Because I was a commuter student, I really didn't hit the off campus bars very often, until I got into my senior year. But that’s not to say I didn't party in town. Four of the BMK guys had a off campus apartment, known as “616” (for the address of the place). They were good for 4-5 amazing parties per school year.
Remember that post where I wrote about leaving my buddy John’s wedding reception and going to an off-campus party? And I was introduced to “Hairy Buffalo” (a concoction featuring pure grain alcohol), returned to the party and while helping to carry a keg out of the hall, tumbled ass-over-elbows down the cement steps and onto the sidewalk? That was a 616 party I went to.
I learned that lesson early on; not to trust anything that someone makes in a giant barrel. But they did teach me a few excellent new drinks. I’m a basic straight-whiskey or gin and tonic man, but these are good. In the fall, try mixing cinnamon schnapps and apple cider. It’s like drinking an apple pie. In the winter, hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps is just like a warm York peppermint patty. You’re welcome.
And I often needed warming up, because every year, on the 3rd Saturday of January, they held the annual Beach Party, where everyone wore shorts and t-shirts, they grilled outside and played summer music like The Cars or Beach Boys. Man, you should have seen the looks on the party store clerk’s face when I’d come rolling in to buy beer during a January ice storm, wearing short and a T-shirt. When I think back, I don’t know how I survived college, I really don’t.
Another favorite party was the time they had the Gore/Porn Film Festival and Dinner Party. That’s where we watched the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, while eating chili. The porn was really soft-core; I believe they showed Andy Warhol’s Dracula and Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein. They were like classic monster movies, only with tits.
Most of the parties were un-themed. Soon after I started attending, I would bring my crate of records. The “house” collection was stuck in the 60s and 70s, which have their place, but I brought the current stuff. At least this way, there was always something around that I wanted to hear. Plus, I liked to feel useful in the eyes of the upperclassmen.
That party I wrote about, where my girlfriend couldn’t attend (again) and I ended up snuggling with some hot blonde, in front of all my girlfriend’s friends? That was a 616 party. There was always the possibility of hookup drama at a 616 party. (Not that I ever actually hooked up there. There I was, in the middle of the pre-AIDS sexual revolution and I still couldn't get laid. #NoGame )
That Halloween costume party I wrote about in 2009, where I dressed up like Tommy Chong and brought a giant joint made out of chewing tobacco? That was a 616 party. As I was walking up the street to the house and cars were honking at me, I began to reconsider the wisdom of carrying such an authentic-looking joint out in the open. I hoped if a cop picked me up, he’d be a Good ol’ Boy, and be able to recognize chewing tobacco when he’d see it.
The thing was, when you partied at 616, you never knew where the night was going to end up. I remember one night when we ran out of beer, about a dozen of us piled into the bed of a pickup truck, went out to the drive-thru beer store, and then since we were already out, the drive-thru at McDonalds.
It was funny, we passed a hat around the pickup, and then at the end, the last guy was counting out the money and was like:
“Nineteen, twenty, twenty twenty-five, twenty fifty… hey, who put in the condom?”
The 616 House was very good for the Commuters who were “townies.” I, however, who lived 40 minutes away, always had to worry about the long drive home, after a long, hard party. It’s really a wonder I always made it home. I know for a fact that there were nights when I absolutely, positively should not have been behind the wheel. But I didn't feel like I had many options.
I didn't have anywhere in town to stay over, nor did anyone else live up in my neck of the woods. I could either sleep in the bathtub, (where someone had probably hurled that night), or run the gauntlet home. Fortunately for me, there was not a heavy police presence along my route.
The only time I ever encountered a cop while coming home from a party was a night when I really needed one. My car broke down about halfway home, in the middle of nowhere. While I was valiantly trying to restart the car, a cop rolled up behind me. Man, nothing sobers you up like those lights in the mirror.
Anyway, I pulled my shit together and the cop never (acted as if he) suspected me of drinking. He used his car to push mine into a nearby parking lot, and then drove me to the nearest gas station to call home. When I reached my dad, he told me that all the cars were out, so he couldn't come get me. To my eternal thanks, the cop ended up taking me all the way home. Believe me, I was certainly unnerved riding all the way home with the cop, knowing that I’d just been pounding beers, but it worked out.
There was another time I broke down, but there were no cops to be found. This time, my escape was even more improbable. I made my way to the closest house (the houses were not close together at all!) and there was no one home there but a mother and her daughter, and the LET ME IN! Ah, country folk… so trusting.
I was sure they wouldn't help… I mean, who would let some tall terrorist-looking stranger into their isolated house in the middle of the night? But I put on my best manners and they let me use their phone to call for a ride. We made small talk about their Siamese cat, while I waited. Maybe they figured if the cat likes someone, he must be OK. Eventually, my ride came, and all was well.
So tell me, is there an old "party house" in your past? What kind of shenanigans were you up to?