Tuesday, June 25, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 16

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on January 3rd, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 44 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 44

Humor: Krider's son learns the reality of fraternity life


When my son was a little boy he was a very, very sweet child. He loved Thomas the Tank Engine train toys, and he spent hours and hours making sure Thomas and his friends took turns rolling along the tracks in harmony. There were no recklessly fast trains, and certainly no cars crashed into one another.

My son was a gentle soul who didn’t like loud noises or conflict. One Christmas, I bought him a little plastic tool bench. I figured he could pretend he was working with me in the garage on a race car. He took the hand drill from the toolset and pretended it was a hair dryer. Instead of hanging out in the garage with dad, he sat on the floor next to his mom and mimicked her as she did her hair in the morning. That was what made him happy, so that is what we let him do.

He wasn’t aggressive in any way. He didn’t like roughhousing or smashing bugs like other boys in the neighborhood. As my son was growing up, his jocular uncles were 90 percent sure he was gay. I wasn’t totally convinced, however I was preparing myself to be the best possible dad of a gay son for the day if and when he finally came out of the closet.

Then, one evening, while my son was away at college, he finally had his metamorphosis. He came home to his mother and father and announced he was joining a fraternity.

“That’s wonderful, son. Is it a gay fraternity?” I asked.

“No, Dad. It’s just a fraternity.”

“Oh, of course, nobody uses those sort of binary labels anymore. Does your fraternity go on a lot of cruises?”

“What? No, Dad. We have parties … with sorority girls.”

“Oh, well that’s a totally different thing. Please be careful with those girls. I don’t want you to get anyone pregnant until after you’ve graduated from college.”

My wife was very disappointed about our not-gay son joining a fraternity. She was convinced the fraternity would change her sweet little boy. She loved her gentle-soul son and didn’t want to see him become a “disgusting, misogynistic frat boy.”

It turned out the fraternity experience really broke our son out of his shell. He was making lots of new friends and having fun. He loved the structure and ceremony of the fraternity, and he always had his Greek letters proudly displayed on whatever clothes he was wearing. He liked the brotherhood and the feeling of belonging to something exclusive. This was an exclusivity that cost mom and dad an extra hundred dollars a month in fraternity dues so our son could be a part of it. Of course we paid it; you do anything for your kids.

I thought the whole thing was fine, however my wife was still not convinced. Every conversation we had with our son revolved around the fraternity, his big brother, his little sorority sister, or whatever party they were planning. What we really wanted to know was, “How are your classes at college? The classes that cost all of the money?”

“Mom, Dad, my grades are fine.”

Then our son told us instead of coming home for winter break, he and his fraternity brothers were going to rent an Airbnb near Malibu to party before heading home at the end of the semester. Mom was not happy about this.

“Are any girls coming to this party?” she said.

“Yes, a couple of girls, plus whatever we can find locally on Tinder.”

I thought my wife’s head was going to explode.

“Our son! He’s on Tinder!”

“Well, he’s definitely not gay, because that would be the Grindr app,” I said.

“This fraternity is a bad idea,” she replied.

Regardless of his mother’s wishes, we let him go to his Malibu Airbnb with his brothers, which turned out to be a Thousand Oaks Airbnb, nowhere near a Malibu beach. He was there only one night and then we got a phone call at 7 a.m. that went exactly like this:

“Hi. Mom and Dad, um, I’m OK, nothing to worry about. But last night I went to the emergency room because … I broke my arm. Don’t worry, nobody drank and drove. We took Uber to the ER. They gave me a splint and some pain medication. I need to go to a specialist and have it put into a cast.”


“Well, we purchased these individual small cereal boxes at Costco and there was only one box of Coco Puffs. So we were all wrestling for the Coco Puffs, and I had the box and I was running in socks on a hardwood floor and fell down. Oh yeah, and I was really drunk.”

“What were you drinking?”

“Gin. A lot of gin. You know, I don’t even like Coco Puffs. I was just sort of going with the whole thing, and then I slipped in my socks. My arm hurts.”

     “Stay put. Your mom and I will be there in three hours.”

     Thanks to my son’s drunken fraternity antics I had the opportunity of enjoying a three-hour car ride with my wife, whom I love, where she passionately detailed all of her reasons for not liking the fraternity, and the fact that she was RIGHT ALL ALONG about the damn fraternity. It felt like a 16-hour three-hour drive.

We took our frat boy son with his broken arm to the doctor’s office, where he detailed for anyone who would listen how he and his fraternity brothers got an Airbnb at the end of the semester to blow off some steam and he drank lots of gin, and he had the box of Coco Puffs and nobody could get it from him until he slipped on the hardwood floor. He told the story with great bravado, and my wife cringed every time she heard it.

We took him home to his bedroom, still adorned with a few remnants of Thomas the Tank Engine, and put him to bed with his arm in a cast. As we were shutting the door we asked him if he needed anything.

“Nope. I’m good. I’m just gonna surf Tinder and see if I can match with anyone in town who feels bad for me because I broke my arm.”

His mother had never been more disappointed. 

In his son’s stocking this year, Rob left a box of Coco Puffs. You can read more from Rob Krider or contact him at robkrider.com.

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