In a Lurch

When I was a freshman in college, there was this seriously weird guy who lived in my dorm who we always called Lurch.  You know the Addams Family's tall, creepy-looking butler?  Imagine a younger version of him with dark prescription glasses.  He was almost certainly schizophrenic, the type who was not only delusion, but also that kind who feel they are privy to privileged information that the rest of us (i.e., the ones without the delusions) are ignorant of.

He believed he was above us and we kept our distance because he was so amazing (or something).  In reality, we ostracized him in part because he never bathed.  This resulted in some of his other nicknames: Freak, Reek, Slimy, Grimy, Pigpen, Dirt, etc.  He used to stand on the wall in front of the dorm and read sci-fi books.  Actually, he used to do pretty much anything and read sci-fi books.

Once in my history class the teacher, Dr. Spittlemouth (or so we called him), described the horrible conditions of ancient Sparta and rhetorically asked if anyone would have like to have lived there.  Lurch (and only Lurch) raised his hand.  Everyone in the class turned and looked at him in the back of the room like WTF?  We were always amazed, but usually maintained our composure until we were out of class and could freely pull our hair out and scream at each other, "Can you believe he did that?"

In the same class the professor asked if everyone had purchased a blue book to take their test the next time we met.  Lurch said he hadn't.  The professor asked him why not?  He said, "Because my student loan hadn't come in yet."  Yes, he was serious.  Blue books cost about 10 cents at the campus bookstore.  One of the girls in the class bought an extra copy that afternoon to give to him.  A friend of mine and I were on our way past the bookstore as we headed back to our dorm when the girl came out of the store and told us this.  Lurch came along a moment later and she tried to give it to him.  He looked confused about the entire exchange.  I think he finally took the book just so he could be left alone and wouldn't have to try to figure this whole social interaction out any longer.

Another time, in English, when everyone exchanged papers to be critiqued he got mine and my roommate Jim got his.  Jim's draft was supposed to be typed, but he claimed that he couldn't in spite of the fact that he played on his computer most of the day.  I got my critique back from Lurch and did my best to keep from laughing at his schizophrenic ramblings in front of him.  The critique went back and forth between him telling me my paper made no sense (he explained to me that he could only understand it because he was "gifted with great reasoning processes") and telling me that my paper reminded him of his paper.

Our dorm organized a scavenger hunt one semester.  To the best of my recollection, Lurch wasn't involved in it (seeing as how he had no friends), but at the end of the hunt we had a bar of soap since that was one of the items we collected.  Since no one we knew used that brand and Lurch was badly in need of some incentive to bathe, my (then) friend Joyce and I wrote a list of all of the ingredients down on an index card.  At the bottom we added, "Active Ingredient: Application to skin under warm to hot water," and left the soap and card in front of his door.

We lived in the so-called honors dorm, which required you to maintain a 3.0.  There was a probationary semester if you fell below that, but since Lurch decided he was too smart to go to his classes, he didn't bother to show up for most or possibly any of them for the last month of the semester until maybe the final (I don't remember if he bothered coming or not).  Naturally, he had to move to a different dorm the next semester since it was impossible to pull a 0.0 up to a 3.0 by any conventional math.

I wish I could post a follow-up about him, but I couldn't track him down.  I had forgotten most of the stories above about him until I happened upon them in some old files I had written that year.

Copywrite 2007 Alexplorer.
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