Double Secret Probation and other really terrible problems

(This post has been in archives since March, given the events of this past week, I think it’s OK to publish now)

I’m sitting in my kitchen right now, enjoying a snow day, and wondering how in the hell the last week actually happened!!! I’ve seen a lot in the last 12 years working at the frat house, and I’ve seen quite a bit of trouble come my boy’s way- both deserved and not.  But I never thought I’d experience anything like the last week!!  Let me go back- all the way back to when I interviewed for the job of Chef at KA.  During the interview process I was told, rather casually, that the house had an “occupancy” issue.  Not know exactly what this meant, I assumed, rightfully so, that the occupants were the problem.  While that was most certainly true, what was meant was that there were not enough guys living in the house.  You can’t have too few people living in a frat house for too long, or they ask you all to leave.  (This theme of being asked to leave will repeat itself a few more times).  That was my first encounter (first of many, many) with the fact that the esteemed university, can, at pretty much any time, find a reason to kick you out.  Off the hill, as we say.  Bye, you no longer exist.  In my dozen years I’ve seen about a dozen houses go bye bye and I’ve been around so long that I’ve seen some finish out their punishment (a banishment time for most) and actually return.  I first heard the word “probation” as it pertains to the house a couple of weeks after starting -“we’re on probation”.  For some reason, I can’t recall asking what they had done to deserve this probation.  That’s probably because it only took a few days to realize that these guys could be in trouble all the time if anyone was actually paying attention.

Over the course of the next few years, we were on and off probation and it mostly seemed like a small pain in the ass. No parties on the hill, no this, no that, nothing that actually got in the way of having fun and generally being fools.  Until- the first time we got double secret probation!!  Let me just say that this was one of those times that my guys actually deserved the punishment they got, but I still felt soooo bad for them. So, double secret probation at this esteemed University is actually called “deferred dissolution” and it means ” we really want you to go, but we have to make it look like we are giving you a chance to reform and stay here”. During DD, which is usually 2 or 3 semesters, the house, even the 21 year olds- and worse yet- even the chef!! must be dry- no alcohol at all.  No fun.  It’s a really tough time at a frat house.  One violation and you’re gone.  Well, we survived that first double secret probation like champs.  And had a nice run of a trouble-free (almost completely) time where stupidity and foolish behavior once again ruled the day. Penne Alla Vodka was returned, Sunday wine day became a thing again -the best and only good thing about working on a Sunday, and all was right with house.  Until a couple of years later, when some really drunk Sorority girl (I like to lovingly call these “ladies” ” sorostitutes” – lots more on that another time) decided to crash a KA outdoor party and land head first into a rock after attempting a slip and slide.  Slip and Slides, by the way, are another reason you can get kicked off the hill.  Just to let you know how serious this situation was, one of my boys, said the following to me “I took one look at her, ran to my room and grabbed my bible”. (The girl was fine, BTW, but my guys moved her and that’s what they got in trouble for. ) My very first thought was “Wow! One of this kids actually has a bible!”  I digress.  This incident lead to another DD.  No more fun for a while.  There were plenty of other minor transgressions in the years following this, but nothing NOTHING compares to what happened during pledging this year.

There’s an unwritten code in a frat house, maybe it’s even written, maybe it’s written in blood, I have no idea, but the code is this- you protect your brothers and your brotherhood and your house.  Period. It’s a good code, even though there have been plenty of times I wish someone would have broken it, plenty of times the entire house suffered with no meals or a crying or ranting chef because no one would sell out the one guy responsible for creating a huge problem.  It’s a good code.  So, this year, when the code was broken in a way that really broke KA, it was astounding.  I’ll be brief here, because I think the code-breaker may have problems I should not speculate about, but suffice it to say, one of our own went to the school and complained about the pledging process. Now, we have a reputation on the hill for a pretty soft pledging process, but this kid thought the pledges weren’t getting enough sleep!! The University had us in the crosshairs for hazing- the big “H”, no one survives a hazing charge. Double Secret Probation looked good at that point.  What we got was a new, Double Secret probation what I’m calling ” We Triple Dare You”  Three semesters of being dry- on and OFF campus.  That’s a lot of dry.

Well, most of you know how this part of the story ends, and if you don’t stay tuned, I try to keep these posts short, but there are some very long stories to come.  And to the code breaker, you’re a rat.

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