening, the short daylight hours characteristic of this Arctic territory had long passed. I took in the nouvel ancien — French for “Swing Space” — buildings surrounding me on this small college campus. Since I have started writing, I have learned my lesson about anonymity (thank you girl-from-large-Midwestern-city who wears the color pink like a scarlet letter). To protect those involved, I will refer to Colby College as “Colby High School.” We were met by our hostess and escorted to the lounge that would serve as our holding cell until showtime.
Why do I say high school? Well, for starters, there are fewer students there than at my high school. And more importantly, everyone wears the same thing. I began to sense that something was up when the caboose of every female on whom my eyes were fixed was adorned with the same trademark. It was as if the Seven Jeans Company had successfully lobbied the administration to enforce strict pant conformity. And, despite what a designer name drop in the last sentence may imply, I insist that I was staring at girls, not dudes. I was reminded of my friends from Catholic school who could not wait to ditch the blue shirt and khakis of their uniform to don their equally standardized Abercrombie uniform.
Moving right along: the concert. Yay. They love us. How could they not? We were the only male group. Oddly, despite our overwhelmingly male presence, we (OK, I) was unable to translate that onstage love into offstage love. Groupies at Colby High really should be forced to attend a weekend “groupie camp” with groupies of Motley Crue and Poison to be trained in suitably loose groupie behavior.
After a glass of champagne, I race back to the holding cell, excited by rumors of a waiting keg. I am soon informed that we are waiting on the arrival of the campus police so that they can tap the keg.
Excuse me? Campus police? Tapping the keg? I wonder in what sort of alternate universe this place exists. I sate myself with a bit of rubbing alcohol labeled “vodka,” which was distilled in the backwoods of Lower New Brunswick. Almost as good as the stuff we drink here from Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Are we kidding ourselves? Vodka from New Jersey is like a person with three heads: normal in New Jersey, but not accepted elsewhere. As I am pondering these life-defining matters, two paratroopers from the campus police descend onto our holding cell and immediately confiscate the rubbing alcohol. They parade around the room like Mr. Universe contestants, their arms jutting several inches out from their bodies, ostensibly searching for more suspicious contraband. I think better than to ask if they have tapped the keg.
Frustrated by the paratroopers, we stop at the senior apartments across the street, where I promptly offend someone by calling her a lush. Sorry, miss, but lamenting the fact that only one of your hands is currently holding a beer does in fact make you a lush. After “Lush-ious” finished off the beer, a move was made to hit the road.
An off-campus party sounded appealing, as it seemed out of the wide reach of the dreaded campus police. About 27 people pile into our van. My face is smashed against some girl’s back; it is the closest I am to groupie love all night. How can an orgy of these many entangled limbs be so distinctly non-sexual? We arrive at the party. As I approach the front door, I am immediately told to leave. Apparently the Wehrmacht that is the campus police is on its way. Campus police? At an off-campus party? Given the length of the drive we just took, we must be in northern Manitoba by now, right? I run to hide in the basement.
Now we enter the constitutional dilemma of the evening.
Our unfortunate hostesses are forced to withstand an officer with a big (or is it small?) Napoleon complex at the door. He informs them that he is in fact allowed to enter the house. To emphasize his point, he pulls a copy of our grand constitution and takes a festering dump on it. (OK, that did not really happen. But you see my point.) Forcible entry by law enforcement evidently does not constitute unreasonable search and seizure in the lawless wilds of Maine. The hostess attempts to touch him on the shoulder to ask a question. He tells her that is assault. By that measure, I committed several class-A felonies at Toad’s last weekend.
Eventually, we leave. I harangue about the Fourth Amendment outside. If we can not take part in Bacchanalian festivities underage at off-campus parties, what has our founding fathers’ vision of our fair republic come to? Perhaps the uncivilized, puerile masses at Colby are not acquainted with the luxuries an Ivy-league education affords. My friend punches me in the face. The harangue comes to an end as does my trip to Colby High/Maine/Lower New Brunswick.
All I have to say is that I am looking forward to having my very own campus police over soon for a little meet-and-greet. Maybe they will even bring the tap.
Robby Schrum was a Poison groupie — he has the funny rash to prove it.