Fall of 1998 found myself and Mr. Aaron "Bin Lloyden" Vinson living on the 7th floor of one of UC Berkeley's fine dormitories. Expectations were high for the year of co-habitation, but the alarming number of Jesus enthusiasts along with both of our caustic personalities dashed our hopes fairly early in the academic campaign.
It didn't take us long to change tacks. Within two weeks, we didn't care at all what any of our dormmates thought of us, except maybe Angie, our talented and beautiful next-door neighbor. We were after our own amusement only. And it wasn't like these people were anything great. One girl laughed like a donkey. Two guys named Andy* once left their stereo on, blasting DC Talk and Jars of Clay for hours, while they were away at youth group. Our neighbor on the other side of the hall used to play the first thirty seconds of Dave Matthews' "Rhyme or Reason" on guitar over and over again for hours. Clearly, something needed to change.
We found our inspiration in Tommy Tutone's 1981 smash "867-5309/Jenny". We played the song over and over in our dorm room, singing along. Our rendition got progressively more sophisiticated, switching off vocal parts and even adding in harmonies. Outside the room, we'd drop lyrics into conversations with other people. No one understood why I said I had tried my imagination, and it was disturbed, but they themselves were certainly disturbed by it, and thus, the plan worked. Occasionally, when we spotted one another at opposite ends of the hall we'd point, and exclaim, "8-6-7-5-3-0-9!" and then high five.
No one was really sure if we were kidding, or if we truly were Tommy Tutone's biggest fans. Mostly, they just didn't care. I guess when one's goals are to discover new ways to be jackasses, and annoy the crap out of other people, success can sometimes be anticlimactic.
Besides, once we got sick of "Jenny", Aaron discovered "Metal Machine Music", which proved we had nothing on Lou Reed when it came to antagonistic behavior.
*Andy #1 was a very serious Christian, but you could tell he had lust in his heart. Once, in the common room, someone made a casual allusion to two of our floormates hooking up with each other. Andy looked shocked, yet desperately fascinated. He turned to me and asked, "Do you mean they...", (and here, his voice lowered to a whisper) "Do they... bump it?"