The Legend of the Dyspeptic Date

“That’s her. She’s the one.” Scott pointed to a picture of a girl named Rhonda in the freshman facebook.

Before there was Facebook, every college had a freshman facebook.

It was the last day of orientation, 1974.

Scott was a scholarship jock.  He was on the periphery of what would become our core 4th floor freshman social group in our all-male dorm. The night before, we’d all attended the campus-wide freshman week party, featuring lots of cheap champagne and endless kegs of Lone Star.

And lots of drunk kids meeting each other for the first time.

Scott continued: “So me and Rhonda are sitting on a bench … that’s her name, right? My hands are roaming, you know what I mean? And Rhonda’s relaxed, not saying nothing.

“So this goes on a while, then Rhonda leans over and puts her head in my lap!”

Us (anticipating Flounder): “This is gonna be great!”

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”What happened next?”

Scott: “Rhonda ralphs all over my new dungarees!

Us: “Duuuuuuude!” Or words to that effect.

Scott left school after that fall semester. He returned home to Jersey, which explains his use of the word “dungarees”.

As time passed, our little group expanded beyond the 4th floor. Thursday nights at The Pub, one of the stories we’d often tell (OK, I’d often tell) was the story of Scott and his unrequited freshman passion.

With every retelling, the story was embellished polished. Rhonda was never named, but we all knew.

Scott and Rhonda’s dyspeptic interlude became part of our lore.

As time passed, our little group grew to include Debbie and Amy, both residents of an all-girls dorm across campus. They weren’t dating any of us, they were just cool girls we liked to hang out with.

By the next semester I had transferred away. My buddy Mark became the Keeper of the Legend, because he told the story almost as well as I did.

Mark would tell me later of the next retelling of the Legend, this time to the entire group.

Mark blurted out the punch line.

[Two beats.]

Amy shrieked and ran out of the room.

You guessed it. A case of mistaken identity. In reality, Scott never even met Rhonda.

The Dyspeptic Date was Amy, a nice girl who’d just had too much freshman-week champagne.

Moral of the story? Eighteen year-old boys are knuckleheads. Memories can be faulty and incomplete, especially over time. Retelling reinforces the Legend, which is often at odds with the Truth.

Somewhere in New Jersey, Scott still thinks his Dyspeptic Date was named Rhonda, when in reality it was Amy.

Or was it Debbie? I’m not really sure. I wasn’t there, and it’s been almost 45 years.

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