It was the springtime, and the juniors were getting prepared to usurp the power of the seniors in all but name. And the juniors get very sassy. All of them subtly subvert senior authority, and try and be as bold about their coming power as they can be. It is a great time of year. Brings out very brassy behavior. Especially in one fellow named Todd Thoele. One afternoon, at an otherwise average dinner, Todd tasked fish Trotter with standing on a chair, and shouting out at the top of his lungs, "All you Zips (seniors) REST!!!! (a term to pay attention) Because Todd Thoele just got his boots!!!" There was a few seconds of quiet pause while the seniors let this act of brash and overt expression of defiance sink in, and then the chant began, slowly at first, then gaining force and rhythm. It rang out, "Poke Todd Thoele! Poke Todd Thoele! Poke Todd Thoele!" This chant was accompanied by a steady beat of glasses. Gutsiest move I ever saw a junior pull. And I was there to see him take 'em on proudly.
In the fall, as a freshman, you find yourself often pitted in situations where upperclassmen are telling you conflicting directives. Like around halloween. When Kevin Aziz made reference to Mike Watson's fading senior presence...like a ghost (a senior word and concept). And Mr. Watson grabs fish Hay to punish Mr. Aziz. Enter fish Hay. Directed by Mr. Watson to have Mr. Aziz do heavy exercise in full Midnights (a nice uniform), I was forced to command him to do push-ups. Well, then Watson leaves. And Kevin looks up and says, "Who is gonna be here next year Hay?" How do I deal with that. He as much as threatened me a year ahead. Fortunately, Mr. Watson hadn't gone far, and his voice came through the door, "I heard that Kevin, Smoke him Hay!" Lose/lose situation. So I did what any freshman does in such a situation. I punished him a reasonable amount without becoming excessive. And he ended up forgetting the whole incident by the time the next year rolled around. Very Cool...
And then there was James Leighman. He did a very cool thing. He took fish Crowe one day and dressed him up in full senior regalia. Knee high $500 Italian leather boots and all. Then he accompanied fish Crowe around and let him masquerade as a senior for a day. Corps Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshman were treating him like a real senior. I had never seen fish Crowe as happy as he was when he came back from that experience. He was sky high motivated for a month. Ironically, Donny Crowe never wore senior boots of his own. He failed out of A&M. But, for that day, James Leighman gave him the experience of what it feels like to be a Zip in the Aggie Band, and it is unmatched.
Finally, there is the story of Alan Blackmon, Aggie Band Commander. One day after drill, I was a freshman at his table as he was also in B-Company. After eating, he leaned back in his Duncan Dining Hall chair, and the head waiter, Oscar Stout, kicked the chair out from under him, and Mr. Blackmon fell to the ground. Nick Luggerio was outraged. "Freshman!" he cried, "Are you gonna let him get away with insulting the Aggie Band Commander?" So we popped up to exact retribution. But Oscar wisely made himself scarce. But his conscience got the better of him, and he came back to apologize. And he paid. I was the second freshman to jump him, and regretted it. What a pile-up. And I had difficulty breathing. Well we took his clothes with the exception of his boxers, then we let him go...humiliated. And he had to run Pony Express to get his clothes back. And then Nader Baha couldn't find the second Nike shoe. So we couldn't return Oscar's clothes even though he did what we asked. So he started to become rightfully indignant. We looked all over to no avail. Then we walk in from drill to find no tables in the band section of the dining hall. Only a large banner that read, "No shoes, No pants, No Tables, No donuts". So we ate on the floor....and Nader found the shoe.