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Here’s to Socrates, Who Taught Plato, Who Taught Aristotle...

 

Michael J. Petrillo

All Tomorrow’s Parties I’ve Been To

Speaking of parties... did I mention that during my high school years, I wasn’t much of a party-person.  In fact I would probably have been voted “second-to-last person” one would invite to their party (sorry Stu, first at last!).  Having said that, there were a few parties that I attended and that I have strong memories of. For instance, the afore-mentioned Lee Fry party – tres unusual...

I remember a sleepover at Elmo’s in ninth grade.  We did not have any alcohol and pretty much didn’t have anything to do.  We ended up walking around Camp Hill and not sleeping.  Of course, there was the obligatory Negley lighting of a Steve Sellers fart, the blue flame casting an ethereal glow...

Many parties were impromptu and involved champagne.  We always bought one relatively good bottle and three or four cheapo bottles.  The modus operandi was to find a suitable spot (say, some unsuspecting farmer’s field, a campground, or under the highway bridge near Unga-Bunga Land), sit around and pass the bottle, each taking as long a pull as desired, and always prefaced by a toast.  But any old toast wouldn’t do, each toast had to be a micro-universe, important unto itself, and contain at least a piece of your very soul.  I have forgotten all but the most mundane of the toasts, but believe me when I tell you they were very impressive (or the champagne was impressive and we weren’t).  The toasts were never vulgar (except perhaps for one over and over again to that c—nt in Pine Grove who just wanted to go to sleep).  In this way of toasting, we even discovered the wonders of science: ask Frans (“Look! look at these glow rocks!  I mean these rocks are glowing”...)

I don’t recall the very first marshmallow fight, but it was at an Elmo party.  There have been countless fights since.  Perhaps that is what happened to our generation – hit in the head by too many marshmallows, the blows unnoticeable, waves of trauma shaking the delicate balance in our young, unsuspecting minds (the horror, the horror).  Advice: parents – don’t let your children throw marshmallows...

Our Senior class did have a party.  I can’t remember where it was, but I think it involved beer and Bernie Pennel’s house (or maybe I just remember standing next to the keg and chatting with him for a long time?) I do remember the police raiding the party, with all of us running across the back yard to escape.  The police weren’t interested at all in any of us nor the keg. No, they just wanted someone to move the car parked in front of the neighbor’s driveway. (Who knew, the neighbor might want to drive to the Giant at 1 am to buy ice cream?)

I was most surprised when my father asked me if I wanted to have a graduation party.  He even volunteered to buy one (ah, and only one) case of beer for us to share. (Doing the math: ok, what if 23 people show up, does that mean we can all only drink 1.04 bottles of beer?).  The beer was St. Pauli-Girl, and someone smuggled sloe gin and Wild Turkey in.  We played cards out back on the picnic table and invented a game where you got to pick who drinks if you won.  Of course everyone picked Zeke. (Even Zeke picked Zeke, but he only won once).  Zeke later went behind a bush to speak to the sloe gin Gods; only to crawl back and state he was ready for the next hand.  We passed the hat when the Pauli-Girl ran out.  Craig and Ned got the honors of buying the next case.  There were two other noteworthy events at the party:  Bartlett antagonizing my weight-lifting cousin Chuck – so much so that Chuck was chasing Bart all over the yard, trying to dump a cooler of ice on him.  Second, Ned had to take a crap, and rather than go in the house, he went to the car wash behind the yard, and sat on a large trash can.  It’s a good thing there were only two people washing their cars at midnight on a Friday night or someone might have figured out what Ned was doing.

The best of all the parties that I have ever been to would have to be any one of Elmo’s Christmas parties.  Believe it or not, they started while we were in high school, I think sophomore year, on Christmas night.  I can recall Jay Judge running up in his shorts, snow on the ground, hat and mittens in place, asking anyone if they wanted to run with him.  We would later go bumper riding with either Frans or Steve Sellers driving.  Those parties continued every year, an unbroken string of Yuletide glory until 1992, when one member of the group had to go and get married two days after Christmas (Ah, the fool, he could have beaten Bob on the Bet, if he’d just have Bob declared common law!).  There has not been a party since, and every Christmas celebration pales in comparison to the splendor of genuine friendship. 

Just ask Larry Kasper, he’s a dip man, and he knows his dip, and this is great dip...

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