>>> The Rollercoaster of Drama
By staff writer Simonne Cullen
June 27, 2004

During the course of your collegiate life you will endure anywhere between 10 and 20 fire alarms. The good news? You no longer have to line up according to height like in high school and elementary school, where you slyly realized that the tallest kid in class would burn to death first if there was a real fire, leaving you just enough time to get out. The bad news? The only people trained and ready for any scheduled fire alarm are the R.A.'s. Everyone else will have some aspect of their life exposed for at least 15 minutes. And scheduled fire alarms are the least of your worries.

Perhaps the most inconvenient fire alarms are the ones caused by complete and utter stupidity. Is it even remotely possible for you freshman to learn how to make a bag of popcorn without burning it? Every single year there has been one dumb girl (usually pre-med) on my floor that has caused a simple microwaveable bag of popcorn to combust into a small but never the less impressive fire. No wonder France thinks we're stupid. We can't even microwave popcorn without blowing something up. Stick to ramen or Easy Mac people, it's pretty hard to fuck those up.

Guys aren't too smart either, but their stupidity spans four years rather than one. I've seen guys run out of bowls and instead of washing it quick to use it they'll take one of those red plastic beer pong cups, stick their instant oatmeal in it, and then stick it in the microwave. And if you want to eat melted plastic that's fine with me, but don't shoot scornful looks to anyone who tries to stop you or attempt to reason with them like you're the smarter one just because you're older. “Don't worry Simonne, if I leave in there for five seconds at a time it won't melt in with my food. I've got it all under control, don't worry you're pretty little head.” This is what eating melted plastic will do: turn people with any potential into head-patting morons.

Late-night, dead-of-winter fire alarms pose the ultimate risk-taking questions. Do I stay in my nice warm bed and potentially burn to death or do I venture into the frozen tundra (also known in the summer as the dorm's parking lot) in my boxers, flip-flops, and winter coat? Anyone who lives in Wisconsin knows that we're not moving from the bed. A fireman could come banging on our door demanding that we need to evacuate and we'll say, “No thanks officer we're going to take our chances with the fire. Actually if you could do my roommate and I a favor and redirect the fire towards outside that'd be stellar. Maybe it could melt the snow and we'd have a snowless path to walk to class on. Thanks buddy. I've got an 8:30.”

In small schools fire alarms are the foundation of really good gossip because you know who lives in your dorm, and you can see who everyone is hooking up with. The hooker-uppers always try to look discreet by standing out there solemnly without saying a word to anyone. Who do these people think they're fooling? No one. “Oh so THAT'S who Kevin's hooking up with now. Interesting. He was hooking up with her best friend last fire alarm. My, how things have changed in the last two weeks.”

Then there's always the girl who acts like she's on the 6 o'clock news and knows exactly what went down and what action is being taken to remedy the situation. “Well I was there when the alarm went off.” Of course you were you dumb mother fucker we all were. She continues to babble on to anyone that will listen and the only people paying attention are the dumb freshman who are looking for anyone taking the position of authority for comfort.

Ever been in a frat house when he fire alarm went off and your man (who was probably on top of you at the time) didn't know what to do? This is a super-chaotic scenario that looks more like it belongs in a National Lampoon movie. If the fire alarm goes off in a frat house chances are there usually IS a small fire somewhere. Usually a frozen pizza burning in the oven, a lit cigarette got lost in the couch, or the traditional naked bonfire in the middle of the living room that got a smidgen out of control. Whatever the case just make sure you leave wearing something destroyable (do not exit the room wearing formal wear or Prada) because the overhead sprinklers will go off eventually and there's always one hero with a fire extinguisher who will spray anything in his line of sight. Including people. So by the end you're tired and wet, but not in the sense you originally intended.

Standing out there with your frat man while the house is being secured by firemen is always fun to be a part of. And by fun I mean watching someone in an extremelyhumorous situation. Actually being there in person ISN'T. It's great to watch your boyfriend's frat brothers throw him high fives while you're standing right next to him. Or wearing their shirts around their heads as they cheer the firemen on and scream “SAVE OUR BEER! SAVE OUR BEER! SAVE OUR BEER!”

Definitely the most hilarious sight during an evacuation this year was the arbitrary fire caused by a drunk senior who burned ramen noodles. I swung open the door to the common room to see my roommate flailing to the bathroom topless, and her boyfriend hiding underneath a sheet on the couch. Then my other roommate emerged from his room, baseball bat in hand, swinging at our room's personal blaring alarm like stubborn piñata. After smelling smoke, we figured it was probably best to just leave.

So I race up the stairs while everyone else took the elevator. (Nice to know those huge signs reminding people to use the stairwell signs in case of fire really had an impact on us.) So there I am sitting in front of the dorm with a bunch of drunk seniors and all of a sudden my roommate's boyfriend makes an entrance in traditional Euro-trash style, dress only in boxers, a bandana around his neck, and a cowboy hat. No shoes, no shirt, no dignity. Of course, it's May and it's still only 30 degrees out so he sobers up quickly and gets cold. After multiple requests from the sober half of the population for him to put something on, I mercifully gave him my blanket to warm up. Needless to say, that blanket was later burned…in the next microwave popcorn fire of course.