There is one tale that must be told from the West Liberty catalog. One that involves near suicide.
One night I was just hanging out in my dorm room. That would be the roach infested, frat boy drunken haven known as Bartell Hall. Bar-hell, if an accurate moniker was to be chosen.
My frat boy roomie, Tom, or as he liked to refer to himself "T" was a total ass kissing wanna be and teller of tall tales. I tried my best to get along with him, but our values were not even within the same solar system. I didn't understand his need to fit into a rigid and unforgiving guy world social structure anymore than he understood my contempt for it nor my desire to be an independent. I would listen to his sage advice on girls and his tales of self-glory.
One fucked up night, two fellow music majors showed up. Not a good idea considering the outright anti music major sentiments displayed by my fellow lodgers. Something else: one of them appeared to be really intoxicated.
Me thinks: this is not going to go well.
And for fuck's sake, it turns into a continuous disaster that lasts the whole evening.
For the sake if anonymity, even after all these years, we'll call the two dramatis personae, A and W.
Well, it's W who is so messed up, that he instantly begins to stumble around the room. The door is open and the frat music is blaring from all the rooms. The testosterone is pumping and the drums beating hot. Shouts of "Faggot" has already graced the air several times of that tender domicile as the mob mentality begins to bloom.
W decides to amp things up a bit and fall into Ts golf clubs. T then must save face in front of his frat pack and T flies into a "I'm going kick your ass rage." Even his frat bros laugh at his false chest pounding, declaring it null and void on the machismo scale. What is a fight with a music faggot major? Nothing. Not a challenge.
I decide that W and A are playing a dangerous game and best we head out to anywhere but this butthole of a place. Shouts of "faggots" bid us farewell as I take them down the stairwell as best I can. W decides to race down the stairs as fast as he can. He is hell bent on hurting himself.
The rain is pounding down as we chase W past the track and up the hill. We tackle him. Now, A is a strong and wiry boy from Mullens. We both have trouble getting W under control and to stay on the ground. In fact, he successfully extricates himself several times before we bring him down. Meantime, the rain pounds us. We are muddy, soaked and run ragged from Mr. I'm Gonna Offit.
I look up and see his roommate, Jeff Nugent, walking up the hill with guitar in hand. I call out to him. Surely he will want to help prevent W from his path of self-destruction. He ignores me and has an expression of contempt and annoyance. He going off to fucking practice while we try to get W to not shuffle off the old mortal coil. Make no mistake, cartooners, Mr. Nugent heard me loud and clear and saw what was happening. I never saw him in quite the same light again.
W promises to be a good boy if we let him up and like the dumbasses we were, as soon as he was let free, he tears off like a shit storm towards the dorm (Reports were that earlier he had been in the music department tearing things off the bulletin board. W was known as an outstanding student. Luckily, no one of importance saw him in his condition.).
He bolts up the stairs like he's jacked up on speed (what combination or drugs he was on, I have no idea). He makes to his dorm floor, out onto the balcony and tries to climb over the chest high brick wall to do himself in.
Well, we struggle here and then into the hallway. By then, some people have begun to help us with him. All the while he has been yelling that he wants to kill himself. Total circus by this point.
Eventually, we get him into a room and onto the floor. There's a couple of guys now, all trying to get the motherlicker to stay still. He wrestles us, we wrestle him. It's a goddam amateur wrestling hour by now.
I distinctly remember at one point, having him on the bathroom floor (fuck knows how we got there) and him raising up and banging his head on the pipes several times. Like an enraged dumb animal, he just didn't notice.
Finally after hours of this, whatever he was on began to wear off and the old W began to come back. I can't remember what was said nor do I remember any tearful thanks, but I wasn't about to let someone kill themselves over West Liberty frat boys, politics, music department professors or whether or not it was an old fashioned broken heart. I just don't remember.
I had seen other self-destructive actions by W before, but this one really took the proverbial cake.
Years later, A and I were talking about this and he said he felt bad about dragging me into the situation. I have no regrets.
W was always the teacher's favorite and I think finally the pressure of being Mr. Perfect broke the seal of sanity and he just wanted out of the whole game.
Happy ending: W settled down, got himself a hot girlfriend the next semester, evened out and his attempts at killing himself were no more.
Last I heard, he was teaching school somewhere in Ohio.