By 1971 you could expect that most of the incoming freshmen class either regularly smoked dope or was open to trying it come the first Friday night someone else had some. That was the reason the Blazers gave me for offering me the job. They wanted someone who knew how to have fun – in moderation – and also maintain a decent GPA, someone who could relate to modern ways of having fun and be a good role model. (Apparently they knew a little more about me than I thought was generally known – but this was probably because Head Resident Mr. Blazer’s niece, Barb, was one of those first and only dates I previously mentioned with whom I maintained a platonic relationship all through college.)
At any rate, I took my job seriously, and was able to keep it – even after the Dean arrived back in St. Paul and was livid at the Blazer’s decision. I was already in the room, the freshmen had started moving-in, and so it was done deal. The Blazers explained to the Dean that they thought I was the perfect choice to help this incoming group of freshmen actually do some studying.
After three weeks of being the perfect RA, making friends with my charges, dropping little tidbits about how to study enough not to flunk out, and not flipping-out when they all got stoned down in Tom’s room before heading off to the Moody Blues Concert, I even tolerated Tom’s girlfriend Lisa spending the weekend after checking if it was okay with Tom’s roommate Gordy. (It was – Gordy was sleeping down the hall in Harvey’s room because Harvey’s roommate had gone back home for the weekend.) So things were good, and just about everybody seemed to like being at Hamline.
A month in, I figured it was time to let them know that I also smoked dope. So that Friday night I got down the big bong pipe from my top shelf (that Huey had made me in pottery class), didn’t put the towel underneath the door – so the distinct smell of marijuana would escape into the hallway – and waited for the first one of my charges to knock and ask for a toke . . . and waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. No one came so I smoked another huge bowl to make sure the smell was out there. No one ever knocked.
After about a half hour I decided to see what was up. I opened the door and there they all were in the TV room across from my room, wide-eyed and exclaiming what an incredible last half hour it had been:
Gordy’s wallet had been stolen and so he called the cops. Gordy’s room was down at the end of the hall and mine was the first one at the top of the stairs. The cops arrived and had to walk right past my door. They paused. One lifted a hand as if to knock; the other waved his hand as if to say “Come on, let’s do what we came here to do.” And that’s how it was in 1971. The cops took down the info they needed to write a theft report, leaving just a minute before, and didn’t even pause on their way out the dormitory to deal with a college kid smoking pot.
P.S. I am proud to say all my charges made it through freshman year and some went on to become famous contributors to making the world a better place.