Whenever TBS reruns Animal House on its late-night lineup, I always find myself nodding with drunken nostalgia. The drunken fraternizing and acid-induced streaking are universal hallmarks of institutionalized higher education.
Jim Belushi's piggish machismo and goonish hijinks remind me of my own youthful indiscretions—like the time I crashed the monthly meeting of MTSU's Raider Republicans.
While my classmates partook in less nerdy pursuits, such as digging through upturned sofa cushions for misplaced condoms, I hobnobbed with tightly wound George Bush lovers. In the purest sense, this so-called covert operation was actually rather well publicized. I had e-mailed my intentions to MTSU's conservative blogger and resident firebrand, Kara, months prior to the tentative troublemaking.
“You want to do what?” she wrote.
As her liberal-blogging adversary, I could hear the fear in her voice. I imagined her fingers clutching the keyboard, her jowls clasped tightly shut like a monastic nun who stumbles upon the seminary glory hole.
I explained that my purpose was far from predatory. There would be no galvanizing or Michael Moore-worthy rantings on her watch, thank you very much.
"It's just for kicks,” I told her. “You know how these crazy college kids today snort a line of rufies for their impending all-night boinkfest? Well, I get my jollies from pretending to be Republican."
Truth be told, I didn't have a lot of experience with Republicans. Most of my face time with conservatives had been of the tight-fisted libertarian variety, and while Libertarians are like Republicans in some ways, they're generally less evil; mainly because they're too stoned to stir any dander.
On the other hand, I've dated my fair share of sport-utility (SUV) drivers. These fleeting relationships always end miserably as I tend to pick at their chosen means of transportation like a festering scab. We'll be idling peacefully in rush-hour traffic, and my rabid tree-hugger persona will suddenly unbind itself from the formal doe-eyed niceties: "Do you realize that by driving this monstrosity you're drilling a hole into the ozone the size of Texas?" I tell them.
I can't help myself, really. Suffice to say, SUV drivers never return my phone calls. I'm probably blacklisted or something.
I wanted my scheduled tryst with the Raider Republicans to be less, well, confrontational. I’ve seen The O’ Reilly Factor. I didn’t want my ass to be torn apart by vicious conservatives like it was a beef-jerky party tray.
So 30 minutes prior to the meeting, I couldn't stop fretting about my outfit. I wanted to waltz into the room and have their beady Raider Republican eyes automatically scanning my figure and finding me one of their own. But most importantly, I wanted to know the republican secret handshake.
"Does my outfit scream Republican to you?" I asked a co-worker.
"You look like a lesbian with a 5 o' clock shadow," she said.
Considering my Birkenstocks and Buddy Holly glasses, my bloodshot eyes and uncombed hair, I had to admit she wasn't too far off. I looked as if I were attending the monthly Planned Parenthood meeting and not a soiree for pinstriped young money-grubbers.
During their tireless Pledge of Allegiance and emotional fireworks display for all things American, I snaked into a back row seat. A roundly Limbaugh-esque Raider Republican shot me a sour look with his sunken little eyeballs.
“You’re not one of us,” he seemed to be saying. “I can smell the patchouli and incense on your breath three ways ‘til Sunday.”
But sadly, the bulk of the Raider Republican meeting unfolded without incident. I did have to punch myself, though, when the chapter president likened both Harold Ford Jr. and Bill Clinton to Satan. I considered jumping out of my seat to bark, “And Hillary is a first-class bitch.”
However, I thought that might be overdoing it.
As the meeting petered out and the young conservatives invited me to a nearby Mexican restaurant, I took a rain check in favor of hippie-vegetarian food at Calypso Cafe with my socialist friend, Maria. There, in the middle of bean dishes and tofu burgers and my friend's railings against the man, I felt like Dorothy after her trip to Oz. I had failed miserably at moonlighting as a Republican, but at least I was home.