By: Catherine Terelak

So you’re living in Norris Pit next semester. Let’s fucking gooooo! 

My name is Robby and I’ll be your CA. I’d like to introduce you to my associates, Max and Axl. We’re from different suburbs of Chicago that all begin with the word ‘oak.’ 

The first thing you should know about Norris Pit is that it’s one of Grinnell’s few male-only floors. That means we kick it guy-style, all day long. You know the drill. Keep those toilet seats up. We don’t recycle because let’s be real, that shit is girly. And we don’t take out the trash, we just burn it in the furnace. FM stopped coming years ago, and that’s the way we like it. Staying clean is for pussies. Real men fester in their own filth. 

Max has a microwave and a toaster oven, but you should probably find a woman to operate those small kitchen appliances for you. Ditto with the washer and the dryer. You’ve got better, more important things to occupy yourself with, like looking at images of luxury cars and following the sports teams of the place where you’re from. No—Shut up. I wasn’t asking where you’re from. What are we, girls? Don’t tell me anything about yourself. I don’t want to know because I don’t care. 

You might hear Axl practicing the guitar, but he doesn’t want you to get the idea that he, like, cares about music or anything. He promises he’s just doing it to get bitches. Girls love artistic-type shit, but they still want a provider, so there’s a serious market for sigma males who can strum. 

Right now we’re in my room, which is where pregames happen. Whatever you do, don’t touch my speaker. I’ll be on aux, always, and you’ll never know anything I’m playing. If you do, let me know and I’ll shut it off and put on something more underground. 

Repeat after me: In this dorm, Saturdays are for the boys. We drink our Hawkeye straight. No chaser. This is a mixer-free zone. Sub-free is a suggestion. Good. Now sign here, in your blood. We’ll hold you to that. Take it away, Axl, and put it in the safe. Thanks to Max, who goes to his math class sometimes but isn’t, like, into math or anything, we’ve been able to formulate very accurate figures with regard to your expected contribution to our liquid budget. Are you ready to hear the number? Sit down, and Max will whisper it in your ear. Please, don’t vomit on my carpet. Get it together. 

Since you’re a first-year, you get to sleep in the bomb shelter. That might sound intimidating if you’re a pussy, which I’m guessing you are, but it’s no big deal. You see, Norris was built in a time when men were men and it wasn’t so weird to build domestic fortifications against the evil specter of Communism and the looming threat of nuclear annihilation. You can arrange the dried beans and drums of potable water however you want, but we ask that you don’t remove anything, just in case. (Obviously, if anything happens, you’ll be removed from the bomb shelter. That’s just the way it has to be. We can’t spend the whole apocalypse with a first-year. First-years have zero chill.) 

My buddy Tommy used to live in the room at the end of the hall, but he flunked out last semester so now that room is the Norris Pit Gentleman’s Lounge. Since you’re a first year, your job is to stand outside the velvet ropes, tending the bar and cutting cigars. Don’t worry about what happens behind the purple curtains. That’s rated NC-17 and we want to preserve your innocence. If you see a Norris Bunny in passing, make no moves. Only nod chastely in her direction. Be respectful. Not because we, like, care about the Bunnies’ physical safety and emotional well being, but because we have reason to believe one of them is working on a Gloria Steinem-style undercover expose of our activities and we can’t let the Feds (a.k.a. the Title Nine Office) get their hands on something like that. 

Do you know how to play poker? No? Well, this isn’t the place to learn. I’m going to tell you this once and only once: There’s a card table in the bathroom, in front of the urinals, and if you come in to pee any week-night between the hours of five and eleven, you must play. I’m telling you, you do not want to make this mistake. Max and Axl are the most ruthless card sharks you’ll ever meet. I can count on two hands and one foot the number of times they’ve been chased out of Vegas. Once I was in so deep with those boys I had to start betting fingers. My buddy Tommy lost a kidney that night. 

Oh—I guess I should mention that you can go upstairs, if you want. You should bear in mind, however, that Norris Above Ground has not lost its FM privileges (yet), so clean up after yourself and don’t leave the stove on all night when you’re making omelets at 2 a.m. Sub-free is also sort of a farce in Norris Above Ground, but it’s more like one of Yuval Harari’s imagined orders. What I mean is that it would be frowned upon to walk around with a blunt hanging out of your mouth, a fifth of vodka in your hand, and a Norris Bunny on your arm. Crazy, I know, but some people have work to do. Turns out, some people came to Grinnell to get an education. What a bunch of freaking pussies. 

But Norris Above Ground isn’t all bad. It’s a quiet place for Max to do his math homework, when he does it, and sometimes Axl brings up his guitar. He has almost the whole chorus of ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ by Bob Dylan down, and he’s actually starting to sound pretty good. We’re all really proud of him. It’s honestly touching to see him succeed at something. The bitches are going to be thrilled.