06 November 2008

Poo in Your Room

Both Mr de Elba and I spent 4 years living in different residential colleges while we studied at The University of Queensland. Most university colleges are co-ed, but after 12 years at co-ed state schools, we were ready for something a bit different, so he lived at an all-men's college and I lived in an all-women's college. And it was there that we met, which was the best part of the whole 4 years.

The second best part of the 4 years was probably the pranking that went on in Mr de E's college. (Actually being awarded my degree comes in somewhere later in the top 10.)

There were prawns in the sun, naked runs, adjusting full-length mirrors to blind neighbouring colleges with the sun, and chasing plovers with vacuum cleaners. Mr de Elba's involvement was usually limited to watching these pranks from a distance, but he occasionally took part. For the pranks he left alone, he has stories!

Networked computers were a prime target. If Mr de Elba didn't like the music that was playing in a room next door, he could hack in and change the music on the neighbour's computer.

I don't know how, but with a bit of elementary hacking, keystrokes could be logged and covert chats could be carried out without the prankee's knowledge. In the resulting prank conversation, the prankee's computer appeared to have gained a mind of its own, carrying on intelligent and sometimes insulting conversations with its owner who, in total confusion, was blind to the paralytic laughter of the prankers and their friends as they typed away, giving the computer a 'voice' from the next room.

The PBX telephone systems were also hacked. It was discovered that, as well as being forwarded to a different internal number, the telephones could also be forwarded to an external number. This meant that long-distance phone calls could become free if one forwarded one's own line to the telephone number of the person one wanted to call, and one dialled oneself.

Poor unsuspecting first year students also had their phones hacked into and forwarded to -erm- phone services of ill repute, causing untold concern for protective parents calling in to check on the safety of their studious offspring.

These pranks were discovered when financial discrepancies were discovered and the telephone logs were examined. Some of the prankers were hit up for massive bills in retrospect.

I remember the time the senior tutor opened his door one morning to find that during the night, the guys had completely bricked up his door. He had to telephone for help to get out.

And there was a guy a year younger than me who was a mild-mannered studious Christian guy by day, but earned the title "The Mad Bomber" after dark due to his leet skillz with the dry ice bombs. Complaints flooded into the college administration regarding The Mad Bomber's bombs going off late at night and causing noise disturbances, both at neighbouring colleges and private residences nearby and across the river.

College Admin told The Mad Bomber to cease and desist. The Mad Bomber agreed but asked if he may just let off his last few bombs before he retired. College Admin reluctantly allowed him to do this.

They only agreed because they didn't know that 'his last few bombs' consisted of an entire floor-to-ceiling cupboard crammed full to bursting with collected Coke bottles, and he planned to buy the biggest consignment of dry ice the college had ever seen in order to fill them.

Word travelled fast that The Mad Bomber's Last Hurrah was going down that night. It started a few minutes before schedule and as I entered the grounds of the boys' college, I heard the first few booms echoing around the University, across the river and back.

I walked into the closest thing to a war zone that St Lucia has ever seen. One college guy had set up the largest speakers I'd ever seen and was playing the Mission Impossible theme music on continuous loop. It was so loud that half-way through the crazy all-in bombing frenzy, the speakers vibrated themselves off their perch and crashed down onto the floor.

The entire courtyard was a no-go zone, completely littered with schrapnel from scores of shattered Coke bottles. The bombing went on for ages.

The Mad Bomber, completely in his element, had given over the bombing duties to his Mad Minions while he busied himself making long thin trails of methylated spirits along the concrete ledges that served as hand-rails for the upper floor and setting them alight. The long thin blue walls of flame burned brightly, dribbled down the walls and through the storm water drains, trailing down to the lower floor, burning as they went.

I doubt the College Admin had this in mind when they made their "Just Your Last Few Bombs" pact.

But the prank that has me reminiscing at the moment was a game they called "Poo In Your Room." The Prankee would return home from lectures to find attached to their door a message which everyone dreaded: "Poo In Your Room." This meant, quite literally, that there was a poo hidden somewhere in the room and it was in the Prankee's best interests to find it.

I once heard of a poo being hidden in the inside of a lampshade. The Prankee had looked high and low for it, but the smell remained even though the poo hadn't been found. The poo was finally discovered because if its habit of heating up and smelling worse when the lamp had been switched on for a while.

And I only mention this now because as I walk into Sonny Ma-Jiminy's room, I get the feeling that there's

(a) something missing that should be there (i.e., a sign on the door), and
(b) something there that shouldn't be there (i.e., a poo.)

The slight hint of a smell wafting around. Slightly more noticeable when one sits on his floor. Nothing immediately visible.

The carpets were cleaned on Monday, and the smell remains.

The room is fairly free of clutter, but no poo is evident.

And still, the nagging feeling that there should be a little piece of paper tacked to the door, with scrawly handwriting proclaiming "Poo In Your Room." You can take the student out of the college, but ...

Sigh. At least he's not letting off bombs.


femina said...

Just out of curiosity... where did they get the poo for the original 'poo in your room' pranks? (Please, please say it wasn't human poo...)

Long dark hair, blue eyes said...

that is a great post. I can't help thinking it was your mild manner husband who was the "bomber"

Dee from Downunder said...

Uni's are crazy places!
Poo in your room is just "not good", shudder!
Hope you find your hidden one.

Jen said...

too funny. What a great story! I sure hope that you find the poo and soon. Maybe you should make him look for it.

Givinya De Elba said...

Femina: of course it was human poo! Sort of a Provide Your Own Poo arrangement.

LDHBE: I can reassure you that it wasn't my husband who was the bomber. It was a friend of his, a lovely bloke who had a real penchant for extreme dry ice bombing. Mr de E and I stood amazed in a room with a view of the whole thing, getting hit by sharp plastic schrapnel as it flew through the window.

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Wow.... suddenly my college days seem QUITE tame.....

Good luck with the odor.

Swift Jan said...

Wow you guys must have some awesome stories!!!
I hope you find that poo in smj's room.... How gross!

Givinya De Elba said...

I'm not sure, it might just be a pair of pants that aren't *quite* clean, but have been kicked somewhere and forgotten ... it's fairly de-cluttered though, and you'd think I'd see something like that.

Crazy Sister said...

Once Harpo pooed in the entry to his room, then closed and opened his door over the top of the mess.

Check the underside of SMJ's door.

GreenJello said...

I absolutely HATE the Unidentifiable Icky Smell from the kids' rooms. Scares me.

Mrs. Tantrum said...

Um, that depends on your definition of "bombs"!


check to make sure that they aren't any of the following in there:
- moldy food
- a crappy pull up wedged between the bed and the wall
- something hidden where "momma couldn't find it"

Not that i know about this problem or anything.

Louisa said...

So your college really lived up to the college reputation then ;) Love that you posted about this!

Cath said...

Hi Givinya!
Just found you, via a few other links of friends of friends -- Dave and I have had a good laugh at this post - Ah the memories.

Dave said to say hi to you and Dave, and he is flattered by the publicity -- especially the bit that says "mild-mannered studious Christian Guy"

Cath McLennan