“Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!” – Bluto, Animal House
Animal House was released in 1978 when I was 17 years old. I would venture to guess I have watched this “classic” well over a 100 times. I know every scene, every character, and every line uttered in this movie. 39 years later I still laugh, and sadly, still watch it much to the dismiss of anyone in the den with me.
Stephen Furst, the actor who played Flounder in Animal House died last week at the age of 63. He joins John Belushi (Bluto) and Douglas Kenney (Stork) as the other members of the Delta Tau Chi Fraternity that have departed this earth. Flounder was the recipient of Dean Wormer’s advice that “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” A classic line I have used, and probably received on more than one occasion.
When I was in college Animal House was the standard which all “fun” Fraternities tried to emulate, mine included. Toga parties were a quarterly occurrence as were road trips. I met the future Mrs. Ends and Beginnings on a road trip having “borrowed” my little brothers car after promising him that I wouldn’t leave town. When I showed up at a bar 150 miles away and saw him standing there after promising NOT not to drive his car very far I told him the same thing Otter told Flounder “you can’t spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You F’ed up… you trusted us!”
I had a couple of good Animal House years in college but with each passing semester I would lose Fraternity brothers who were immersed in the Animal House culture. By my junior year there were only three of us out of a pledge class of fourteen still enrolled in college. They were trying to live the life of “Fat, drunk and stupid” and professors and the parents supporting these ambitious goals (mine included) just didn’t see the value or a future in these dreams.
Heading into my junior year, and with the encouragement of the future Mrs. Ends and Beginnings and my Dad telling me that the money was getting ready to run out I buckled down, opened a book and put the toga away. The Animal House lifestyle is a young mans game. It is not conducive to surviving, or passing an 8 am class let alone trying to have a meaningful relationship with someone you might spend the next 32 years and counting with. But it was fun while it lasted and there are days that I look back now and wonder how I lived to tell about it. I still don’t know how I survived my two years of living the Animal House life, certainly I have brain cells that would tell you differently.
“Seven years of college down the drain. Might as well join the f’ing Peace Corps.” – Bluto, Animal House