Saturday, September 8, 2007

Shaving the Tom

Here's a little piece of work from the archieves (mine, not the website's, certainly not yours, and not MMR's, although one day...).

Shaving the Tom
by Rand

It was late at night, but I was reading a book of some sort and so the hour had become irrelevant. My roommate Tom was fiddling around with his computer, surfing the web or something of the like. The dorm room was small, but our activities were modest and so it was enough. It wasn't decorated terrifically, but Tom had put up a poster or two, slightly livening up the dull whiteness of the walls. There was only a small corridor between the mess originating from my side of the room and the one originating from his side. It was walkable for a few people, but not for many. My mess was more newspapers and books than anything else, his was more interesting, it had magazines, weights, DVDs, and other accessories of a less geeky man. We did not have a great room, but it served our purposes, which were modest, especially that evening. For once, the floor seemed to complement that modesty with silence. Most of our floormates were asleep and the others had their doors closed, and for once there was no poker in the lounge. But of course, there were a few others who like us did not respect sleep.

We kept our door closed normally as a matter of privacy and at night we kept it locked so that we wouldn't have to lock it as we each slowly lost the will to remain awake. But we knew that at any moment of the day or night a poker game could break out on our floor so we responded to any knock promptly and without suspicion. That night was no different and when there was a knock we bore none. He was a big man, both in girth and height, although he was not fat and there was obviously a lot of strength to him. I don't think he would be afraid to open the door in the middle of the night any where in the world, and since I was lazy, he was the one to answer the knock. He undid the lock and opened the door with a somewhat sleepish look on his face, but that look was instantly dispelled when he saw what was in the hallway. What replaced it was a feverish excitement as he tried in vain to push the door closed. But it was too late, the two men on the other side succeeded in forced it open. The two were Chris F. (there were two other Chris's on our floor) and Bill, two of mine and Tom's friends from the floor, often they came to our door to talk or play cards, but this time they held a chair and a razor and both Tom and I knew that their intention was neither to talk nor to play cards.

Tom was a rather average looking man, he was big, but he had a conventional haircut topped with a hat and framed by glasses. However, he did have one noticeable feature, long sideburns, ones long enough to invite playful jokes and on this occasion a forceful shaving. They instantly attempted to hold down Tom, but Tom was not one to lose his sideburns without a fight. Chris was a big man in his own right, again not fat and with a good deal of strength, Bill was skinnier but he prided himself on his solidly muscular physique, but even combined they were no match for Tom, a competitive weight-lifter. The fight was epic. Chris and Bill first went for Tom's arms, but he managed to throw Bill to the bed. Chris was more resilient but he too was forced off. Bill grappled him again and Chris managed to get the razor near Tom's face but Tom was able to break out of Bill's hold and knock away the razor. Both Chris and Bill refused to quit but it looked like Tom would in fact defeat two of the strongest men on our floor. However, at that moment, another floormate of ours, Bryan, a less athletic man but still strong and very committed to a good joke, passed by the door and decided to join in. Still Tom proved difficult to capture. Although his attackers surrounded him on all sides, he managed to keep them aside with powerful punches. In the process, chairs were knocked over, the messes on each side of our room merged and were scattered, and bruises were accumulated, but eventually through sheer persistence, Tom was worn down enough that Chris, Bill and Bryan were able to hold him still. Then they realized that they had lost the razor. Bryan searched through the mess, and I, before just an amused observer, joined in. We tore apart my room, moving beds and tables, throwing papers onto mine and Tom's beds, and slowly acquiring pieces of the razor until it was restored to usable condition. Then Bryan slowly approached Tom and after giving him a bit of shaving cream on one side, ran the razor down his left sideburn, cutting it away entirely. At that point Tom exploded out of Chris and Bill's grip and again knocked away the razor. For a moment the men stared at each other, but Chris, Bill, and Bryan decided that their point had been made. Tom had surely now learned that the price of a ridiculous hair style was the risk of a midnight shaving. We all laughed, and started gathering up the pieces, all of us that is except Tom who simply collapsed onto his bed, his energy completely and utterly spent.

I tell this story to my friends and family as a fond memory and it is. But I always wonder, could I have joined in on the fun? I enjoy a good prank and a good fight, and I surely would have enjoyed participating in the shaving, and Tom bore no ill will to Chris, Bill or Bryan, so I would be safe on that front. But I was uncertain whether Tom and I were good enough friends for me to help with that prank, and honestly I was unsure if I was good enough friends with his attackers to participate in the prank. That is why the memory, although fond, still reminds me of the uncertainty that marks my relationships with my friends, and demonstrates why I do not fight or pull pranks, despite the fact that I enjoy both. But to analyze this memory too much I think would do it a disservice, in the end it was what it was, a dumb, fun, hilarious college prank that gives me a smile every time I recall it.

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