The Gestapo

I used to leave crumbs on the dinner table…it was a lot of work to wipe them off.

I did a lot of that in my college fraternity house… a Jewish fraternity to be more exact.  I’m catholic, but with a nose like this it’s easy to see why I was recruited.

Me on my 21st Birthday, Feb 2011

Our fraternity was called ZBT, or Zeta Beta Tau.  In the greek community this was construed to Zillions Billions Trillions or….Zero Boners Touched.  What do you expect from college kids?

This particular rainy night, I had been assigned to clean all the pots and pans after dinner…but it was also finals week.  I hated cleaning…I never felt responsible for the mess since I was in the library most of the time studying. In the past I either paid someone off or didn’t do it all… I did not have time tonight scrub baked ziti off a pan… so I left my dinner plate, newspaper, and crumbs at the table and immediately snuck off to the library…

A couple hours later I came back to ZBT, the smell of stale beer filled my lungs as I dragged my muddy shoes through the entrance, up the stairs, and down the hall to my room.. The house was eerily quiet…. I thought…as I sidestepped over some red solo cups, a partially eaten plate of baked ziti…and a used condom…disgusting I know.  Upon reaching my bedroom door, I saw a newspaper, tacked on my door, and a message scrawled in black sharpie…


What kind of sick joke I thought?  A gestapo reference….in a Jewish Fraternity?…that’s not kosher.  I was disgusted, I hastily entered my door code and yanked the handle…the door did not open.

I tried..again…people have called me impatient…1…3….5…4..deliberately…yet again it didn’t open. The code was changed..and I had been intentionally locked out.

Of all nights, WHY FINALS NIGHT.  I had only skipped kitchen duty 2 or 12 times this quarter…

So I started talking in my outside voice as I walked down the halls of the fraternity, banging on everyone’s door at  midnight, “MY DOOR IS LOCKED. CAN SOMEONE LET ME IN MY ROOM I HAVE A FINAL TOMORROW”…

At that moment… a bedroom door opened in the hallway…and my fraternity brothers marched out one by one, in a single line…

  • Jeff Gorman appeared first…or as we called him Jeff Goldblum
  • Jeff was followed by Cohen, Sam, Kris, Noah, and a large cloud of smoke

The gestapo had arrived.  “You have the wrong guy, I’m not even Jewish!!,” I screamed…

ZBT Alpha Mu Fraternity UW, March 2010

They grabbed me and pushed me against my bedroom door, and unlocked it…

With the gestapo holding me….they pushed me into the dark room…I waited…and the lights flipped on.

I looked on in disbelief as my entire side of my room had been saran wrapped….and piled from floor to ceiling in crumpled up newspapers…I pulled the plastic barrier down as my fraternity brothers looked on in elation…the newspapers began to avalanche…


Who did this?  Who was to blame for this?

The answer hit me as if the newspapers were rocks…

I’m to blame…for the dirty dishes….the red solo cups…the partially eaten ziti..but not the used condom…c’mon guys give me more credit

I had been so focused on my grades…my own self interest…that I didn’t once consider helping out…I had made as many excuses as there was newspapers littered across my floor.

That was the day I realized I wasn’t the center of the universe…and that my lack of responsibility had consequences….



Now the newspaper that was tacked on my door hangs in my studio apartment.  And I do my best to make sure there are no crumbs on the table.

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