Whatever USC was paying out under the table, it couldn't have been too much. Jaguar drove around in a rundown '49 Chevy that didn't even match my ugly green '54 Nash. He had to borrow the $400 to pay for the car and it was in the shop half the time. The only way he and Halfback Ernie Zampese could pay their debts was to win at the almost nightly poker or bridge games or take bets out to Santa Anita racetrack and then not place them, gambling that the horses would lose.
In his senior year every pro football team was in touch with Arnett, the Herald-Express ran his ghost-written life story, he was managing the golf team, and thus getting to play L.A.'s best courses for free, and the telephone at the KA house rang every other minute for Jon. The bulletin board by the phone seemed to be his private message center: " Jaguar, call the Packers" or " Jaguar, call the Eagles collect whatever time you get in—urgent!" Eventually someone put up a sign by the phone: "Arnett, call everybody!"
The Rams made him their No. 1 draft choice and gave him a big bonus, so naturally one of the first things he did was to get himself a reliable set of wheels. Dressed in Levi's, faded sports shirt and loafers, he went out to a well-appointed Oldsmobile dealership on Wilshire Boulevard in the high-rent district. The salesman ignored him for a long time, taking care of all the other customers first. When the man finally deigned to speak to him, Jon pointed out a handsome gray Olds and promptly peeled off $4,000 in bonus cash to pay for it.
It would not have done to let him get high-hat, though. He came back from class one day to find a sign, "The Jon Arnett Museum," tacked on his door. His roomie, a nonjock future dentist, had ransacked his drawers, his closets and even the trunk of his car, and dumped his most-valuable-player trophies, his All-This-and-That plaques, his fan mail, his golf clubs, his handball gloves, etc. all over the room—it looked as if a tornado had struck a sporting goods store.
Despite the horseplay, we fancied ourselves as gentlemen—at least when ladies came visiting. The motto on the KA escutcheon was Dieu et Les Dames, meaning that God and women should be respected and honored. Once each month there was a Mother's Day, when the mothers would come to the campus, eat with their unusually well-mannered sons at the fraternity and sip tea at a subsequent get-together in the living room.
Late one morning on a Mother's Day, Arnett, as was his practically daily habit, strolled down the second-floor hallway to the shower room, turned on all the hot-water faucets to make it like a Turkish bath and took a short nap on the tile floor. Refreshed, clean and naked as a newborn fawn, he was halfway back to his room when suddenly there appeared two ladies taking an impromptu tour.
"Hi, Mothers," said Jaguar without breaking his stride, "what's for lunch?"