Against my better judgment, I joined a fraternity when I was a freshman at the University of Missouri. I had not been impressed with the attitude of some of the guys I went to camp with who I knew were in frats. I have never done very well being told what to do, especially when there seemed to be a more effective way to do things than what the authorities were demanding. Over the decades, my thinking has not changed very much on this specific topic.
In this fraternity, a couple of “brothers” were Chicagoans like myself. There were not a lot of people at Mizzou from outside St. Louis and Kansas City. So, we non-Missourians were in short supply and hot demand. Terry and Ben did a nice job pursuing me. My Dad suggested I take them up on their offer to put me up for a weekend during my last semester of my senior year in high school. Even though I didn’t want to be in a fraternity, I was going to be going to school there after all. I might as well meet some people and get to know the lay of the land a little. So, I headed to Columbia for a long weekend.
The Tigers football team was on the road that weekend which meant a lot of the kids around campus had gone home. So, too, with the guys in the frat house. It seemed really mellow there, almost like the camp atmosphere with which I was very familiar and comfortable with. Then on Sunday the guys held an intramural softball game. I was invited to play. I hit two home runs. Then a full-court press was put on to get me to join the fraternity. It worked, but it was a big mistake on my part to join.
The first thing that happened to me when I walked into the house to start my college career was I was greeted by one of the “actives” screaming on the top of his lings at me. “Klein, you’re late!” I was late for work week because I had just finished my summer as a counselor at camp. He said I better pick up a paint brush immediately. I told him I would do it but after I unpacked. He fumed.
During my time as a “pledge”, I witnessed abuse and the kind of hazing that eventually caused fraternities and governments across the country to make that kind of shit illegal.
One night the “actives” insisted all of us plebs sleep in the basement together without any mattresses, pillows or bedding. Then we were supposed to be up and at what they called “a line-up” at 6:00 AM in coat and tie to be berated some more. This type of exercise was a regular occurrence. It was supposed to produce camaraderie and cohesion. Instead, we were pissed off. I had had enough. I had already been personally ignoring some of the more absurd rules. But now it was time to organize the group. So, at the ripe old age of eighteen, I explained to my “pledge brothers” that we had the real power in the house. That they could not run the house without the 40 of us and our money. They all rallied and did not show up the next morning. Then the shit really hit the fan.
For our purposes here, suffice it to say that instead of this kind of insanity continuing unabated through the early spring of the following year, they initiated us into the fraternity in November. We had successfully put a stop to the craziness by uniting and being resolute.
In the most famous movie ever made about fraternity life, the hilarious “Animal House”, the frat boys eventually rebelled against their fictional control freak on their campus, Dean Vernon Wormer. Back here in real life, we are seeing this begin to happen around the world as the people are beginning to be fed-up with these draconian, inconsistent, irrational, uncreative, and unproductive measures to thwart the pandemic. Our own respective “animal houses” may not be perfect. They may be messy but they’re OUR house not the goddamn government’s.
Recently, I was on a YouTube program called “The Deciding Factor” promoting my book “Early Wake-Up Call”. At the end of their show, they ask the panel what “the deciding factor” was on “who was ultimately to blame for the way the pandemic was being mishandled”. I said, without hesitation, that ultimately it was the people—the general public—and their willingness to rollover, to comply, to not think for themselves about the long lasting implications and damage shutting down our societies would do. People are finally starting to wake-up. We’ve seen protests in LA, New York, Michigan, Maine, New Jersey and throughout the world. It may be too late for millions of business owners, workers and bread winners. But it doesn’t have to be too late for you and yours.
You think 2020 was bad? Folks, hold onto your hats. Unfortunately, we ain’t seen anything, yet. Get ready now!
Ultimately, just like the first opportunity we had to not adhere and comply to the power-hungry control freaks—we are getting another chance as they have double-downed on this craziness. They had to. If they would have come up with a more effective, creative, healthful, holistic approach, they would have had to admit their first policies were ill-conceived and wrong. Dictators are loathe to admit mistakes.
Now we citizens have another chance to take personal responsibility for our own individual lives and health for us and our families. Obviously, my issues with being controlled by “a ruling class” go way back to even before my days in college. You know where I stand. But where are you at with all this?
Last spring when they shut everything down here in the Tampa area, our son Judah and Dawn made the decision to keep our tanning salon, Sun Bar Tanning Saloon, open with certain precautions in place. Our clients were overjoyed to have some normalcy in their lives, to be able to get out of the house and enjoy the relaxation and health benefits of the Vitamin D and endorphin-release of the tanning experience. We were literally the only business in our mall open except for Pet Smart (which apparently had been deemed “essential”). We thought our business and customers were essential, too. Are yours? Are you?
The restaurant industry bent over backwards and put in all kinds of health measures costing billions of dollars worldwide so they could operate. What happened? The government shut ’em down anyway, with absolutely no evidence to back up their decision.
What our country and the world has done heretofore clearly has not stopped the virus. Fortunately, our so-called leaders’ own obvious hypocrisy in not following their own insane orders has begun to wake up the people to the ruling class’ fuck-ups.
“The people united will never be defeated”. Truer words have never been spoken. The only way over-reaching government edicts, (which often leads to totalitarianism and fascism) can succeed is if the people allow it.
Let us say together, “enough is enough”, draw a line in the proverbial sand and not allow it to go any further.