Coming of Age: The Adventures of Terry Cooper

Remember moving into the dorm freshman year of college and meeting your floormates? Remember how you were ALL BIFFLES for about six days, and then you realized you only liked two of them? Remember how you stopped trying to do names after about a week, and everyone became “Hunchback” and “Guy who shaves his legs” and “Anime kid?” I’ve forgotten most of those boys over the years, but one will always be fresh in my mind. For legal purposes, let’s call him Terry Cooper.

Terry Cooper was the squarest square in Squaresville, Wyoming, a square state. He tucked in T-shirts and made his bed in his college dorm. His eyes were beady and his lips pursed. He bought plants for his room to purify the air, not because he liked plants. Terry did not have a single decorative article in his room. Terry majored in Civil Engineering, and the other civil engineers made fun of how lame he was. If Terry Cooper were a figure from Greek myth, he would be a demon named Practicality whose three heads endlessly scream “Sobriety!” “Caution!” and “Prudent Financial Management!” and who kills by citing statistics.

Terry Cooper and his roommate were both so unpleasant that we nicknamed them “Sour and Dour” and imagined a passive-aggressive Itchy and Scratchy relationship.

SOUR: Did you move the remote? Did you, Goddammit?”

DOUR: Yes. I did it because I hate hearing you breathe.
SOUR: I hope you die.
DOUR: I hope your mother dies.

SOUR: [pointing]

Our next discovery was that Dour was almost never there, because he hated Sour/Terry so much. We wondered about this at first, but then it became blindingly, archangel-descending-to-Earth-with-a-message clear. Our dorm walls were tiled, so people would leave messages for each other by the doors in dry-erase marker. Since we were a group of twenty eighteen-year-old boys, they were usually pretty salty. Terry would walk around and edit the profanity out of these, and one day he got so furious that he confronted a friend of mine about it. He knocked on the door after having edited a message I’d written, and when my friend answered, Terry, white-faced and shaking with barely suppressed rage, launched into a tirade about foul language. His last line was “Some of us were raised with CLASS!” before stomping off.

Terry was not done. Our dorm floor had the obligatory Kerouac-inspired guy who did drugs “to gain experience” instead of to get fucked up, and one day he posted a chart on his door inviting us to say how many illegal drugs we had done. Everyone had at least drunk underage, save Terry, the jewel of Lancaster County D.A.R.E. Terry’s Response read “Zero. I have legally drunk alcohol.” Underlined so we would know Terry followed the rules.

So, of course, whenever he came up in conversation someone would scream “Rules! RULES!” This wasn’t funny enough, so we started to speculate on his sex life and personal habits. We gave him an imaginary girlfriend named Matilda. Every night, she talked him into going down on her, and every night she waited until he got into position before farting right in his face. We imagined him looking up with tears in his eyes and saying, deeply hurt, “Matilda, you gave me your word!”

Eventually, this wasn’t enough either, so we decided that he had the worst case of irritable bowel syndrome in medical history. “I have to wear two pairs of Dockers shorts in case there’s an accident. I have to buy the outer pair a size larger so they will fit over the inner pair.”

Eventually, even shit jokes couldn’t mock this guy enough, so we started on child abuse. In our fantasies, young Terry carefully labored to make his mother a perfect martini, just how she liked them, and brought it to her on a spotless silver tray. Terry’s mother would take the glass, pause, and then fling the contents in Terry’s face. Every day.

We kept on like this until we stopped having to make anything up. Senior year, the ugliest girl I’ve ever seen transferred into our school. She looked like an Easter Island head in a dirty wig. She and Terry fell on each other like wolves on an ailing sheep. I wondered at the attraction until I sat near her in the cafeteria one day and overheard her say excitedly, “Guys! Come fill out these forms!” Easter Island Head was a “bisexual” “swinger” who was “into” “threesomes.” She actually used the phrase “into threesomes,” as though life were a cocaine-and-Zima fueled key party in 1993. She somehow roped Terry and some desperate or very kind-hearted woman into having a threesome. Terry was later overheard to remark, post-threesome, “I don't know what's happening to me... but I think I like it!”

The process continued. Terry now rides a motorcycle and wears a beard. He’s become an actual person, by all accounts, but I’ll always remember the beady-eyed little prig who couldn’t stand to see “fuck” written on a dorm wall.


Unknown said...

Wow...Easter Island head? I thought I'd come up with some crafty ways to call girls ugly, but you sir...you take the cake! I tip my hat.

Elliot Smilowitz said...

This was enjoyable. But uh, I forgot who this font color is. Tulane Chris? Someone else?

Elliot Smilowitz said...

Nevermind, I see the Tulane Chris tag now. Please mock me for my retardation.

Marie said...

