Sunday, October 21, 2007

Memories of Pledging: A Phi Beta Sigma Story

I have a number of funny pledging stories from my experience and the experience of others. As some of you know I was once a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. I pledged Sigma during the Fall 1996 semester at the Dangerous Delta Theta Chapter at Prairie View A&M University. I stopped being involved in Sigma around 2002 to 2003 when I decided I wanted to be religious. As a returning Jew, I chose not to stay involved in Sigma for complex reasons that I will discuss another day.

Pictures of my time as a Sigma can be found here. I have only a few there at the moment, but I will add more later this week.

One semester I went to visit some of my fraternity brothers at a nearby Texas college. I liked hanging out that chapter because they were down to earth and studious. So I stopped by my fraternity brother Jason's apartment and we sat around talking. All of a sudden a group of guys I didn't know walked in, followed a few minutes later by another of group of guys. When they saw that I was wearing a Sigma shirt they looked down towards the floor and went into another room. I asked Jason, Hey what was that about? Jason said, Oh nothing. So with a puzzled look I kept talking. Then more members of Sigma came in and we said our hellos. Then the group of guys I didn't know came out wearing T-Shirts and jeans i.e. the classic sign that they were pledges. They then lined up from shortest to tallest. I turned to Jason and said, "I didn't know you guys were pledging guys this semsester." Jason told me that they wanted to keep it secret, but because they knew they could trust me they didn't mind me being there.

For those of you who have never pledged there are some elements of it that you must be brought up to speed on. Pledging an African American fraternity intells acts of lining up similar to a military unit. There is also a situation where if one pledge doesn't know something none of them should know it. If one pledge knows something they should all know it. Often the pledge process invovles the pledges taking orders, doing silly things, and reciting history. In many cases pledging intells paddling pledges for mistakes and many times paddling for no reason at all. I went through this type of pledging when I joined Sigma, and I vowed to never paddle anyone when I had an opportunity to pledge someone. I came through not feeling close to only a few of my line brothers, and not wanting to be to close to the guys who were there just to paddle us.

So back to this group of pledges and what was funny about them. The good thing for them was that the Sigmas at that school did not paddle people. They of course did the funny stuff and the history quizzing, but no paddling so I knew I was going to enjoy this. The first thing was to introduce myself to the pledges. When this is done the pledges have to create a greeting for each other the members. The better the greeting the more that member will leave you alone. So they had 5 minutes to come up with a greeting for me. The greeting they came up with for me was really bad. So as punishment I made them do something silly. I made them come up with a Kung Fu TV show that was dubbed. I also wanted commericals and they had 10 minutes to do it. They went into another room and they came up with a funny and original Kung Fu movie conrcerning stolen rice cakes. One guy in the background did all the voices while the others acted out parts while lipsyncing off que, as a laugh to the bad dubbing of many Kung Fu movies. There was even a bird and a squirell in their TV show. At one point of the pledges amazed us all by doing a sliding leg sweep similar to Sub Zero in the Mortal Combat video game.

They did a funny Got Milk commercial. It went something like this.

One of them pledges stood there saying:
My wife left me. My dog was run over by a speeding car. I got laid off at my job, and now I am hooked on drugs.

One of the other members came from behind him and said, "Got Milk?"
They also had a thing where whenever they were pushed in the stomach they had to say something funny. All I remember was the following.

Number 2 - He was half Chinese and Half African American. He had to step out and declare: "You killed my family and the whooooooole Shaolin Temple. Now you must die" He then had to give a Karate punch and say "Haii yaha!"

Number 4 - He had to turn to number 2 and say thef following from the Color Purple. "I loooooovesssss Harpo. Lord knows I do. But if beats me one more time I kill him dead." The way that he did this was so funny because he put so much emotion into it. I kept wanting to see him do it, because we would all laugh. The only thing was that the pledges were not allowed to laugh. Everytime Number 4 had to do this the Number 2 did everything in his power to not laugh, but he couldn't help it. He kept getting in trouble for laughing. One time Number 2 knew the Color Purpble quote was coming and he had a look on his face like, "Oh no not again."

They also had to imitate a Jerry Springer episode, which basically meant that after 1 minute of talking there was always a fight. Besides this I made them recite fraternity history while doing push ups, situps, aerobics, and while playing patti cake. (Trust me it was funny to me.) I also made them recite personal information about their line brothers, and they got in trouble when they didn't know who their brothers were or about their fellow line brother's family.

Before the end of the night they came up with a really good greeting for me. After they became members of Sigma I asked them what they thought about me that night. They all agreed that they wished I would go back to where I came from because they were tired of all of the stupid stuff I kept coming with. We all had a good laugh about it though. I felt good that they at least had a better experience than I did when I pledged.


Miriam said...

goodness gracious! Fraternities!!!

Ehav, I started a new blog and would like to invite you all to check it out!


Shavonne said...

I never pledged. I knew back then that being a part of a group wasn't my thing.

Ehav Ever said...

Miriam I took a quick look at your new site. I will look in more detail later. Kol HaKavod.

Shavone Yeah, pledging is definitely not for everyone. I am glad I joined Phi Beta Sigma because it took me out of a shell I had been in for a while. The thing I liked about PBS philosophy was that in theory the fraternity was supposed to be based on a concept of helping people. Culture for service and service for humanity. At some point in the future I am going to write a post about my experience in Sigma.

Tilu said...

LOL Frat. I actually know a Sigma from Praire View from around that same time, Deosick.