Apocrypha: Traditions, Myths, & Legends

Diary of My Upstairs Dormmate

Illustration by Hawk Krall

By Marty Smith ’88

Leafing through some personal papers, I chanced upon the following, which appears to be the diary of a resident of MacNaughton 307 in fall 1983. Since I resided in MacNaughton 207, directly below, at the same time, I read this document with considerable interest. I present it here without further comment.

January 10: Yay! My new, 1000-watt Gallien-Krueger bass amp was finally delivered today! I reacted to this event as I often do in moments of great excitement, by beating a heavy iron bar on the floor at irregular intervals for three hours. Of course, after this I was far too tired to slide the wheelless, 600-pound rig across the room to the corner I’ve chosen for it, but I figure I can do that much, much later tonight.

January 12: Couldn’t sleep again, so I did what I always do: tied a rope to an old cinderblock and dragged it back and forth across the floor until I was exhausted. Usually, three or four hours of this puts me right to sleep, but for some reason it didn’t do the trick this time. So I gave up and sat quietly till dawn, reading Siddhartha and moodily smashing wine bottles into a 55-gallon metal barrel I keep on hand for this very purpose. 

January 15: That kid downstairs says he’s been having trouble sleeping, too. What a world!

January 16: Flamenco lesson today. I know this is an indulgence I really can’t afford, but I do enjoy it so, and everyone needs to broaden his cultural horizons, n’est-ce pas? Plus, I save some money by allowing Miguel to do the lesson at 2 a.m. to accommodate his porphyria—I figure the rest of the budget I can make up by using enormous metal frying pans in lieu of castanets.

January 19: Played the bass line to Hawkwind’s “Orgone Accumulator” for 7 hours, 32 minutes, and 29 seconds last night—a new record! It totally smashes my previous records of 6:32:07, 6:28:52, 6:04:19, 5:41:29, 5:40:30, 5:21:20, 5:15:09 and 4:55:00. Per aspera ad astra!

January 26: Thought: What sort of a God would allow people to lose their faculties and be maimed in accidents? I don’t know, but I’ll bet hosting an all-night theological debate for hard-of-hearing men with peg legs would help me figure it out.

January 31: Whew! What a party! I had no idea that a theological debate could go on for four days straight—it was like something out of Name of The Rose. I learned a lot and made a lot of new friends. My favorite is probably Gnossos, a peppery old Greek gentleman who smashes a plate on the floor whenever he makes a particularly good point, or when somebody else makes a good point, or, really, pretty much any old time he can get his hands on a plate. 

Of course, I wouldn’t want you to get the idea that it was all deadly serious; we had plenty of fun as well. I doubt I’ll soon forget the lusty, improvised rendition of “One Singular Sensation” from A Chorus Line that we managed to pull together one night. The 7 hours of continuous practice were well worth it, and if you’ve never seen 25 peg-legged men arm-in-arm doing Rockettes-style high kicks—well, you’ve never seen 23 or 24 peg-legged men fall to the floor in a tangled heap, many inexplicably wearing suits of armor. 

February 2: Saw the kid from Mac II in the mailroom today, and I have to say, he’s looking bad—sallow complexion, unshaven, dark circles around his eyes. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he was being tormented by one of those evil spirits that comes in the night and sucks out all your life force. Well, you know what’s great for driving away evil spirits: fireworks! And Chinese New Year is just around the corner! Gung Hay Fat Choy!!!


The diary ends here. It certainly explains a lot. To those of you who actually lived in MacNaughton in 1983, and who might cynically note that this reads more like my diary from that era, I have a simple explanation: Shut up.

—Author info: Marty Smith ’88 writes the “Dr. Know” column for Willamette Week and appears on the Daria, Mitch, and Ted Show with Daria Eckhardt Eliuk ’94 on the Portland radio station 105.1 FM billed as “Marty Smith: The Man Who Knows Everything.” You can be horrified by more of his writing online.