Saturday, June 18, 2016

If Don Henley and that artist with big hair had a baby

It would've looked like me in 1981.

This is quite possibly the most hideous picture of me ever taken. Which is probably why my mom sent it to me.

I was home on spring break from Arizona State. My freshman year was not going as expected.

I had enrolled too late to get a dorm room, but I found out that if you participated in fraternity rush week but didn't join a fraternity, you were guaranteed a dorm room.

That seemed like a great loophole, so I spent rush week in Tempe drinking beer and dancing to "Rock Lobster" and doing drunken Marlon Brando impressions and making out to Air Supply and thinking college was going to be the greatest experience of my life.

This is an actual photo of an ASU frat party in the 1980s:

I quickly realized that unless I joined a fraternity I was going to be living in the nerd dorm with all the losers who didn't get an invite. So I pledged the Phi Delts. The jocks.

Turns out ASU wasn't for me. Rush Week was the high point. After that it was hazing and secret handshakes and staged photo ops. Group embrace? Check. Holding alcoholic beverage? Check. Obligatory Gilligan's Island theme? Check. 

The biggest disappointment: sorority girls weren't as into my Marlon Brando impressions as I initially thought.

They were like, "I don't get it. Who's Stella?"

My 3-month Don Henley phase was simply my way of saying "F-- you, I'm not in the Omegas," and trying to figure out who I was going to be next.

Samuel is now the same age as I was in that picture. He has a more solid core than I did at 18, which is encouraging. He could probably grow a better beard. I cannot for the life of me imagine him doing a drunken Marlon Brando impression. I don't think he is familiar with Air Supply.

But he'll have his own challenges and regrets and defeats and victories.

As for me, eventually I transferred to NYU film school. The first week there, "A Streetcar Named Desire" was playing at the Bleecker Street Cinema, and I smiled and said "Stella!" under my breath.

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