Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Secret Origin of Cap'n Neurotic pt.5 - A Clique Is Born

My second semester of college began what I tend to think of as the Golden Year of College; an approximately year-long period in which I finally made some strong friendships and finally accepted that I was, well, accepted. Read on to see how I became a member of my first Clique.

By the time my second semester had started, I think most of the social groups had, if not solidified, at least stabilized to some extent. There were some shifts here and there, due to new students moving in (most notably St. Flunky), old students transferring out (most notably my next door neighbor for whom G'ovich suggested a not-appropriate-for-family-blogging nickname), and a few even getting kicked out for their abysmal GPAs (remind me to tell you about The Gutter Boys someday . . .), but the continual mix-n-match style gatherings of the previous semester were pretty much a thing of the past.

One shift that would wind up having a massive impact on my circle of friends occurred one day early in the semester when somehow Pooh and Coronela wound up heading off on a Wal-Mart run together. Before that moment, I don't recall having ever seen them exchange more than a handful of words; by the time they had returned from their errand, they were thick as thieves.

One weekend I headed to OKC for the day with the two of them, along with one of the 3rd Floor Brain Trust. The 3FBT consisted of myself and two of my floor-mates who decided that the three of us shared a brain; anytime one of us did or said something less than intelligent, we blamed it on one of the others having custody of the brain. Anyway, the four of us spent part of the day at the Omniplex, and the rest of the day trading embarrassing stories; the bulk of these stories came from Coronela, helping to establish her role as The Uncensored One in our group.

When we made it back to Parker that evening, there was a dance going on in the Parker living room. For some reason that I don’t really recall the four of us weren't too enthusiastic about heading in to the dance, and just lounged about in the lobby. Our mildly anti-social behavior prompted one of Coronela's friends to bitterly inquire about, and I quote, the "six-foot corncob" up her butt. Lovely image, no? Surprisingly enough, the corncob comment did not make us any more inclined to attend the dance; it would, however, be a source of much mocking amusement among us for the following month or two. After the dance was over, my fellow Brain Trustee headed upstairs, but we were joined in our lobby lounging by St. Flunky.

Now, by that point in time I'd hung out with St. Flunky a little bit, but other than knowing that he was in the Army Reserves, had run cross-country in high school and loved Little Shop of Horrors (a fact I learned when, during one of my typical songbursty moments involving the song “Skid Row” while strolling through the Parker living room, St. Flunky surprised me by joining in), he was pretty much a cipher to me at that point. But, by the end of the evening that would change; the four of us stayed up most of the night talking, venturing out to the local 24-hour diner, Shortcakes, which would be a mainstay of my early college years. By the time we had all returned to our respective rooms for the night it was official: The Clique was born.

In case you were wondering, yes, we actually did jokingly refer to ourselves as The Clique; we also joked about forming a band called Bent Toothpick, featuring St. Flunky on clarinet, me on saxophone, and the girls as background vocals. We commandeered an office on the 1st floor, nominally for Hall Government purposes for which Pooh donated her computer, but more often than not it was just the four of us lounging in there goofing off. Some of the best times of my Freshman year were spent in that office, playing stupid video games on Pooh's Mac and engaging in entertaining, if ultimately meaningless, conversations. What exactly it was that made the Clique click, I can’t rightly say; in lots of ways the four of us all over the map in terms of sense of humor, tastes, interests, etc., but somehow our differences and commonalities managed to hit just that right mixture to sustain the group dynamic. I don't believe we were a horribly exclusionary clique, in the way that real cliques are; yes, we spent a great deal of time together, and had tons o' inside jokes, but I still hung out with G'ovich, Wrath, et al; to be honest, I have no idea how many people outside of the four of us knew of our Clique status.

Unfortunately, the life of The Clique was not to be a long one; the Golden Year was half-way done, and we already had our first casualty. Following a brief period of dating, the tensions caused by St. Flunky and Coronela's failed relationship would eventually fracture our once solid bond; I was still good friends with all of them, but I honestly can't recall a time after the beginning of our Sophomore year when it was just the four of us hanging out together as a group with nobody else around. As VH1's Bands Reunited has taught us, once a band has dissolved, recapturing that old magic is next to impossible. Of course, that doesn't mean that there weren't side-projects and spin-offs; Zinger would take St. Flunky's place in the quartet that would eventually become Clan Stoneheart, while St. Flunky and I would eventually join forces with G'ovich, Wrath, and The Old Man to become Roomies. But, while I cherish my membership in both of those groups, there’ll just never be another Bent Toothpick.


Zinger said...

Well, I'm glad I could be the Sammy Hagar to St. Flunky's David Lee Roth.

Cap'n Neurotic said...

You know, I honestly thought about using that analogy at one point. Should have known I could count on you to do it for me.

Coronela said...

One great thing about this blog is I get a chance to remember all those emotionally scarring things I spent years trying to forget (like the "six-foot corncob" strategically placed). No wonder I've been having that "not so fresh feeling"....