Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Blue Hose

 I have seen a lot of movies in my life.  I guess you could say that I am a movie buff.  I haven't seen every movie, but I would estimate that the movies I have seen are in the thousands.  There are some movies that I want to see, but haven't for some reason.  In the Fall of 1974, one of those movies I had not seen was something called "Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round".  PC was showing that movie for students one night, and I thought it was a great chance to see it.
 The room was only sparsely filled.  It was me and some football players with their girlfriends.  I wanted to watch the movie.  They came to cut-up.  They had water pistols and some might have been drunk.  They caused such a ruckus that I couldn't hear the film.  I got mad and left.
 As I have talked about before, I had a place in the school newspaper for my letters to the editor.  They were something of a staple for the paper.  When I didn't write using my name, I used a pseudonym.  No one was supposed to know that the fake name was me, except for the editor and asst. editor.  I turned in a letter criticizing the football team and its players.  The letter questioned the IQ of the players.  It was pretty bad.  I used the pseudonym.  It was printed the next week.  The football team at PC was revered.  Not because they won games, because they didn't win many, but because sports was the number-one draw to the school, and they made a lot of money for the school.  No one dared criticize the players or coaches. 
 After the letter was published, the coaches and players wanted to know who wrote it.  The editor said he wasn't going to say.  Apparently, the asst. editor spilled the beans.  The team had a meeting and decided to put a "contract" out on my life.  Word came to me that I could go to class or meals without retribution, but any other time that I was outside, there would be trouble.  And there was.
 One person taped the paper to my dorm room door and set it on fire.  It burned a bit of my door, but someone put the fire out before it got worse.  Someone threw a lit firecracker under my door, while I was sleeping.  It got so bad that I wrote a letter to the security dept., asking them to insure my safety.  They didn't do anything.  I guess they sided with the team.  I also wrote letters to both the administration and the coach in which I denied writing the letter to the editor.  That didn't seem to work either.  So, I left school for a week.
 I went to Greenville and stayed with a couple of friends, hoping all of this would blow over.  I missed two mid-term exams in Shakespeare and Modern Poetry.  I ended up failing both classes.  I came back to school and wrote a letter of apology to the coach.  I admitted that I wrote the letter.  They had another team meeting and called off the "contract", but there was a condition.  I was to attend all home games, and they would assign a seat for me in the stands.  If they didn't see me sitting there, the retribution would start up again.  So, I agreed to the "punishment" of sitting in the stands, and watching PC lose, but it was worth it to get on with my life.  The letters continued after that ordeal, but I was much more careful what I wrote.  Freedom of the Press can be dangerous.  I proved that.

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