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The Top Ten Things I Overheard While At Syracuse - #2

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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'll 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."

Previous entries include:
#10 -
"Can we just come inside and look around?"
#9 -
"Say your name, where you’re from and say your wrestling name."
#8 -
"Okay, all we need is your passport and you're all set."
#7 -
"You know why."/"What high school did you go to?"
#6 -
"Succatash!"
#5 - "So horrifying, so macabre..."
#4 - "Someone broke in...everything's gone."
#3 - "I don't even wanna fucking be here!"

Today's chapter...

#2 - "Take a good look, Syracuse."

You probably think you had the worst freshman roommate of all time. You tell people that at parties and get-togethers. They marvel at your stories of messy beds and late-night shenanigans and shake their heads just thinking about the torment you went through.


Well, you're a liar. You're a lying liar from Liarsville who grew up on Liars Lane and attending Liarsville Elementary School. You went on to attend Liars A&M University, home of the Fightin' Liars, where you majored in Lying and minored in Art History.


I know this to be true because I had the worst freshman roommate of all time.


Now, I must preface by saying that I was fortunate enough to live in a split double room freshman year. To be h
onest, I don't know how the rest of you did it. If I didn't have that wall in the middle to ensure that I didn't have to look at my roommate night and day, one of us might have ended up murdered. And I'm not sure which one.

I moved into Brewster Hall in the fall of '96. I would later find out that this had to have been some sort of mistake. See, I'm Jewish. And I'm pretty sure all Jews at SU are required to live in Flint or Day freshman year. Don't ask me why, it's just the way it is. You know it's true. The most likely reason I was placed in Brewster was because I was a Management student. I had actually requested to live on Brew 5, which was the management floor (apparently). Nope, denied. I ended up on Brew 9.


My welcoming to the floor is documented in a previous entry. But my education didn't truly begin until my roommate showed up. Let's call him Trevor. It was extremely clear from the get-go that even though Trevor and I grew up about 50 miles away from each other, we were from completely different worlds.

I
grew up in Old Bridge, NJ. If you looked up the term "suburb" in the dictionary, it would say "See Old Bridge, NJ." Trevor grew up in Manhattan.

My parents were middle-class. We did pretty well, took a yearly vacation, my Mom drove a Mazda and I got Reebok Pumps relatively soon after they released. Trevor grew up in a world of entitlement thanks to his upper-class upbringing, thanks to his parents owning their own high-end shoe company.


I covered my side of the room with a Clerks movie poster, NY Giants calendar and a Victoria Silvstedt poster (I was a cliche, sorry). Trevor covered his side of the room with poster reprints of famous artwork.

I brought a sandwich toaster. He brought a cappuccino maker.


We went out together to a house party the first night. Small talk was exchanged...and forcibly so. He was manic and looking over my shoulder for someone else to talk to. I was obliging. I don't think we actually hung out at the party and ended up arriving back at the dorm separately. That was the last time we hung out together.


I would come to learn that Trevor was a bit of an active fellow. Often staying up late, and I mean late, and then sleeping it off during the day. Even during the week. He had energy that I had never seen before and I would come to learn than this was because he (supposedly) had ADD. He would bounce from thing to thing, activity to activity, without a moment's notice.
Except his computer. He would sit at that computer all night. And I mean ALL NIGHT. I would come into the dorm around 7-8pm and he'd be on it. I'd turn off my TV to go to sleep around 12 or 1am and he'd still be on it. The glow of the screen peaking from around the wall. I thought nothing of it at the time other than this guy either really loves to e-mail (still quite the novelty way back then) or he must really love porn. Whatever.

We had our ups and downs, mostly downs. I caught him selling his Ritalin to other students in our dorm room and threatened to tell someone before he got me in trouble for it. He was apologetic but I think it officially sealed the deal on our distrust and disliking of each other.
It wasn't just me though, he also made few friends on the dorm floor.

One night after a verbal altercation in the hallway he returned to the room angry and yelling obscenities. I was hanging out with a ladyfriend so this was unfortunate. He then proceeded to do the only thing one can do in those situations...he pulled a bowstaff from his closet and begin spinning it in the air like he was Donatello from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I told him to go out and get some air. He did, and didn't return until the early afternoon the next day. Oh, did I mention this was a Wednesday.

He continued sleeping in, hanging out on his computer and doing not much else. Sufficed to say his grades showed for it. I never saw it but those who did claim that he had a 0.7 GPA by the time the end of the first semester rolled around. Impressive.

One time when he was away, I decided I needed to know what the hell was so important on that computer. Taking the law into my own hands I turned on his computer and looked around. Indeed I found porn. Glorious porn. As far as the eye could see. Nothing crazy, mind you. Just good old-fashioned porn. I was pleased at least in knowing his predilections were as suspected.


