Editor's Note: The following piece is satire.
Flocking to the UCLA Zeta Nu Pi house in droves, hundreds of students consumed nineteen kegs of Old Milwaukee beer and over twenty cases each of Southern Comfort and Jagermeister Liqueur yesterday, capping off the final day of the KCRW 2010 Winter Subscription Drive.
"Back when I was a sophomore in '08," said senior Finance major and former Z.N.P. pledge master Jason Vanderwal, "one of my fraternity brothers busted into my room and said, 'Dude, there's some old crazy chick on the radio right now balling listeners out for not donating money to her station.' And I was all: yeah, right. So then, he turns on my radio to this weird station, and there's this old lady throwing a fit on live radio."
The woman to whom Vanderwal refers is Ruth Seymour, the retiring General Manager of the Santa Monica-based KCRW public radio station, who frequently admonishes the more apathetic listeners for not pulling their own weight during pledge week.
"Sitting there, listening to all that drama, it was seriously better than "Bum Fights," gushed Dave Stiles, one of Vanderwal's former housemates, adding, "Me and Jason told all the others right away, and before you knew it, there's twenty of us, all huddled around the radio like it's the middle of the 1800s or something."
Added Vanderwal, "Next thing you know, somebody starts passing around a bong full of chronic and a bottle of NyQuil, and the rest is history."
According to Vanderwal, the KCRW pledge drive became a one-week hedonistic window during which students from across UCLA's expansive network of fraternities and sororities flocked to the Z.N.P. house to play, according to Janice Wenh, now a Berkley graduate student, "basically a non-stop week-long game of quarters."
Vanderwal explained the rules of the pledge drive. "Every time that old chick (Seymour) starts ranting at the audience for being a bunch of freeloaders, we have to take a drink. We also drink whenever one of the pledge M.C.s says something awkward enough to lead to at least five seconds of dead air."
Indeed, during the 2008 pledge drive, after veteran journalist Warren Olney, pitching the most recent Macbook Pro, described the device as "refined," his on-air counterpart, Publicity Director Sarah Spitz, remarked: "Warren, your ass is refined. I know it, you know it, and every red-blooded woman in this studio knows it."
Spitz was reprimanded and temporarily suspended.
And in a prolonged on-air lull during a disappointing 2009 pledge drive that was marred by the onset of a foundering economy, Olney was chastised by station executives for remarking that he hadn't felt so discouraged since, "that idiot moved into my house with my wife and my children. Actually, that's not entirely true: I was more disappointed when my body rejected the calf implants."
As the segment producer hastily cut to commercial, Olney was heard screaming, "He's not your Daddy, kids!"
Said Vanderwal, "We also have to take a drink any time that Matt Holzman guy goes on the air and calls a new subscriber up to tell them they've won a sweepstakes prize - even though it's clear from their reaction that they already own one. It actually happens pretty often."
Proving Vanderwal's point, less than ten minutes later, the station broadcast a pre-recorded call from Holzman to Wendy Singer, a subscriber from Silver Lake, to inform her of her good fortune - a call that was then transcribed for this report.
Holzman: "Is this Wendy?"
Singer: "Um, yeah. Who's this?
Holzman: "This is Matt Holzman, from KCRW. Do you -
Holzman: "Hey to you, Wendy! Do you know why I'm calling?"
Singer: "Because I won the Prius."
Holzman: "That's right! You won a 2010 Toyota Prius! Can you believe it? Wendy?"
Singer: "Hey, can I call you back? I'm right in the middle of these deviled eggs."
Holzman: "Well, Wendy, guess what? You'll be able to eat those deviled eggs in a stylish, sustainable way when you're tooling around L.A. in your brand new Prius!"
Singer: (lengthy pause) Is there a cash option?"
"And then, "continued Vanderwal, "of course, we have to take two drinks whenever any of the announcers mess up the names of tech gadgets."
Both Vanderwal and Wenh agreed it was common to hear most of the station's elder pledge drive facilitators mislabel tech-based prize giveaways as "Mactops," "ePods," and "M-3-4 Players."
"Except for Ruth Seymour," added Wenh, whom, she said, referred to iPods on-air as "Those little jack-ass hunks of plastic noise."
"Lastly," concluded Vanderwal, "we used to drink whenever they'd announce a premium that, like, 98 percent of society can't afford. But we got rid of this one, because it landed too many people in the E.R."
Wenh acknowledged the imprudence of the 98 percent rule as she struggled to recall the events that lead to the near fatality of her closest friend, Lee, during the pledge drive of 2008.
"We were all huddled around the radio with our beers, listening to Jason Bentley and Anne Litt reel off one high-end premium after the next: First, it was the Spa Montage luxury getaway for two for a six hundred dollar pledge; then, fully-catered box seats for Simon and Garfunkel at the Hollywood Bowl for three hundred; then an all-inclusive wine-tasting package in Santa Barbara for six-fifty. And the next thing I know, I look down and see Lee lying there on the floor, white as a ghost and totally unconscious, beside an empty case of Zima."
Weeping softly, Wenh added, "I didn't even know they made Zimas after 1994."
When asked if he would continue to frequent his old Zeta Nu Pi house during KCRW pledge week after he graduates this spring, Vanderwal was emphatic. "Absolutely not. It was fun while I was there, but it's time to grow up and move on."
Asked about his plans for the future, he responded, "Lingerie football league commissioner. But that's big picture stuff. For now, I'll just keep selling weed and mowing lawns."
This post is satire.