The College Years (1984-1988)


There are a couple of shots here of my dorm room at NIU. This is where I would sleep for the next 2 years. Kind of scary looking back at this. It’s even scarier to think someone else is calling this home right now. That was in Douglas Hall at Northern Illinois University. We were known as the ‘Animal Floor’- $2000 in floor damage in the first semester. They had water slides on the floor which caused major flooding (duh!) as well as all the tiles to pop up. Some guy took a dump in the hall, and we had a psycho janitor who went brezerk when his mop handle was broken in half. The stories go on from there, but you get the picture. My first roommate was Ron Bruno – a heavy smoker and a Rugby player.


1985 was labeled the year from hell by both Peet and me. I cannot possibly capture the horror of it all in writing. This was also the only year in all the ones documented on this site that was not documented in audio or video. I will attempt to outline some of the highlights here. Some of the lowest of the lowest are as follows:

– My parents’ divorce is final
– My childhood home is put up for sale – and sold
– My girlfriend breaks up with me, and my first date after that is with an alcoholic
– I move in with Peet for the summer in his studio apartment
– I work full time at Toys R Us for $120 a week
– Peet’s date tries to kill herself while we are out on a double date

One of the most difficult years of my life was 1985. To start the year off, the home I spent my teenage years in was put up for sale. To say I had great memories there is an understatement. My father designed that house and I grew up there between ages 12 and 19. A lot happens to a kid in that period and all of it was experienced within this house. A week before we moved out, we had a major bash. We had about 150 people there, most of whom wandered in off the street. Some trucker announced the party on his CB radio, so you can imagine what types of people showed up. This was the bash the Barn show was supposed to be. In May, the house was sold and that was that. My home was now officially in my college town of DeKalb, IL.

There a a photo somewhere in the slideshow of where I lived during the Summer of 1985. The picture doesn’t tell you much but it was hell on earth. This is also the place where my girlfriend broke up with me.


Girlfriend is a very strong word here, but I went out with a girl over the summer of 1985 who I met at the Riverwalk in Naperville, IL. She and I went back to Peet’s apartment to drink a little. Peet and a couple of others were there as well, so it was quite innocent. The next morning, I woke up on the couch that I slept on for the duration of the summer. I felt something lumpy in the sofa. I pulled it out and it was a baby bottle. Peet had no idea where it came from. Later on that day, the girl I met came over to pick it up. No questions asked! A few weeks later while we were out on a date, she pulled out the baby bottle in the car and started sucking on the nipple. It turns out it was filled with wine. We were on our way to a UB40 concert at Poplar Creek Music Theater. When we were sitting in our seats she pulled out a plastic ziplock baggie filled with wine and drank that. During the show she stood up on her seat and fell backwards into the seats behind us. She was totally passed out. I had to drag her out of the concert, back to the car, and back home. I never saw or spoke to her again.


Toward the end of that summer, Peet and I went on a double date. We went down to Joliet where one of the girls lived. In the middle of a normal conversation, Peet’s date excused herself to go to the bathroom. After a few minutes we wondered what was taking her so long. It turns out she locked herself in the bathroom and slit her wrist. We spent the next several hours helping her get a grip. She didn’t do a “very good job” since she didn’t cut parallel to the vein, but it shook us up a bit. I ended up taking off with my date while leaving Peet in Joliet to keep an eye on his date. She eventually threw Peet out of her house and he ended up sleeping at the neighbor’s house. The neighbor just happened to have a son who was being released from jail THAT NIGHT and he was on his way home. So where are they now?? Rumor has it that Peet’s date ended up marrying her psychiatrist and the son who was released from jail was hit by a truck and was killed a year or two later.


I completed my second year of college at NIU. It was also in this year that I realized I did not want to go into radio as a career, so I changed my major to Marketing. However, prior to this decision I was given a radio show at the NIU station. The timeslot was 6-9am on Sunday mornings (Who in college is up listening to the radio at that time??). I lasted two weeks at that before quitting altogether. I was not allowed to do a talk show as I had done in high school. It turns out Fred Moore was much more tolerant. I was forced to follow a progressive rock format and to play bands that I had never heard of. Dave continued to do shows on the station for the duration of his college career. Every now and then, I would sneak in the studio to do a 2-minute bit with him just for snicks.

This was the summer of telemarketing jobs. After one hour of rejections, I attempted to quit my job at World Book Encyclopedia. Instead they convinced me to stay on in their ‘verification’ department. This is where I would lose someone ELSE’s sales because I would have to call the customers yet another time to make sure they really bought from us. The customers would get so pissed at us that they would just pull their order.

That summer, I got a hold of a video camera and wanted to do a documentary of what I did after high school. Realizing only 2 years had passed and I accomplished very little, I went back to my old stomping grounds and did some shots there. I went back to the radio station and saw Fred Moore, General Manager for the station. He proudly showed me a wall display that listed his “Seven Commandments”, rules that were created as a result of the Smorg show we did. (No talking 2-on-mic, no belching on the air, etc.). After we left, Fred used samples of our show in his future radio classes. (Maybe to teach what not to do on the air??)  This was perhaps our biggest compliment from Mr. Moore.