The year ended, I don't even think we said goodbye to each other, and we went our separate ways. At this point you're saying to yourself, "But TNIAAM, that doesn't sound so horrible."
Wait. The real fun didn't actually begin until AFTER he was my roommate.

Sophomore year I'm back and living on South Campus now. First weekend, we head to a house party hosted by one of the guys on our floor. He's also the only guy who befriended Trevor so I prepared for the awkwardness. Sure enough he was there and we traded close-smiled head nods and went about our business. In fact, he was actually living with this friend in an off-campus apartment.
It was only after the fact that I found out he wasn't actually a student at Syracuse anymore. He had returned from NYC to attend Onondaga Community College in order to get his grades up and return to SU. Fine.

The year progressed and nothing much came of things. I never ran into him on campus. I forgot he was even still around.
Then one day I was walking on the Quad and my friend Adam stopped me.

"You have to watch the news tonight."

"Why?"

"Just...trust me. Promise me you'll want the 10:00 news."


Damn him, he always had such a penchant for the dramatic. And so, I thought I should probably do what the man says and watch the 10:00 news. That evening I gathered my roommates, turned on the TV and was greeted by the sparkling chicklets that rested inside the mouth of WSTM anchor Joe Zone.

If you're too young to remember, Joe Zone was everything you could ever want in a local news anchor. Perfect hair, stern-but-nonthreatening voice, an air of tell-it-like-it-is-ness and by the way did I mention his name is JOE ZONE??? (FYI, Joe's over in Hartford now and he's even got a blog. I am moving to Hartford.)

(No, not really.)

So anyway, yeah, the news start and Joe cuts right to the chase:


"Take a good look, Syracuse..."


A photo of my freshman roommate pops up on the screen. Uh-oh.


Joe proceeds to tell us that Trevor, the guy that Syracuse University saw fit to lock me in a room with for nine months, a guy who spent almost every single night on the computer...had been arrested in an FBI bust for trafficking child pornography.

Let me clarify...

The FBI and the State of New York had set up an undercover operation outside of Trevor's apartment after getting verifiable proof that he had at some point trafficked photos and/or videos of child pornography. They then proceeded to set up a sting operation whereby they busted down his door, arrested him, confiscated the computer and digital camera in his apartment as well as his roommate's computer and were now holding him on federal charges. The Assistant Attorney General of New York held a press conference to discuss him and his alleged crimes.

The local papers printed the item the next day and all of a sudden I was a mini-celebrity in my own circle of friends. What did I know? What did I see? What could I tell authorities? Nothing! Other than the knowledge that he spent all waking hours logged on, I had never seen this nor did I have any idea. Creeped out couldn't even begin to describe it.


The fervor died down on campus and to be honest, somehow, the whole thing ended up blowing over. There was a trial of some kind but the result never got out. The rumor was that his father pulled some strings and that the offending material was a mistake and not an ongoing issue. Trevor got out on probation and the whole thing was done. He didn't re-enroll at OCC. The issue was dead. Is it on his record? Was it thrown out? I'll never know.


Senior year we're drinking at Darwin's and I see Trevor walk in. He was up visiting some friends. He looked the same, albeit with a goofier goatee than the last time I saw him. I avoided him like the plague. Whether or not he was actually a child pornographer was irrelevant, the guy was just bad news and it was clear he and I were not meant to be drinkin' buddies, let alone any kind of acquaintance.


I thought that was the last time I saw him but sure enough he found a way to pop back into my life. This time it was via a run-in or even through a salacious news story. This time is was done in the style that befit the current times...via reality TV.


Believe it or not, I wasn't a huge
Gastineau Girls watcher. But my sister, bless her reality TV-addled mind, was. Much the same way my friend Adam said on the Quad that fateful day, she implored that I watch tonight's episode of the show. Sure enough, there he was. The daughter had been set up on a blind date with him as a dramatic will-she-or-won't-she decision. If only the audience knew what was actually at stake here. Did the producers know they were setting up their star with an alleged kiddie porn trafficker? I have a feeling he left that off the waiver when he signed it. I would (and have). Thankfully for her, she didn't go for him, and that was that. Trevor and Gastineau Girl went their seperate ways. And finally, so did Trevor and I.

My hope is that it was the last time I'll ever see him, though the way things have been going so far I'm not convinced. To answer the lingering question hanging over our heads...no, I don't think he was checking out kiddie porn in our dorm room. But he certainly WAS checking out porn. Lots of porn. Tons of porn. So much porn you could choke a sperm whale with it (pun very much intended).


So if you're a current student at SU and your roommate spends an inordinate amount of time online, remember, there's a 97% chance they're a child pornographer. Put down your Lean Cuisine Shrimp Alfredo dinner and tell the authories NOW!