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
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
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