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Letterless in two years of trying, he decided not to go out as a senior and instead use those sunny afternoons to good advantage, hustling pretty Pi Phis or hoisting beers at Stubby's Trojan Barrel. But the rest of the team wouldn't hear of it. He was amiable company and comic relief from the drudgery of practice. If no ball was available they could always throw Harrigan into the net. So they convinced him that he should join the team again. It is doubtful if he got even his toes wet in more than two matches, but at the end of the season Coach Kohlhase, who just happened to be a KA alumnus, gave him a letter, a reward for three years of swallowing chlorine.
The next morning Harrigan quietly installed a photograph of himself, smiling radiantly, on the wall of fame. I suppose it is still there, a few feet along the top row from Charley Paddock.
Very little else could be guaranteed to remain where you left it. For instance, there was the time two roommates came home from the library late at night to find their quarters stripped bare, right down to the carpet tacks and Kingston Trio record albums. After a long search they found their furniture, neatly and accurately arranged on the roof. Another brother made the mistake of leaving his broken-down jalopy under the back stairs. Somebody dropped a 16-pound shot on it from the top of the stairs and it made such a satisfying loud clunk that everybody else had to have a go at it, completely wrecking the car.
Since the house was never locked, there was trouble from outsiders, too. When there was a Saturday afternoon football game over at the Coliseum the entire Row was deserted, a ghost street. One Saturday a group of our guys came back from the stadium early and found two strangers casually loading our living-room and dining-room furniture into a van. The thieves were summarily thrashed and turned over to the police. We had a Ping-Pong table in the chapter room that was stolen on a weekend, although a few of us suspected it was an inside job and that it had been taken out and burned by some of our own who objected to the noisy 2 a.m. challenge matches.
The most prized booty ever brought into the house—and a souvenir that none of us would have dared destroy—was obtained by a valued brother named The Baron (the nickname has been changed to protect the guilty). The item was the spoils of a panty raid, one of many such forays that The Baron led down the Row. It was a brassiere, which, of course, was the champion souvenir of any raid.
This, however, was not just a brassiere, but one of such generous proportions that it left very little (though, at the same time, quite a lot) to the imagination. The Baron mused for a while, and then decided that it would only be honorable to stage a Cinderella contest to uncover the rightful owner. Sadly, the sorority involved would not cooperate in the proposed venture.
The Baron could be counted on to provide some kind of entertainment most of the time. He was a second-string football player and, until he gave up baseball to concentrate on playing the horses, The Baron had been a fairly good prospect in that sport, too. He was an outfielder and he could hit, run, throw, do anything—except stay in training. Each time he tossed the ball back to the infield it would have nicotine stains on it.
Was there a Thank-God-It's-Friday beer bust nearby? The Baron would be there, paper cup in hand. A tubful of rum punch at a luau? The Baron would sit in it. The Baron had amazing recuperative powers, though. No matter how many beers or Singapore slings he consumed or what hour he got in, he would wrap up in his blanket (he never heard of sheets), fall onto his bare mattress, catch a few winks and be up before everyone else. Quite often a group of us would be hurrying over to school for 8 o'clock classes and would see him coming the other way from the drugstore with a Coke and the Daily Racing Form .
At lunch he would plunge his hand into the dining-room aquarium, pull out our pet goldfish and march indignantly up to the pledge responsible for its care. Shaking the poor fish under the pledge's nose, he would launch into a long and complex lecture on its anatomy, feeding, mating habits, etc.
Nights at the KA house were seldom dull. My roommate and I used to try to study at the big table in the chapter room, with all those lettermen beaming down at us from the wall, and only once in a while would the conditions be favorable for trying to memorize who said what to whom in the third act of King Richard II. Certainly this did not come easy when Harry Rothschild had all his tools out trying to figure a way to beat the pay telephone. Or when a group was loosening all the screws in George Baffa's metal bed so that when he got home late from parking cars at the Beverly Hilton the whole thing would collapse the second he jumped in. Or when somebody was trying to organize a taquito run to Olvera Street.