We were still sporting the Miami Vice image of the mid-80’s. There is a shot of us in this slideshow where we made the first of many homemade videos to come. “The Boys of Summer” was shot in my father’s downtown Chicago apartment, where I stayed during the summer of 1986. In another shot you will see me with Jerry in the Studio,. We went to one of those studios in the mall where you pick a song out of something like 2000 choices. It was an early version of karaoke, but you got to walk away with a tape of yourself singing over your choice of song. The one we did was ‘Born in the U.S.A.’

THE “FALL” OF 1986

Besides rooming with Dave Jackson during my junior year at NIU, I also roomed with Larry Flachmeyer, an old roommate of Peet’s.  After a bad breakup with his Baptist girlfriend, presumably because her church did not approve of him, he became a bit disconnected. One fall evening, he attempted to climb our 6-story apartment building. He made it up to the 4th floor when he slipped and fell to the ground, shattering his pelvis in multiple sections. I always thought he had a name of a super hero (Flash Meyer!!) I can joke about this now because he lived. After initially being brought to a local hospital he was eventually flown by helicopter to a Rockford, IL hospital where is was laid up for 6-weeks.

NOTE TO EDITOR: There are several things wrong with this newspaper article.  First, Larry did not fall from the 3rd floor – he fell from the 4th floor.  This is major oversight as it undermines Larry’s effort that evening.  Second of all, I don’t know what “sources” they are talking about, but he did not get locked out of his room.  We were all at home that night – he just suddenly left the apartment and began his climbing expedition. We were in the living room when we heard a knock at my bedroom window. That is when we looked down and saw him on the concrete with glass all around him. What do you expect from shoddy reporting from a college newspaper?


A lot happens over the course of this 2-year period. Dave and I go our separate ways after living together for a year and nearly killing each other over stupid things like eating cereal out of a gravy boat. Larry gets weirder after his hospital release and we have a falling out.

Rhythm of the Heat Video:

One Saturday night in the summer of 1987, we decided to make some music videos. This one was done by converting our living room into an African tribal scene to create a video off a Peter Gabriel song. We had a head start by having all wicker furniture to begin with. Note Dave “smoking a wicker bong” in the background.  The bright light is our sad attempt at making a fake campfire.  Larry was trying to sleep in the other room when this was going on, and he came out and threatened to call the cops on us if we didn’t stop.

The Lonely Guy in the Woods Bit:

After being simultaneously dumped by our respective girlfriends, Larry, Dave, and I did little else but hang around each other way too often instead of trying to date again. We started becoming pathetic lonely guys. We did things like dress up in P-coats and dark sunglasses and ride the dorm elevators on Saturday nights and just stare at girls coming on the elevator. We would also walk through the Wendy’s drive-up during a January blizzard and order Frostys. We were extremely pathetic.

The picture of Steve Martin and Charles Grodin in 1983’s “The Lonely Guy” is included here to show our inspiration for the Lonely Guy bit. Our story went something like this – After being kicked out of his apartment by his girlfriend, Lonely Guy #1 (Chris) brings all of his things to the park where he meets Lonely Guy #2 (Dave) and they decide to room together.

Dave, Larry and I rented the original movie a total of 26 times over the course of the semester. One day Larry was almost suicidal when he went to rent it and it was already checked out. He cheered up when he got back to the apartment and saw that I had already gotten it for the weekend.

Another “lonely guy” thing we used to do was call the pay phone across the street from our apartment. We already had the phone number for the pay phone. We would wait for any girl to go up to to the store and we would start ringing the phone. When she would answer we would say something like, “nice red coat you have on”. This really freaked them out and gave us something to do on Friday nights.

It was during this period that Jerry and I started to become real friends. This friendship was a nice transition from what was going on with me, Dave, and Larry. Larry began distancing himself from everyone. Dave and I started to drift. Blame it on living together. This can sometimes be a formula for disaster. We were better off working together creatively in the studio than sharing dishware and laundry soap. It started to heat up after Larry washed Dave’s underwear with a pink tie-dyed shirt. Dave went through the rest of the semester with pink undies.

Lonely Guys in the Park

Jerry Demonstrates Fireworks


By the beginning of 1988, I had reached my breaking point. With only 4 more classes to complete before graduating, I realized I needed a new start away from Larry (and quite frankly, DeKalb). Dave and I had already stopped talking by this point. So Larry and I found a third new roommate to take Dave’s place. The new roommate was a bit psychotic in that he slept with a knife at night after going to sleep watching “A Clockwork Orange”. He would wake up screaming in the middle of the night on a fairly regular basis.

In January 1988 I got my appendix out.  By May, I had my ticket out of that town after securing my diploma. Jerry and I started hanging out more and more by this point. We ended up signing a lease together. By the fall of 1988, I was living in Woodridge, IL., a mile away from my old house. I also got my first real job in Chicago at a marketing research company, Information Resources, Inc. (IRI).  I was employed there for the next 15 years.

Jerry Malauskas, Roommate