Back before there was a JoePa -- when he was known simply as Joe -- and back when the Beav held only 60,000 and was known as the biggest all-steel Beaver in the world, there were the apathetic mid-1970s at Penn State University.
It was just after the Vietnam War and Watergate, an uneventful time politically on campuses across the nation. If you wanted excitement, you had to create your own. And that we did.
Mostly we pulled off tame stuff such as dessert-eating contests, streaking naked in the quad and lobbing wet toilet-paper bombs known as smegs. But we were destructive, too, dropping a piano down an elevator shaft and indiscriminately pulling people off elevators and dunking them in bathtubs.
It is why, three decades later, I need to come clean. It's a mea culpa not only for the antics of my friends and me, but also for the misdeeds of the entire classes of, oh, 1976, '77 and '78 at Penn State.
We did some bad stuff, folks, and it's time to clear the conscience and fess up to our highjinks -- especially now that my son Kevin is a freshman on campus.
So, herewith a Nittany litany of Seventies' subterfuge, much of it courtesy of the boys of East Halls' Geary Hall -- my dorm -- which I am proud to say led in damages three of my four years in State College, or so we were told:
* The night of 101 desserts: A four-man team ate 101 desserts one night at Johnston Dining Hall. We had an official scorekeeper, cheerleaders and a freshman anchor who reveled in putting ketchup on his pineapple slices before scarfing them down. That 101 mark still must be a Penn State record -- and if you're going to try to beat it, remember this rule: All team members first must eat an entire entrÃ©e, potato and vegetable before starting on the desserts.
* Bathtub dunking: In the 1970s, the ratio of men to women at Penn State was 3-to-1. For guys, it meant for a lot of date-less Saturday nights. So we compensated on weekend nights by randomly pulling people off the dorm elevator and immersing them in a bathtub full of cold water. (We were considerate enough to allow them to first remove their wallets and shoes.)
*Throwing smegs: A smeg is a wet ball of toilet paper mushy enough to splat, yet with enough consistency to be thrown long distances without falling apart. We hurled them out of our sixth-floor windows, one time smacking a pizza out of the arms of a guy walking in the quad and another time landing one on top of the head of a resident assistant. But mostly we just pelted the neighboring dorm with 'em.
*The Packer Piano Plunge: Very likely still the single worst act of dorm destruction in Penn State history, and you have to give credit to the boys in Packer Hall. Those guys stuffed the ground-floor piano --back then every dorm had one -- onto the elevator and rode it up, probably to the sixth floor. They unloaded the piano on the sixth floor and took the empty elevator up to the seventh floor and held it there. Then they went back to the sixth floor, pried open the elevator doors and dumped that piano, ivories and all, down the shaft.
*The Funnelator: Hand-built with surgical tubing and a large plastic funnel, the Funnelator was a Hammond Building-sized water-balloon launcher that took three guys to operate. We would launch water balloons from atop Geary Hall at unsuspecting students walking in the quad below. The Funnelator was powerful enough to fire a water balloon completely across the quad and into the side of Curtin Hall. And when women were sunning atop Curtin, we would blast those puppies onto the roof over there, startling the sun-bathers. I don't think we ever had any direct hits, and you couldn't launch more than about five balloons at a time before someone got wise and called the authorities. But it was ridiculously funny.
*Perversion excursions on campus: You can look it up somewhere, I guess. But it's true: The Penn State student government in the 1970s sponsored the showing of porn movies on campus to raise money.
*Quotes on the White Building: Penn State insisted on using the full name -- Mary Beaver White Building -- on the outside of the White Building, which back then primarily was used for women's athletics and women's phys ed classes. And that's why most every fall somebody would take white paint and dab large quotes around the name "Beaver" so that it would read Mary "Beaver" White Building. Being such a slow bureaucracy -- is that redundant? -- it would take Penn State until Christmas break to remove the quotes.
I could go on. Our house -- Jefferson House -- never lost a water fight (being on the sixth and seventh floors, we had gravity on our side). Of course, we dabbled in streaking, a national collegiate fad. And back then it was no problem plunking a keg of beer in the study lounge or in the bathroom tub and throwing a big party in your dorm.
And, most importantly, we didn't know the g--damn words to the alma mater. Still don't. Never will.
So, Penn State, count this as our official declaration of guilt.
But I have no regrets.
Well, only one: Despite enlisting the help of several engineering students and even casing the place for a week, we never could steal that big bell embedded in concrete outside the Wagner Building.
Bill Kline is a 1977 graduate of Penn State and a former sports writer for The Daily Collegian. He is currently the sports editor of The Morning Call in Allentown, where, just for fun, he writes a blog about Penn State football. His e-mail address is email@example.com.