Thursday, February 24, 2011

The end of Xanadu

Xanadu? Yeah, I lived there. Many, sort of wild memories. I loved the place, but I had to leave Ann Arbor, so I had to leave Xanadu too. Many great characters too. And the little intrigues in the house, like the John Adam's Memorial Closet, and the Death Patrol...... Sigh.....

What ever happened to the place? It was sold back into the Greek system. Last time I was home and checked, it was a frat or sorority, I didn't look close enough to determine which. What ever happened to the place? I killed it.

Say what? Luther would tell you the guy at the Detroit paper killed it. It happened at that last house meeting he (the writer) attended. Well, it is true, Luther came up to me after that house meeting and asked me to do something, and I asked him what I was supposed to do. Luther had watched me take the podium and tell the other members that they were doing something they'd really regret, and it is true that Janet Marquart, who was from here, called in March and said, "You were right, everything you said would happen, happened." Sigh..... Being right and three bucks will get you a plain coffee downtown.

What did I really do that was so bad? Why was it me, not the guy from the Detroit paper? I'll tell you: One day in the dining room, Scott Strahl was standing around with some other people, and I complained bitterly to him that Luther was an absolute idiot. Luther was an absolute idiot BECAUSE, if somebody moved out owing the house money, Luther would simply let them go. There would be no significant effort made to collect the money. So, why should anybody pay their rent the last semester they were there? They shouldn't of course! Only a fool would pay money if there was no consequence for not paying.

I knew immediately that I'd screwed up. How many people heard me quoted, and tried it out. And after it was seen to be true, it must have gotten really bad. At first a few people would stiff the house for a few hundred, and the percentage would increase every semester. Bad jig jig, as they'd say here on Fraternity Row.

I made that unfortunate (but true) comment about 3 weeks before I was to leave Ann Arbor forever. I wouldn't be around to apply peer pressure to dead beats. I wouldn't be around to que the office in on special problems so we could cut the loss's. But you always thought I was a bad influence anyway, didn't you Luther?

The only choice the organization would have would be to sell the place back to the Greeks, which is exactly what they did.

God, did I do a stupid thing. Luther do you hear me. And you did just as stupid a thing buddy. Didn't you understand that sooner or later somebody would see it and exploit it. It was just your own laziness, you didn't feel like going and doing the running around required to win the case and judgment you couldn't collect. You could run your own rental property that way, but not an organization with over 600 members.

At the time, Luther was the head salaried administrator of the organization, and he had an office down in the student union. He's long since retired. The Admiral used to do the wiring in his rental properties, so I knew more about him that most of did. Cryptic? You betcha, Xanadu and Bag End are worth an entire other blog, AND do I want to get sued for remembering the truth? No, I'll pass.

PS. Thanks John Jerko for being an honest guy.

PPS. The people, couple, I was complaining about was Tim and Erica. Erica was this little airhead who was, a sophomore or junior. Tim was ten years older than her. Once they started living in the same room, both of them stopped paying. They lived off the money her mom sent every month for her rent and expenses. Tim was supposedly in the comic book publishing business, but he was living off her and doing nothing. I watched them get farther and farther behind. Tim tried to tell me he'd had a heart attack, so he couldn't pay me the money he owed me. I told him that what he owed the house was the house's business, but money owed to me was my business, and he was expected to pay. I was very diplomatic, and he was very....... I don't know... I never mentioned a consequence, but I'm sure he imagined one. He was a pretty wimpy guy. He paid me a week later, I thanked him, and told him to never knock on my door again. An image I will never erase from my memory was Erica looking lovingly at a new blouse in the store dust wrapper, as she cruised through the front door with it. The rest of us paid for that blouse.

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