Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cretins, arpeggios, and assholes...

A cretin...

Last night, a dear old friend of mine, Donna, reminded me of someone we both knew when we were in college. I don't want to name names… because there's just no telling who reads this blog.  But I have to admit, I about died laughing when my old friend posted this photo on my Facebook timeline.  It's a picture of a cretin.  A cretin is defined as an extremely stupid, obtuse, or mentally defective person.

When we were sophomores in college, Donna and I lived just down the hall from a tall, thin, obnoxious guy on the golf team.  I'll call him Steve, though that's not his real name.  Steve had divorced parents.  One lived in Virginia and the other lived in Florida.  I think perhaps his parents' divorce turned him very bitter because he acted like someone who was not loved enough, yet had all the material possessions he could ever want.  Steve apparently spent a lot of time with the parent from Florida and was supposedly very good at golf, hence his spot on the golf team.  The Florida parent also supposedly had a lot of money, which Steve flaunted a lot, usually in the form of ugly golf shirts.

I didn't really get along with Steve when we first met during our freshman year.  He was loud, rude, and kind of mean to me and other people.  But he was roommates with one of my best friends in college, (who happened to be a guy).  I had to endure Steve quite often and he was generally downright uncivil to me.  I remember him actually saying he hated me, though he said it in a cretinous way that only made me laugh.  

The following year, Steve lived with two of my male friends, including the friend who had lived with him freshman year.  Donna and I were suite mates that year and we used to hang out with other people who lived on our hall.  Because we were both friends with Steve's roommates, Steve was among the people we saw a lot, even though he was a bit of an ass.  He spoke like a neanderthal; his voice had kind of a snotty, sing-song cadence to it, which he'd couple with a sarcastic laugh that sounded like an arpeggio.  I remember he used to refer to his roommates, not by their names, but by calling them "roooooommate" in a way that sounded profoundly moronic.  Donna and I used to make fun of his laugh and his speech pattern, only because he was such a mean-spirited jerk.

Steve's laugh went "Ha ha ha HA ha ha ha…"

Although Steve was not very nice to a lot of people, he did have a steady girlfriend.  She was from a small town in the extreme southwestern tip of Virginia, very close to Tennessee and Kentucky.  She was a little older than we were and Steve appeared to love her dearly.  She was pretty much the only person I ever saw him treat with the slightest modicum of respect.  Somehow, they broke up temporarily during our sophomore year.  Steve then started dating one of Donna's sorority sisters, which meant that he was hanging around and annoying her even more than usual.

Donna noted the shitty way he treated her sorority sister and said Steve was a cretin.  One night, after one too many sloe gin fizzes, Donna and I made up new lyrics to the Harry Belafonte song, "Mama Look A Boo Boo"…


The chorus went "Steve M is a cretin, they shout!"

Later that evening, Donna drew a hilarious picture of Steve on the whiteboard that hung on my door.  I wish I had taken a photo of it.  It was classic.  Basically, she drew a tall, thin, Fred Flintstone looking character holding a golf bag and a giant club, and dragging her sorority sister by the hair.  

So last night, when Donna posted the picture of the cretin, she reminded me of that song we made up and the picture she drew.  Then she said, the cretin had the same sour facial expression our old hall mate had.  She added that she thought the cretin was cute.  I added that he obviously needs a hug, too.  Maybe that's what Steve needed too.  He was perpetually sullen and ill-tempered.

I seem to remember a lot of "incidents" over the first two years of my college career that involved "Steve".  Steve was reputed to be a bit of a racist and would use the most appalling racist epithets when speaking about people of color.  There was another guy who lived on our hall who happened to have the same first name as Steve did, only he was a black guy.  Neither Steve was particularly pleasant to hang out with, as they both seemed to have massive chips on their shoulders about one thing or another.  But one time, the two of them got into a fight.  My old friend, who was Steve's hapless roommate, came running to my room one time shouting "Knotty! Black Steve and white Steve are having a fight!"  I could hear them down the hall, yelling at each other.  I'm not sure any punches were thrown and I don't remember them getting into any trouble with the college's administration.  But I remember the altercation like it happened yesterday.

I also remember when Steve got back together with his college girlfriend.  He dumped Donna's sorority sister in a rather unkind way, if memory serves me right.  They hadn't dated for that long, which is no doubt a blessing for the jilted lass.  Steve was a jerk and he treated that young woman like a consolation prize.  He really wanted his old girlfriend and the two did end up marrying and moving to her hometown in the coal mine country of Virginia.  He's probably a big man in that town by now.  Anyway, Steve celebrated getting back with his girlfriend by buying a bottle of Freixenet, a Spanish cava readily available in most grocery stores.  Given the fact that he usually drank cheap beer along with the rest of us, that seemed like quite a gesture of celebration.  I remember how he doused himself in Obsession for Men and strutted around like a cock on the walk…  emphasis on the word "cock".

Steve was mostly only nice to people when they had something he wanted.  Only then, would he be the slightest bit respectful to them.  I was probably nicer to him than I should have been.  I probably should have told him to fuck off when he'd ask me to type papers for him or would want to borrow my CDs.  He was a music lover and we had some similar tastes in tunes.  He was still a colossal asshole, though.

Steve could have been on "Asshole, Jackoff, Scumbag"...

Perhaps you really needed to "be there" to truly get this post…  I just thought it was so funny that over twenty years later, my old friend could post a photo of a cretin accompanied by a refrain from a popular song and bring back so many hilarious yet horrifying memories...  

Adding this video because it's just plain cool…  You could say Steve's laughter and speech pattern was kind of like an arpeggio from hell...


  1. If the cretin were Mormon I'd be sure he was a relative on my dad's side.

    1. I think he was a Baptist. He was definitely a Protestant of some sort. This is not a very nice post, but it was just so funny when Donna posted that photo.


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