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  • It had been a wake-up call to me, that I was so unprepared for how to act on a date. I decided that dating was overrated (and way too stressful), so I stuck to partying with friends after my blown date with Monika. Maybe I’d find a nice girl at a party, where I was more in my element.

    During the fall, there had been a number of keg parties outside in fields in various places – Toner’s woods was a favorite spot to have them. I was slowly getting to know more people in the school through attendance at these keggers. Cy would always know about them, and we’d just show up and have a good time, drinking and meeting all kinds of people. After my date with Monika, it seemed that my stock around school rose considerably. Suddenly, lots of kids seemed to know me, and would say hi as I walked through the crowded corridors. I was starting to make a name for myself there, after all.

    Hanging around with Cy a lot at school, we had this tendency to talk each other into doing crazy things. We faked a riot one day, in a feeble attempt to get a day off school. Cy and a buddy of his, John, who happened to be black, were talking about it in Physics class one day – how crazy the riot the year before had been, and how it got them a day off. Between the three of us, we concocted this goofy scheme where we’d get about 20 white kids, John would get together about 20 black kids, and we’d hold a “fake riot” down on the football field. We’d let it go just far enough to get school officials’ attention, then we’d break it up.

    We managed to get the school officials’ attention, but it never resulted in a day off. They asked Cy, John and I, along with another black kid, to lead an interracial task force, to find ways to ease the racial tensions in the school. We would get together after school and get high together, and talk about everything but racial tensions. We concluded there wasn’t much racial tension in the school, as long as everyone was cool, and we would set the example – by getting high together. That was our plan, and we stuck to it!
  • Another time in Physics class, which was all the way up on the 4th floor of the huge, old school, the fire alarm went off, and everyone had to exit the school. Cy grabbed a fire extinguisher, and we took turns spraying it all over everyone as we raced down the 4 flights of stairs, yelling “fire, fire, fire”. It was pretty stupid, but we thought it was fun at the time.

    When nothing was happening around Brookline or Mt. Washington on a weekend, Cy and I, or sometimes just me by myself, would hitchhike down to Steubenville College in Ohio, where our friend Darrel was now going, and spend the weekend partying with the college crowd there. We’d crash in Darrel’s dorm room. When Animal House came out years later, it reminded me a lot of Steubenville College. Darrel’s dorm would have been the “animal house” fraternity that Belushi and crew were in. It was pretty wild, there.

    There was a big Grecian Tea one Saturday night, with grain alcohol punch that I was drinking like koolaid – it was made with grape koolaid – and quickly getting wasted. I was having a good talk with a pretty girl named Mary, when I blacked out – the rest of the night was lost to me. Waking up the next morning in Darrel’s dorm room, with about ten other bodies strewn all about the room, someone asked me about the girl I was with at the party. I apparently was making out with her, and she really seemed to like me, according to them. I honestly had no recollection of what happened after I blacked out.

    “Did you at least get her number?” I wasn’t sure – I fumbled around in my pockets, and fished out a matchbook with a name and a number written on it. The number was a Pittsburgh exchange, 412. The name was “Mary – Mee”. When I read it out loud, everyone fell out. “Marry me – oh, man, Pete, she really got you!” When I got back home to Pittsburgh, I looked up “Mee” in the phone book, and sure enough, there was a Dr. Harold Mee, with that number, in the phone book.

    I called the number, and asked for Mary. She got on, and it was the same girl! That really was her name! She remembered the night we had, and liked me – but, she, like me, had been a high school student crashing the college party, and her parents found out about it, and she was grounded for a month. That was funny, I thought. My parents barely knew if I was coming or going, half the time. I had become masterful at making up stories about what I was doing when I went away for weekends at a time. Somehow, I always got away with it.
  • One night at the college, we all got really drunk, and some of the guys decided to trash the Dean’s room in the dorm. He apparently had a room there, but didn’t always use it. They really hated the dean. So, they got a fire extinguisher, and sprayed it all over everything in the room, at 2:30 in the morning.

    They later got busted for it. I got a call from Darrel – “Hey, Pete – I need a big favor, man. Can you come down and take the blame for trashing the dean’s room? They’re planning to expel me and this other guy who are going down for it. They can’t really do anything to you, since you’re not a student here. If you get a fine or anything, I’ll cover the cost. I can’t afford to get thrown out. My number was #9 in the draft lottery. If I get tossed, I’ll lose my student deferment, and get drafted into the army, for sure.”

    I went down to the college and took the hit for the whole thing, claiming that I’d acted alone. I was really drunk, I said, and didn’t know what I was doing. The dean was furious with me, and told me that I was never welcome back on the campus, and had better never plan to attend that school. I didn’t much care about that – I had no intention of going to college, anyway.

    The banning became a badge of honor for me, that I wore proudly back at school – “Yeah, I’ve been banned from a college campus.” I was slowly making a name for myself, there. I was this man of the world, who’d gotten banned from a college campus, helped organize a fake riot and got named to a racial taskforce a month into my time there, been to Kent State a year after the killings there, dated one of the most popular girls in the school – and, of course, danced with Tina Turner.

    But, the best was yet to come – the coup de grace. My final act of making my mark at South Hills High would also be my ticket out of there, and out of town. It would also be that thing that I finally came up with, that none of my older brothers before me had ever done. It definitely got my parents’ attention!
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