“The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggle.” Having survived yet another year of the Silliman housing lottery, I can say, without a doubt, that truer words have never been written (except for what they say about that Matt Damon, cross your fingers! Ooh!). Fortunes are made and squandered with each turn of the card in that annual game of sadistic real estate tarot. The class struggle, of course, comes in when those who have freshly (and usually quite temporarily) accelerated beat out someone older and manage to snag that elusive dream room.
Of course, as in any great Marxist fable, there are revolutionaries, those men and women who, fed up with constant oppression, mount their desks and hoist their shoddy cardboard signs high above their heads, screaming through teary eyes and gritted teeth: “Union! Union!”
No disrespect to locals 34 and 35, but what column would be complete without a Norma Rae reference? None! It’d be like Cirque du Soleil without the butchered French! Sex without the live animals! A cappella without homosexuals!
The most noble and admirable moment of civil disobedience I’ve ever witnessed occurred last year at my college’s housing lottery. Gather ’round close now, good workers, Comrade Bradley’s going to weave you a fascinating tale of betrayal, bribery and teased hair the likes of which has been unseen since they canceled “Dallas.”
Our story begins at the dawn of history: March 2003. A group of intelligent, passionate, lovely, young women only wanted what they deserved: eight single bedrooms on the same hallway. Unfortunately, however, the cards were not in their favor and as the night progressed, their dream was cruelly snatched from their cloying grasps like so many Australian babies in the mouths of dingoes.
In that very moment, when the last group of eight bedrooms disappeared, I saw the birth of a revolution. No, there was no soap box, no manifesto, not even a coherently constructed plan, but I’ll tell you what there was: an angry Sillibitch with fire in her soul and lite beer in her hand. “Stop! Stop the lottery!” she cried “We will give you $400 NOT to take that room! Stop being so selfish!”
Did it matter that it was grossly inappropriate to keep everyone waiting during their drunken, public tantrum? Did it matter that there were still around 30 people ahead of them in the draw? Did it matter that they were therefore going to need roughly $12,000 in fluid assets to ensure her group got their rooms? No, all that mattered was that she had a dream. Even now, when I remember her desperate cry and the can of Schaefer shaking in her left hand, my eyes begin to well up with tears.
Prior to this moment, only the poetic lyrics of Fefe Dobson and Hilary Duff could have stirred such emotion in me.
Even though their first uprising proved unsuccessful, the Sillibitches returned, with renewed revolutionary fervor, to the doubles draw and yet again, the fickle mistress Fortuna dealt them a horrible blow, like, seriously, a blow with teeth: the last pick of the draw.
In moments of desperation, people are capable of things they never before imagined. Mothers dive into traffic to save their children. Men gnaw off their legs when trapped beneath fallen redwoods. And some, once they’ve reached rock bottom, offer sexual favors because they don’t want to live on the fourth floor.
There comes a time in every man’s life when, socialist tendencies aside, he must question his own sexuality. The time was then. That man was me.
“You guys can’t pick that room,” she said to me. “We need it. I’ll do anything.”
“Anything? Okay, how about you hook up with me for an hour?” I jokingly offered.
She stared at the floor for a while, biting her lower lip. Finally, she looked me in the eye. “Fine. Okay.”
“Well, you know that just because I’m a homo doesn’t mean we’re going to sit around and curl each other’s hair. We’re not going to gossip and listen to Bernadette Peters. We’re gonna hook up. For real. And I am NOT afraid to go downtown.”
More deliberation followed as beads of sweat emerged on her forehead. “All right. I’ll do it.”
My heart raced with joy! I hadn’t seen a real vagina since that time at summer camp when my bunkmates pushed me into the girls’ shower room and what a time that was! Huzzah! It was at long last time to hold high the furry cup and drink the elixir of life! Drink and live, Bradley, drink and live!
Alas, my tryst was never to be and my brief flirtation with cunnilingus, quite like that original $400 dollar bribe, never came to be.
Like Napoleon, sent into exile on the Isle of Elba, their ringleader, finally defeated heaved a sigh and said: “I just can’t take this anymore. Next year, we’re moving off-campus.”
Looking back on the whole, disturbing affair, it really makes you realize just how awful life can be for a group of upper-middle class white girls at an Ivy League University. Maybe what Marx and Engels meant by “class struggle” was a fight between those who have it and those who don’t. Like, for real, you guys, like, oppression totally sucks.
Bradley Bailey will give you $400 to give him housing tonight. Uh-huh.