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Dear B&S: First-Year Roommate Drama

By Carter Ottele

Dear Binston Swongo,

I’m really sorry to bother you. I just have a tiny little conflict with my roommate, and I was wondering if you could help. I know, I’m in college now, I’m supposed to be able to resolve my own problems—it’s just that I haven’t dealt with anything like this before. 

My roommate, Maximilian Equitus of Gloucester IV (fake name), has decided to start sacrificing animals on his side of the room. It started with sparrows and stuff, but now he’s moving to larger creatures like goats and illegally-imported gazelles. Max has also threatened to sacrifice my pet chinchilla. I’m completely willing to accommodate diverse religious practices, but Cthulhu isn’t a real religious deity…right? And last night, when I threatened to call the police, Max showed me the All Cops Are Bastards sticker on his water bottle, totally negating my entire argument. What can I do?

Mildly Concerned First Year

Dear Mildly Concerned First Year,

Animal sacrifice is no joke. One of our school’s founders, Robert Noyce, once received a one-semester suspension for killing a pig. In 1948, he stole the animal from a nearby farm and butchered it in Clark pit for a luau. Bob narrowly avoided criminal charges. Your roommate Max might face the same legal challenges if a local farmer finds out about all this.

Bob and I went way back. Though we never attended the College at the same time, we ran into each other a lot at alumni events (as two of Grinnell’s most famous alumni, we often shared the stage). And when he wanted to house the minotaur he found in the Aegean Sea, I was the one who suggested he fund the expansion of the campus’ science building. Yet it was October 1983, the fall of the Great Iowa Sand Storm, that I remember most clearly about ol’ Bob. That was the year we embarked on a roadtrip to Columbus, Ohio.

Bob and I had talked about traveling together for years. But once the shai-halud invaded the Alumni Recitation Hall, we decided to finally capitalize on our plan. We took Bob’s 1979 Rolls-Royce and drove straight toward the Buckeye City. Of course, we intended to entertain ourselves with all the internationally-famous tourist attractions: the Franklin Observatory, the Columbus Art Museum, Interstate 70, the municipal waste plant, etc. We started with The Ohio State University’s football stadium, where I reconnected with my birth parents, then headed to German Village. But Bob got sidetracked at a strip club named Sugar Rush (for years, he maintained that he expected a candy shop). And that’s where the trouble began.

I didn’t see the outbreak of violence. Apparently, Bob claimed that Grinnell was the “Harvard of the Midwest,” offending two University of Chicago graduates in the crowd. A heated debate ensued, involving some thinly-veiled accusations of academic dishonesty. After Bob threatened to disintegrate someone’s circuits, the debate turned into an all-out brawl.

Later, as we recuperated in the Motel 6, Bob apologized to me.

“I’m so sorry, Binston,” he told me, fending off tears. “I should do better. Grinnell deserves better. How can Grinnellians ever go forth if their role model engages in…fisticuffs at a strip club in Columbus, Ohio?”

“You’re okay, Bob,” I told him. “You’re okay. The kids are alright. Let’s go watch Superman III.”

Anyway, Mildly Concerned First Year, there’s the lesson you should take away from all this: the kids are alright. So long as you hide your chinchilla in a locker outside d-hall, Max won’t bother you anymore, hopefully. Let me know if the sacrifices start encroaching into your side of the room.


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1 Comment

  1. Bella

    OMG I’ve been wondering what the infamous Bob Noyce pig incident was! Thank you so much for clearing up this mystery!!! I wish they were a little more explicit in all those plaques about him.

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