I spent the first four years of my life in a green bedroom. Green as in the color bilious. The fact that my nickname became Billius under circumstances not relating to the other spelling is purely coincidental. My Billius nickname was merely based on a pun. The term bilious is defined by Random House as:
bil•ious (bil' yes) adj.
1. Physiol., Pathol. pertaining to bile or to an excess secretion of bile.
2. Pathol. suffering from, caused by, or attended by trouble with the bile or liver.
3. peevish; irritable; cranky.
4. extremely unpleasant or distasteful: a long scarf of bright, bilious green. bil‚ious•ly, adv. bil‚ious•ness, n.
Syn.3. grumpy, crabby, cross, grouchy, dyspeptic.
Yes, bilious is a shade of green, but not a settling green. I once saw a drinking man lean out the window of a truck as he projectile vomited the most surreal color of what appeared to be a florescent yellowish-green into a Chicago gutter. I believe that color was indeed the true bilious.
Infants sleeping in their cribs should not be doing so in a bilious colored bedroom. This supposedly leads to instability - like throwing pies.
The first five years of a child's life are the most developmental in the child's personality and tastes. At twenty-two months a child's visual perception is form dominant. By four and a half years color has taken over until six years of age when it then shifts back to form dominance forevermore. By twenty years of age a child who is initially brought up in a green bedroom has almost no choice when it comes to the ludicrous release of inner tension that the throwing of a pie provides. I didn’t make up the rules, God did.
The Chefs and I all arrived at Michigan State University in the fall of 1977. This means that our developmental stages took place in the early 60's. There is a firm belief that we as a people are influenced for the rest of our lives by what is going on in our country and our communities when we first start school and begin to experience the world around us for the first time. This means a kid's surroundings when first assimilating to a peer group, usually during nursery school or kindergarten. By the time we had reached kindergarten in the fall of 1964 the cold war was coming on strong, Kennedy had recently been assassinated, the space race was underway, Ken Keasey had just driven the Merry Pranksters around America in the bus named “Further” on one big “Electric Kool-Aide Acid Test”, LSD was legal, and the British had just invaded. Grade school for us, taking place during the 1960's, was a pop-culture-visceral primer like no other. As kids we were to see on the vast choice of three television stations the funeral of an assassinated president, the Vietnam War - protests, causalities, and college riots. We were also able to see and laugh at the notion of millionaire hillbillies in Beverly Hills, a stumbling secret agent '86' that had a beautiful sidekick known only as '99', and an astronaut with a genie named Jeannie in a bottle.
On one occasion I can remember approaching the school bus stop at the end of my street one morning in 1968 when one of my friends greeted me by saying that another Kennedy had been shot.
"Oh", I shrugged. "I guess that's the way it is".
The Kennedy's, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Manson mass murders, come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Jed. These were the happenings that were emerging in the country while the Chefs and I were children.
Arriving at M.S.U. we were only able to catch a final glimpse of what was left of the 60's, as if the mist of that era was dissipating in the air with just a brief trace left to sniff. There were still a few head shops around East Lansing and some older hippies or "professional students" selling flowers or hanging out at the restaurant/bar Beggar's Banquet and talking about “the establishment” while drinking six ounce bottles of Guinness Stout served at room temperature and downing shots of Yukon Jack, "The Black Sheep Of Canadian Liquors". Yukon Jack can also be used in the making of the shooter called:
The Gorilla's Tit.
1 oz Kahlua
1oz Yukon Jack
1 oz Bacardi 151 proof rum.
After mixing each ingredient in order shown, light the 151 with a match. Blow out the flames, and sip drink quickly with a straw.
Be very careful lighting this drink.
Campus Corner's was the main party store along Grand River Avenue and sold beer, wine, T-shirts blacklite posters and drug paraphernalia. Stop in, buy a six-pack and a hash pipe. Pot would get you a five dollar fine. Across the street on campus, however, it could get you expelled.
The middle-boomers my age were in fact the true full born hippie generation. The hippies that emerged in the 60's were approximately ten years older than us and grew up in the conservative 50's when the seeds of rebellion were not yet germinating in the newly formed suburbs, but rather in the poetry-jazz enclaves of the Greenwich Village scene and in similar coffee houses in cities across the nation.
As Allen Ginsberg said in HOWL: "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the Negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix.”
The angry fix was now “The Richard Nixon memorial bowl of chili”, on the menu at Beggar’s, which included a ten cent draft of beer because the chili was incredibly spicy. Today that beer costs a buck. Such is progress.
My pre-determined college graduating class of 1981 were the first to be called "Yuppies" when released out into the working world. Until then, the Jerry Rubinesque conversion from radical to Wall Street hadn't happened yet, but the dissention of youth seemed to have disappeared, being replaced by the dreaded disco music, skin tight buttoned silk shirts and girls wearing either hemlines below their knees or else donning the "Annie Hall look." I felt that I had arrived at college ten years too late. Actually the timing was just right.
YOU ARE READING
A Pie In Every EyeNon-Fiction
A. W. Ellison, A. K. A. Billius, was a Chef. This is the story of The Chefs...Campus Pie Assassins, as they pied professors during lectures in humungous lecture halls at Michigan State University from 1979 to 1981. The story covers how The Chefs ca...