Tuesday, September 05, 2006

L.P.

Back when I was living in Parker Hall there was a 2nd floor resident who some of us thought of as The "Hey" Guy because, for the first year and a half we lived there, that's pretty much all we heard him say. You'd be walking to class, pass him on the sidewalk, and have your presence acknowledged by a mini shooting gesture accompanied by his trademark, low-key "Hey." Compared to him, I was practically an exhibitionist. But one day something happened to change all that. You see, The "Hey" Guy got sick. Really sick. Not cancer sick, or Ebola sick, but definitely brainmelting fever, ER visit, and brain fogging meds sick. Don't know if it was the illness, the meds, or the one-two combo, but suddenly midway through the Spring semester of Sophomore year, The "Hey" Guy's inner extrovert spoke up . . . and it wouldn't shut up. Not moving in the same social circle as The "Hey" Guy, I'm not sure how long his newly unleashed personality had been in effect before word began to spread that the quiet guy wasn't quite so quiet anymore.

The question you're probably asking yourself is "How exactly did the change manifest itself?" Well, okay, maybe not that exact question, but something similar, right? Well, I think the best way to describe it is that it was like the fever and meds had combined to knock out the portion of his brain that acted as a censor. If a thought popped into his head, odds were good it was coming out to his mouth. The prime example of this was when I got to hear him go into horrifyingly explicit detail as to how the illness affected his bodily functions, oblivious to the protestations of most people around that no, it was okay, they really didn't need to hear about his difficulties urinating, thanks. To this day I regret that I wasn't in his Speech class that semester; from all reports, following a particularly out there presentation, his professor was almost convinced the he had either had a nervous breakdown or become a meth-head -- possibly both. But while I did miss out on that, there were some other examples of the altered "Hey” Guy that I got to witness firsthand, since, in his newly outgoing state, he was spending quite a bit of time hanging out with the usual Lounge Lizards.

The "Hey" Guy's explosion of exhibitionism coincided with a visit from Flunky Lover's younger brother, who was a bit of a skater punk at the time. His presence elicited the confession from The "Hey" Guy that in high school he had dabbled in skateboarding. However, his attitude towards his former hobby was a bit defeatist, with him proclaiming dejectedly that he was never any good, and had been (and I quote) just a "lamer poser. A lamer, poser, loser punk." And thus was The "Hey" Guy transformed into L.P. The revelation that L.P. had once been a pseudo-skater was trumped by the fact that during this conversation L.P. suddenly bolted upstairs, returning moments later with his skateboard in tow. We were then treated to a demonstration of his lamer poser loser punkness in the Parker parking lot.

The other big thing I remember from this time was when the emboldened L.P., freed of his inhibitions, got up the nerve to ask Coronela out on a date. As part of the date they rented The Lion King, which I remember for two reasons. First, neither of them had a Hastings card, so they had to borrow mine. And the second, more striking reason, is that partway through the movie L.P. turned to her and said "You know, you can call me Simba if I can call you Nala."

Coronela, of course, declined.

As time went on, people began to question how much of L.P.'s behavior really stemmed from the meds, and how much was just him taking advantage of an opening to say and do whatever he wanted with no worries about the consequences. I think it was probably a pretty even mix of the two, but regardless it wasn't too long before L.P. settled back into a slightly more normal mode of behavior. But while his mental censor was repaired, the former shell from behind which he previously flung his "hey"s was, if not totally demolished, at least reduced in strength. L.P. would never spend as much time among the Lounge Lizards as he did during those days of fever-driven freedom, but his time as The Hey Guy was a thing of the past. I don't know if I'd recommend mind-warping illness as a tool for all quiet folks wanting to break out of their shells, but I can't deny its effectiveness.

3 comments:

Flunky lover said...

I can't for the life of me think of who you're referring to. I remember a bit about Flunky's brother's visit. I never would have called him a punk much less a skater punk. Are you sure you're not thinking of my brother who is both a skater and a punk?

Cap'n Neurotic said...

If you check again, you'll see that I did say it was your brother, not Flunky's (and no, I didn't edit it after your message.)

And I was tempted to call your brother "Punky", just to keep in line with the Clan Flunky rhyme scheme :)

Flunky lover said...

"Punky". I like that. I still don't know who L.P is though. You sure do have an amazing memory. I don't remember 1/4 of the stuff you do.