Meggles! This blog is totally becoming 3birds1blog and you know it! I'd say this marks the beginning, unless Tulane Chris gets hit by a meteorite (please god no!).

<3 Tulane Chris and his awesome stories/perspectives

L said...

Iam from Lancaster County and think I know this Terry you speak of. He wasn't by chance Amish....or had a ridiculously low voice for being so scrawny and skinny?

Unknown said...

It'll go back to TWO birds when Chris drops out of his medical pursuits and can't get internet access while working the corner. Just a guess.

This was really funny, but I kept thinking it was going somewhere, and the ending was basically "Now, he's well adjusted." Tulane Chris can apparently make anything funny.

Also, excellent tags. As per usual.

Anonymous said...

I have a similar story about a girl on my floor freshman year. She used to steal things seemingly just because she could. We were all design students and she would run off with some one's white acrylic just because it would make their life miserable. We started openly calling her the 9th floor Clepto, which followed her all through school. I kind of felt bad about this until I saw her on the news as being arrested with her boyfriend for stealing multiple people's indenties and funding a lavish life with their credit. She may now be known as the modern day Bonnie and Clyde but she will always be the 9th floor clepto to me.

Anonymous said...

I went to a small school with an oddly large amount of home-schoolers. On move-in day, I was blasting rock and rap in my room as I unpacked and met people. That week at our first "Floor Meeting" someone actually suggested that we have a floor rule against cussing and then gave the slightest look over to my direction. I whipped my head over to him and said "Are you f*cking KIDDING?" He hung his head down and the discussion was over. If that rule was in place I wouldn't have been able to survive even one round of Halo, let alone day-to-day life, so I don't feel bad.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the culture shock of leaving Chicago to go to college in Texas. They didn't follow the rules. They were total slobs except for their starched oxford button-down shirts, jeans ironed with a crease, and cowboy boots spit-shined and lined up in the closet. Then they'd leave their chewing tobacco spit cups all around the room.

I was usually in the fetal position in the corner as George Strait blasted from the speakers.

Anonymous said...

you would have enjoyed my school. There was the girl everyone referred to as "bird girl" and she would never leave her dorm room (she was a senior, we were all freshman in a freshman dorm...) without a bird on her head like it was her hat. She had mulitple birds too. Sometimes she would switch it up to waffles, and there was an alligator one time. But the waffel with three slices of butter was my favorite. Not edible(I mean, Hello?) which is where she went very very wrong.

Sarah said...

Seconding the 3birds motion made by Marie.

Unknown said...

my freshman year roommate had a rubby ducky vibrator, took shits while i was in the shower, asked my boyfriend to get me out of the room so she could masterbate, and would "ro-bo trip" on a regular basis. sweet girl.

Brittany said...

I totally agree with the 3birds1blog. This post was my favorite this month by far.

Such fond memories of college.

Red said...

You come off as real fucking douchebag here. I'm sure your ability to funnel beer made you way cooler than he.

Anonymous said...

haHAAA! if Tulane Chris is a douche, i'm a douche. i love hating on my freshman roommate. Crazy Face got pissed because i went to bed later than her 10 pm cutoff time, flipped her shit and threw a chair at me for "stealing" all the suitemates as my friends. last i heard she ultimatum-ed her boyfriend into marrying her and is self-loathing down in texas 'cause he won't knock her up. charming girl.

Kori said...

Truely enjoyed the tag "The only people I know who swing are ugly white people" I too, LOLZed.

On a side note. I had a dorm floor full of female Terry's and wish there would have been more Easter Island heads to crack their shells.

Hails said...

sometimes I wish I went to a school in a corn field where I lived in dorms.
then I'm really glad I stayed in the city and lived in an apt.
although crazy roommates stories are just as good.

Anonymous said...

i love nothing more than a good old freshman year roommate story. they all suck

shelley said...

I thought this was going to end with the guy on t.v as a a coked out,alcoholic something or other OR/and on T.V for committing an unspeakable crime. Glad he grew a beard and drives a motorcycle instead!

Kallay said...

can i be matilda? please!?

lord, tulane chris, you're a funny dude.

i third the 3birds vote!

Lauren said...

Ha. Great story. In college, a girl down the hall of my dorm stopped into my room whilst talking about my then boyfriend. She asked who we were talking about.. and then said, "I have a man in my life too." Excited for sex stories, we listened. Then, "His name is Jesus." And that was just the beginning..

the sir said...

L -

He's not actually from Lancaster County. I moved some things around for, uh... legal reasons. But I'm glad and relieved that everyone had a Terry in their life. The scary part is that I was probably my freshman roommate's Terry:

"All he does is read, drink, talk about converting to Judaism, and have incredibly graphic sexual conversations. I don't get it."

-Tulane Chris

Anonymous said...

3 Birds, 3 Birds!

Anonymous said...

I've been looking all over for this!


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