You can’t get along with everyone. I’m sure there are people out there who try, but to me, that just sounds exhausting. I don’t expect everyone to like me…it kind of just ends up happening. I’m joking. I’m sure I can be quite disagreeable, and in turn I tend to be bothered by my fair share of people. This is the story of one such disagreeable fellow, and the time I accidentally told him how I felt…to his face.
I don’t know how it was for everyone else, but when I got to college I cast a pretty broad net trying to find some guys to be friends with. I didn’t know anyone, and I suppose I was worried a bit about being an outcast, so anyone I met, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. At least for a minute or two. By the time I graduated my so-called net had shrunk down to include about 8 people, but freshmen year when there were 40 of us guys on the same hall I certainly hit a career high for “acquaintances.” Naturally, it didn’t take too long for me to regret my initial niceties with some of these cats. One in particular would eventually drive me crazy. We’ll call him Waldo.
Waldo was a short, harmless looking fellow, and I suppose that is why most people were pretty cool with him early on. In fact, to this day, I still give my roommate JCK a hard time because on the first night he made us wait for Waldo to go to dinner. Of course, I can’t really talk. I spent a good fifteen minutes earlier in the day bumbling through an awkward, 1st date-esque conversation with Waldo about hockey. He was a Penguins fan. Vomit. Anyway, sometime after that first night, but probably before the 3rd or 4th day most people realized that Waldo was easily the most annoying person on the hall.
An example of his ability to annoy: Freshmen year I acquired the nickname “Crafty.” It is the only real nickname I’ve ever had, meaning it had nothing to do with my last name. I think people called me that because when playing Madden I would describe almost every play or player as “crafty.” It died off after a year or so, but I will probably always remember it, and that is partially because of Waldo.
When my parents dropped me off for school they left me with various things, but what would become most infamous was a giant container of pretzels. Periodically throughout the year, when I’d go home or whatever, we’d reload that bad boy (Anderson Pretzel Factory!). So, I always had this available snacking stockpile. People would occasionally snag a pretzel or two, but in college, people’s food is very sacred. Everyone had their own special hoarding practices. Candy, ramen, soda, or in my case pretzels. Well, Waldo was a world class mooch. He had no shame. He would literally knock on a closed door, stick his odd head in, and say, “Hey Crafty, can I have a pretzel?” Then he’d come in, take a couple, and linger like a bastard. Just the sound of his voice, uttering my nickname…to this day it makes me cringe.
Pretty soon Waldo became an unwanted fixture in our room. For whatever reason (we were awesome) there were always people in our room playing video games, watching movies, drinking Parrot Bay…we had plenty of traffic. It got to the point that JCK and I made a “banned list.” It was mostly a joke, but on the backside of our door we had a list of people who were supposedly not allowed inside. I think it went about 18-20 people deep, but I can’t remember who all was on it now. There were certain Fraternity Bros, WAG (Weird Adam Grossman), and of course GW (which were Waldo’s initials). One day Waldo breaks the force field and ends up inside. He gets a look at the back of the door, and asks, “GW? Is that me?” In a flash of brilliance, JCK responded, “No. That stands for genital warts.” I think he actually bought it…
Throughout the year it becomes a constant struggle with Waldo. He’s always around, always snagging pretzels, mooching off video games or whatever and at the same time he’s bringing nothing to the table. I guess I should mention at this time that we were really at the height of AIM. In fact, JCK and I used to converse with each while our room was packed with other people. Often times, we’d take out our frustration with Waldo while he was sitting right there…none the wiser. AIM was awfully addictive too, and you could lose yourself talking to friends, weirdos, stalkers, whoever.
This story comes to a head during one such occasion when I was lost in internet chatting activities (or maybe I was doing work, who knows). It was a really busy day at 214 Buchanan. We had a nice crowd in there, and whatever was going on, I was only partially paying attention. At some point Waldo came in, and I had no idea he had graced us. You see, he was a sneaky guy to boot. So, I’m talking to the people in the room with my back turned and eventually the conversation turns to a topic that allows me to spit out something like, “You know who I don’t like? Waldo. He’s a f*cking dork.” At this point the room goes oddly silent…
Waldo says, “What’s that Crafty?”
Now here was my chance to backpedal. My brain starts scanning through excuses, and I start out with, “You’re….” There is a long pause. Then I just blurt out, “You’re f*cking annoying dude.”
And, there it is. Was it the nicest thing I’ve ever said? No, of course not. And, if I had known he was in the room I wouldn’t have said a word. But, I also would have gone on being annoyed with Waldo, and he would have gone on taking my pretzels. Who would that have benefitted? No one.