I like to say that all stories worth telling begin with the phrase "See this scar?" However, because this is the internet, I suggest you imagine that I've just thrust my forehead into your field of vision, pulling my eyebrow up a scooch for you to see a fine white line, less than an inch long, just above the crease.
WPI didn't have all-female dorms during my freshman year, and it was a novelty to suddenly share a floor with 50 post-adolescent boys. Not just any boys, but engineers and scientists. Coming from a household with two sisters, and as an alumna of an all female high school, I was, to say the least, unprepared.
By December I was single again, casually interested in Patrick, who lived on my floor. I was also friends with his roommate Gabriel. Pat was admittedly the meeker of the couple, but he played the groupie, egging Gabe on to grand shenanigans. Pat was the math major to Gabe's "undeclared." Gabe spent much of his time getting other people into mild trouble, and the rest deconstructing radios, computers, television sets, small animals. He fed his habit by frequenting rummage sales with a dedication and ferocity that rivaled the most frugal Minnesota housewife.
The Sea Princess was a little girl's bicycle, but now she belonged to Gabe. She was pink and white, and lavendar letters on the bar told us her name. She had a basket on the front to carry the essentials, and a 20" wheel. Gabe's legs bent at the knee and made right-angles with the floor when he mounted her. This bicycle was glorious, so, back home to room 212 she went. Gabe stuck around his room a lot the next day, and emerged in the evening, victorious. He had strapped a respectably sized motor to the back wheel in such a fashion that he didn't need to pedal. The RAs and campus police turned blind eyes away from Gabe for the Sea Princess' inaugural procession around campus. For a few days, Gabe rode his improvised moped everywhere- to class, to the bowling alley, down the bowling alleys under the disinterested glaze-gaze of the workstudy alley-guard. At some point, though, he realised that he didn't know the full potential of his new transit device. He decided that testing and optimization was in order.
Meanwhile, something easily mistaken for, but not really anything like love was blossoming between Pat and myself, and we made it a habit to sneak up to each other's rooms early in the morning, knock really loud and then go back to bed. Also, we mixed our lunch leftovers together on the tray and bet each other to eat it for a dollar. We were very sophistocated. So practical joking was a given.
One morning, I heard a peculiar thumping noise coming from the room, and being still naive and curious, I set to investigate. On Morgan 2nd, the doors were heavy, and automatically locked when shut, so it was common practice to lodge the door open with something like a brick while you were on the floor but not in your room. 212 had a boot, and the boot was in the door, meaning, visitors were welcome. So I crept up all stealthy-like and put my head against the door to spy. Suddenly, before I knew what was happening, my head cracked back against the wall on the opposite side of the hallway and my mangled glasses were somehow underneath me in the most unpleasant way. Then it started hurting. I reached up to the wet egg forming on my skull and brought back down a handful of gushy blood. It really wasn't as bad as it sounds, no hospitals, just sort of surreal.
Turns out, Gabe's idea of formal testing was to put the boot in the door, position The Sea Princess strategically in front of the door, and ram into it until it dislodged the boot. He failed repeatedly, but certainly succeeded in dislodging me. The Sea Princess was subsequently dismantled and donated to Goodwill, and I went home to my family for Christmas break with a big blue shiner.