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The Top Ten Things I Overheard While At Syracuse - #10

I had so much fun with the previous Top Ten rundown, I decided to another one.

I have a lot of funny, weird and disturbing memories from my time at Syracuse University ('96 - '00) that span many different places, events and situations. But all of them have one thing in common...someone uttered words before, during or after each of them. And so, I'd like to take this opportunity to remember my favorite utterances and what made them so memorable. At best, you'll find these explanations and stories as noteworthy as I do. At worst, you recognize a campus building that I reference in passing and think to yourself, "Hey, I too remember that building and I now feel as though I have some common ground with this fellow."

Let's begin.

#10 - "Can we just come inside and look around?"

At the end of a rather late night on Marshall Street, my friend and I stole the No Borders, No Boundaries Coffee Shop Sidewalk Sign and carried it all the way back to our house on Euclid Ave.

Let me back up...there used to be these things called independent, non-corporate coffee houses and one such place existed on Marshall Street before there was such a thing as a Starbucks. One such place was known as No Borders No Boundaries. They used to keep a sidewalk sign such as the ones you see to the right outside their front door. For reasons that will never be understood, they didn't tie or bolt the sign down.

Now, my friend and I weren't looking to commit petty larceny that evening. It was just one of those things that happens when it's 1 AM on a weekday and you're eight Yuen
glings deep. We were walking back from Darwin's on our way home to Euclid when we passed the sign. We both looked at each other and, in a moment of telepathic clarity, each grabbed an end and began speed-walking north.

In retrospect, this was an extremely dumb thing to do. As previously noted, this was a small, indie coffee shop with no discernible marketing budget other than the little ad in the Daily Orange and that sidewalk sign. We had very literally cut into their ability to attract customers and this probably goes down as one of the more dickish things I've done in my life.

That said, when propped up and unfolded, the sign made a REALLY good beer pong table. turned into a win-win. Except for NBNB, of course.

For the next few weeks, the sign took up residence in our living room, that is, when not providing us with a flat surface for pongery on our front lawn. We never took it outside during the daytime lest the proprietor of NBNB or a friend thereof happen to walk by and see it. We were as careful as we could have been with it. Only people who set foot inside our place even knew what it was and where we kept it.

NOW, fast forward a couple more weeks as my three roommates and I are all sitting in the living room watching TV. It's late on a Tuesday night or something like that. There's a knock at our front door. Which is weird. Because no one uses our front door...everyone uses our side door on the porch. So clearly this is someone we don't know. I walk over to see who it is. It's two girls I am unfamiliar with. But they look freindly. I answer the door.

"Yeah, we're from No Borders No Boundaries on Marshall Street and someone told us you have our sign.

Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck! How? Why? WHO???

My survival instincts kick in. "I don't know what you're talking about." Let the game begin. They explain that their sign is missing, it's extremely valuable to them and they
don't have a replacement. They've been told by someone with inside information that we have the sign (which is true) and we keep it in living room (which is also true) and they would like it back."

It dawns on me. We have a mole in our midst. Besides my roommates and close friends, who would never let this information slip, only a handful of people know this information. Especially the exact placement of the sign. I couldn't look back to double-check but I knew that just around the corner the sign was indeed in the living room as we spoke.

I was now locked in an abstract argument revolving around privacy laws and home invasion rights and despite their best efforts, the girls weren't breaking down my defenses. Then, they dropped the bomb on me.

"Look, if you don't have it then you have nothing to hide, right?
Can we just come inside and look around?"

Check and mate. The girls had said they had no intention of getting the authorities involved but I couldn't believe that any longer. Clearly they KNEW we had the sign and they had finally cracked my semantic code. I had no choice.
I swallowed deep. I hung my head. And I laid down my sword. "Okay."

The girls barrelled past me with a sense of urgency that I hadn't seen since, well, the night my friend and I took the sign. They turned the corner into the living room where my snickering friends had been sitting, letting me take the brunt for the last ten minutes. I knew the sign would be there and all these two girls would have to do is see it, grab it and look at me with the kind of disgust reserved for baby rapists as they carried it out.

I walked into the room after them, ready to take my punishment. The girls looked back at me, confused. THEY HADN'T SEEN IT. In a miraculous, Hand-of-God moment, the sign wa
s positioned just perfectly behind an open door so that if the girls had moved to their left or right they would have seen it but couldn't in their current position. Defeated, they asked us to investigate the location of the sign and if we heard anything to give them a call. In a huff, they left.

In shock, I fell to my knees, looked up at God, thanked him for his glory and promised to never again steal a sidewalk sign from an independent coffee shop. I think that's what I did. It was that or I grabbed another Keystone Dry from the fridge and high-fived my roommates. Assholes, the whole lot of us.

The next day, NBNB received a phone call that let them know we had miraculously found the sign in the possession of "some friends." These mischievous nogoodniks has dropped the sign off at our place and a NBNB representative could come by and get the sign at any time. A guy in a pick-up truck showed up an hour later. We had the sign propped up on our porch. He came up, got it, loaded it into his truck and left. Not a word. The ordeal was over.

To this day I have my theories on who ratted us out and, regardless of the fact that they were correct in outing us as the slimeballs we were, the code of honor that existed in our little Euclid house was broken that day, never to be mended. I pour out a little Keystone Dry for this every year on the anniversary of the event to mourn the loss of our innocence.*

A few days later I walked past No Borders No Boundaries and saw the sign out front. I smiled to myself knowing that, in the end, a valuable lesson had been learned. Not by me, mind you. I was still the same asshole. But this time when I walked past it, the sign was chained to a nearby bike rack.'re welcome.

Check back for the #9 Thing I Overheard While At Syracuse tomorrow.

* - Not true. I don't even think they still make that.