I'm Thankful For Tasteless Humor and Terrible Roommates

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It's one of our favorite times of year—Thanksgiving. It's the best holiday, hands-down, because it mainly consists of eating a lot of food and then doing something fun like hanging out with family, watching football, or maybe even tossing the ol' pigskin around in the yard with brothers, sisters, kids or grandkids. Maybe we even get to meet up with old friends at a bar on Wednesday night beforehand. For others, Thanksgiving is a welcome vacation which may include boating, fishing or snow skiing, depending on where life has taken us. Regardless, Thanksgiving is a holiday dedicated to conviviality — Eat. Drink. Be merry. And then, yes, it's a time for giving thanks.

What makes your gratitude list this year?
• Family?
• Health?
• Monetary success?
• The ample Thanksgiving meal with the belly bomb stuffing and artery clogging gravy?

Of course. All obvious answers.

But did any of us put these on our list?
• Fraternity pranks, almost always involving bodily functions and/or fluids?
• Gutter jokes, like the one about the guy, his dog and the peanut butter?
• Endless tasteless humor, like the exhibitionist dude in '92 who could not keep his pants on at a party and was censured for mooning?
• The worst roommate ever, the rank '88 pledge nicknamed "Feet"?
• Or how about the intolerable guy who regularly posed on the table on his hands and knees to have his buddy light his farts in front of an audience, but lost bowel control that LAST time?

Maybe we should.

It's easy to view our fraternity experience as the utopian time in our lives where we had little to no responsibility---no mortgages or P&L's, spouses to please or kids to worry about—and concomitant limitless boundaries when it came to partying and having insane fun.

But if you allow yourself to look deeper, you can clearly see it was more:

• The gut-busting, soul-cleansing laughter that frees our minds and, as we've now learned, fights heart disease. It was actually healthy!
• Learning how to face our own fears and anxieties to develop relationships with other people in new environments, for fun or for purpose.
• Learning to take risks because we were able to fail in a safe environment.
• Succeeding in a supporting environment, so we learned the rewards of putting ourselves out there and trying hard.
• Learning what it's like to live with other people, or to make better choices about who to live with in the future.
• Gaining healthy pride and self-esteem by developing competence in leadership and the ability to make things happen, like running a house and recruiting pledges.
• Learning how to make a difference in someone's life through giving, fundraising or philanthropy.

It was an amazing learning experience, and it was so damn fun!

As you make your gratitude list for 2013, promise us you'll at least entertain putting the fraternity on your list. And then, send us stories and photos. We'll post them!

And PLEASE, get together with your old buddies--it'll make you live longer!