April 3, 2008

April's Fool

When I was in my junior year of college I pulled what I thought was a harmless April Fool’s prank on my mom. About 17 frantic phone calls later, one of which was to the Dean of my school, I have forever sworn off April Fool’s Day.

That was the year I was the Vice President of my sorority, which basically means I was in charge of planning all the parties and benefits we threw, and designing all the t-shirts we wore and sold. It was a great job and I loved it.


There were definitely more than a few nights when I would rant and rage to my roommate about how ridiculous the rest of the sorority was being about picking out a shirt or deciding on a theme for a date party and how I was soooo stressed out from planning whatever 14 keg party happened to be coming up.

I know you're all laughing.

It’s ok. I laugh about it now too. However, that year? That year I took it all VERY SERIOUSLY.

Also, that year the girl who was President was completing an internship in San Antonio, which meant she was pretty much never around. She was going to school to be a CPA, so spring was a really busy time for the firm she was interning with and a lot of the typically “presidential” duties fell down to me that second semester.

To add to the insanity that was the second half of my junior year, the Dean and Provost of the university were taking strict measures against any and all hazing violations by the fraternities and sororities. Being a small community, TLU life outside of the classroom really revolved around 3 things—sports, Greek life, and drinking. If you weren’t involved in one of those 3 activities on a regular basis, you probably commuted into Seguin from San Antonio, and were married with 3 kids.

So, like I was saying, Greek life was a big deal on campus. However, we were fiercely proud of the fact that we were all “local” fraternities and sororities, which meant we held no affiliation with national Greek organizations and did things a little, um, differently than the big names did.

We hazed the shit out of our pledges.

While there were stories all over the news of such and such fraternity getting kicked off UT campus for hazing, little old TLU kept on truckin’. 50 miles south of the schools that were getting national attention for swatting their pledges on the butts with wooden paddles, we were not phased.

**I need to note here that girls do not hit each other. I was never hit by a sorority sister with anything the whole time I was a Gamma. Except possibly a beer can, and I am going to blame hours upon of hours of drinking for that.**

So a big part of the spring semester was “Pledge Season,” during which time we would subject the poor freshman girls who only wanted to be a part of our sorority to psychological abuse for the duration of the semester.

That sounds really dramatic and mean. Really, it wasn't so bad. Mean, yes, but no real harm done.

Regardless of how harmless we viewed the actions, these were all things we could have gotten in really big trouble for by the Dean and Provost. We knew this. Did it stop us? Heck no! It motivated us to become more stealthy about we made the girls do. I’m not going to spill all the details, but just know that it sucked for the pledges. And for the actives, there was always the possibility of being found out, which made everything feel a little dangerous.

Right before April 1st, our brother fraternity got busted for hazing. Their charter was taken away and they were no longer allowed to represent their fraternity on campus. This made local and area news, so of course my parents knew what was going on and what it meant for the boys who had gotten in trouble. One more offense for any of them, and they would be expelled from TLU.

The night of the 1st, we were hosting a benefit for the organization we raised money for and I got a little tipsy. We started talking about pranks we had pulled in past years and somehow everyone got it in their heads that it would be a great idea to start calling our parents and playing jokes on them. It was 11:30 at night. On a Thursday.

When it was my turn, I called my mom and when she picked up I said the first thing that came to my head.

“Mom? I’ve been expelled.”

“Huh?” She had obviously been asleep.

“I’ve been expelled, Mom,” I repeated, trying to make my voice shake like I was really scared to be reporting this news to her.

I could HEAR her sit straight up in bed. “WHAT?! WHAT HAPPENED?!”

In the calmest, most even voice I could work up, I went into this long pitch about how because the girl who was President wasn’t on campus, I was in charge of the sorority and some of our girls had gotten into trouble for hazing the pledges and because I was the authority figure for the group, I was going to be punished along with the offending hazers. I think I may have even let out a little sob in the middle of it all.

It took a moment for her to react, but when she did all I got was a flat, deadly sounding, “I will call you right back.” And my mom hung up.

I froze. What the hell?

Turns out, she was calling my aunt in California, who knew some people on the Board of Directors for the school. She told my aunt what happened, my aunt called me (thank GOD, before she called anyone on the Board of Directors) and I had to tell her that it was all a joke. She told me very sternly, “You need to call your mother.”

I kept trying to get a hold of her and she kept hanging up on me, telling me she was getting the number to the Dean and that I needed to go talk to her immediately.

This had gotten really out of control.

Finally when I got her to listen to me for longer than .05 seconds, I shouted “Mom, listen—APRIL FOOL’S!!”

Needless to say, she was not amused, and I no longer play April Fool’s jokes.

1 comment:

KAREN! said...

holy SHIT that sucks. i hate april fools too-- mainly for that reason: things can get out of control and be messy and terrible. and btw, hazing pledges? i have to hear more! (living my sorority life vicariously through you-- even though greek life is big at w&m, grad students cant join)
yay w&m! come visit me in virginia

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