Pots rang in my ears at 7 a.m. A couple of truly devious girls screamed for me to wake up. A cat named Kitty walked by my feet. I realized that the combination of pollen, cat hair, and a more-than-slight hangover meant my eyes were essentially swollen shut. This would be my Jordan Flu Game.
The girls I stayed with were nice enough to cook me an eggs and bacon breakfast. I quickly downed two mimosas and hiked back to the Sheridan, making it in time for the, uh, bagpiper.
Dudes sprayed down a large grassy field with water hoses. Kegs were carted to an area beside it. Dozens of students started to stream in—every guy and girl in some sort of tank—and someone tossed me a beer. “There’s an emergency stash behind the house in case you don’t want to walk near the mud yet," he said. “Beautiful,” I replied. I met a new friend from the night before, Mikey. “I slept in a sleeping bag with the kegs last night,” he said. He wasn’t lying.
Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” the song of the summer, seemed to appropriately kick things off. The smoker was opened and the juicy, delicious pig was presented, sans his head. (I later saw it lying on the parking lot pavement. He died an honorable death.) Mud started to fly in the pit. “Around 11 a.m., things really get going,” said another new friend. It was only 9:30.
The next hour and half, before that magical 11 a.m. mark, saw some of the wildest early morning drinking you'll ever really see. I discovered very quickly that I couldn’t, and didn’t, even want to try to keep up, but this conversation—this stupid, stupid, self-defeating conversation—happened around 80 times.
“So you just go around to different schools and party with them?”
“No, I kind of just sit on my laptop and write about stuff. This is a special circumstance.”
“So you’re not like Tucker Max.”
“Haha, no, dude. One time only thing. ”
“WELL YOU CAN CHUG, RIGHT?”
“I mean, screw it, give me the beer.”
“Excuse me for a sec.”
By noon, the heat, the booze, and the sheer sensory shock of seeing over a thousand college kids reenacting a scene from a teen sex comedy had caused my brain to fry. My memories are kind of a blur. I do remember ultimately walking into the pit because I was told I wasn’t muddy enough. Someone hit me in the face with mud, a direct shot, and I was temporarily blinded. A buddy from the previous night spotted me and walked up.
“Dude, you’ve got to really get down in it. Otherwise, everyone is going to give you shit.”
I looked the guy over. He had told me the night before that he was a former offensive lineman on the Elon football team. He looked it. Before I could voice any concerns, I was picked up and thrown. I’m 6-foot-1, 175—this must have been a truly wonderful moment to see.
I came to at the bottom of it all. What looked like four simultaneous keg stands were occurring at the same time. Couples freely made out. Cops stood across the street and took pictures. “That okay?” I asked Dean, my handler. “They do it every year,” he said. “They’re not going to bother us.” It was true. After everything was over, I went up to a cop for an “interview.” “As long as they behave, don’t drive, and keep it contained here,” he said, “we’re okay with it.”
Outside of the mud pit, as the afternoon edged on, I began to see some strange sights. A fully clothed and non-muddy bro danced furiously by himself.
“DUDSTONFEWMD,” said a guy to my left.
“DUDE IS STONEDOFFHISMIND.”
The offensive lineman who had tossed me walked by. He was cut.
“Yo, dude, your knee is bleeding.”
He laughed and looked down. “Oh shit! I am bleeding!”
The mud wrestling and beer chugging continued in mass. This would be the point of the party that you can't really, truly can't describe—everything is kind of just happening the way it should and how many different ways can you write "Everyone drank." I don't want to beat you in with a "You had to be there" thing.
A procession of 19 and 20-year-olds eventually marched out in a muddy line. You could literally only see their eyes. Everything, everything, else was covered in viscous mud. The cleanup would later require freezing cold outdoor hose baths and, later, ruined shower drains.
By only 2, the 20 kegs were kicked. Cleanup began at 3. The party itself was like meteor shower—annual, fleeting, a bright shining spot before the darkness of exams. (There's your miserable metaphor of the day!)
Hundreds of kids streamed back to their apartments and dorms, ready to rest up for more drinking later in the night. They had that blissful, I'm Really Pumped To Be in College look. The planners stayed back to clean the hundreds of lime-green Solo cups and crushed bottles of champagne lying around. They were also going to nap and drink more that night. The madness would soon be a distant memory.
As for me? I slept 14 hours on Saturday. 12 on Sunday. You kids have all the fun without me next time.