TRIVIA AND LORE



Andrew Reichart sometimes carried an axe when he roamed Demarest. His dream was to be a preceptor, just so he could walk to all the rooms on the first day of school with his axe and say, "Hi, I'm Andy -- I'm your preceptor." Sadly, he never realized this goal. But he did move to Oakland.

Basement Swede Mats Bergquist was known for walking around while wearing nothing but flesh-colored bikini underwear with a fig leaf.

There's at least one secret compartment hidden in a Demarest room.

During October 1990, "The Jason" Wendroff was losing at strip poker in Room 130 when he developed an imperative thirst. He fetched his refreshment from the 1FL Pepsi machine, wearing nothing but a Viking helmet.

In 1990, a group of Demarites began dancing in the QL on Friday nights, partly because the QL was abandoned on most weekends, and partly because the Demarest Handbook explicitly forbade dancing naked in the QL. On the night of April 5, 1991, Joel Kushner (the RC at the time) trudged downstairs with intent to rebuke, but ended up dancing as well. The Esbids inadvertently forced Joyce Whitlock to spend the next three years introducing herself as "Joyce, but not the Joyce who danced naked in the Study Lounge."

Jack Paxton and a friend were walking past Tinsley when a woman on a Secret Santa assignment called down from her window, "Hey, you want to come up for a good time?" Jack puffed out his chest and said, with smiling indignance: "We'll have none of that, thank you -- we're from Demarest!" (Well . . . I guess you had to be there.)

The first Reaffirmation of Existence was performed in Brower Dining Hall by a Demarite suffering a peculiar feeling of disembodiment and invisibility. Without fanfare, she dumped a glass of cold water on her own head and halted all conversation at her table. She was thus reassured that she did indeed exist. The action came to be known as a surefire way to dispell anxiety through absurdity. This first Demarite made a nightly ritual of her Reaffirmations: upon finishing her dinner, she stood on her table and addressed the dining hall at large, "In the name of 'Bob,' I hereby reaffirm my existence!" and doused her head, often garnering applause. Many magickal foodstuffs have since been used, including orange juice and green salads. Reaffirmations have been performed by True Demarites in such obscure locations as the Yacht Club.

The suite of rooms on the low side of the basement is called the Enclave. The one on the high side is the Brothel. This convention was established when the low side was all men and the high side was all women, but what the hell, eh?

There has been at least one occasion when the Johnnies were censored and recalled. A bitter breakup between the then-Secretary and his partner inspired the scathing "Loo-Loos: The Soon-To-Be Annual 'I Hate England' Issue," which included the Top Ten Reasons To Hate England, including "They call cigarettes fags," "They think our english is worser than theirs," and "Their #1 Queen can't even vogue."

Those who remember the Buster mishap know that the warning not to tip the soda machine is not posted for the health and amusement of the vending company. In 1992, a Demarite accidentally tipped the 1FL Pepsi machine completely while trying to coax a free can out of it. One of them was broken, and it was not the machine.

Before the installation of that particular carnivorous device, the original Pepsi machine was susceptible to The Touch. After inserting your 50 cents (yes, 50 cents) into the machine, if you hit the first button just so, really light and quick, the machine would release a Pepsi without knowing it. You could then press any other button and get a second soda. If you were really good, you could use The Touch on the second button. Only the rare Grand Master could do both buttons, coming away from the machine with two Pepsis and a bonus third soda. (The only drawback to this technique was that the Touched button would eat the next 50 cents fed to it. Hence, those in the know used only the less-Touchable second button for serious purchases -- or went out to the Sunrise or Mr. C's grease trucks, which used to be parked on College Avenue right outside Mettler and Tinsley.)

That same original Pepsi machine was the object of several concerted assaults by less-refined seekers. They tried reaching up through the output slot; the vending company countered with an impenetrable one-way flap on the inside. They tried removing the faceplate; this only detached a corner slightly. One industrious fellow went at the thing with a blowtorch, but this merely melted out a quarter-sized hole and filled the high side of the dorm with rather nasty smoke.

A minor Brush With Fame occurred when Debbie Gibson (yes, Debbie Gibson) applied for Demarest housing during her college search. Alas, she never made it to Rutgers.

Gibson notwithstanding, Demarest does have a legitimate claim to fame in the amazing Chris McCulloch, creator of The Medium's Mr. Nature and New Brunswick: City of Broken Dreams, and indie comic Cement Shooz. He did some work on The Tick comic book and, coincidentally, later got paid sickeningly big bucks working on The Tick TV series.

Demarest itself has appeared in the movies! In one scene in The World According to Garp, Garp's wife walks to her car, which is parked in front of a college building. That's Demarest Hall. (You may wonder how they parked the cars that way, given the landscaping. Well, Bishop Square was re-landscaped circa 1988. Before then, there was easier parking, no curbs per se, and a grassy expanse in front of Bishop House known colloquially as Bishop Beach for its tendency to attract sunbathers. But that was all before the skate-park redesign.)

"tsm," the name of the literary magazine of Demarest Hall, is widely assumed to stand for "the section magazine" (since it was created by and for the Creative Writing section). This is just a popular misconception. It really stands for "thick salty meatcakes."

One tsm writer has made it big time: Creative Writing section alumnus Junot Díaz has published a collection of short stories, Drown. He's now working on his first novel. Update: Pulitzer. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is set partially in, yes, a certain little old dormitory.

In 1996, during the rehearsal for the wedding of Kevin McDonnell and Kymz Wells, the pastor asked, "And what do you bring as a symbol of your love?" The best man, Alec Mento, practicing the motion of handing over the rings, reached into his pocket and pulled out a random object, which happened to be a small jar of Vaseline. Raising her eyebrows only slightly, the pastor continued, "Lord, bless this Vaseline . . ."


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