Walter Karpowich and the Water Pistol

Walter Karpowich and the Water Pistol. 

While in college at Rutgers, I joined AXP (Alpha Chi Rho) fraternity as a Sophomore. Most fraternities in those days had specific means to assure that the pledges of the house learn about the fraternity and its members. Some calisthenics were used as reinforcement, and I could do 50 push-ups with no problem before the pledge period was over. There was also some psychological hazing, but never harmful or malicious. 

Walter Karpowich was old school in the way he approached pledges, requiring complete obedience and respect. He was also a member of the Air Force ROTC leadership which contributed to his sense of the order of things. He was not mean or sadistic, but we learned to have our answers ready for him or avoid him if possible. 

One day, he had about eight of us lined up on a large heating grate at the bottom of our three story staircase. They could dump water from the third floor down on us, but this day, he had us at attention and he was marching back and forth asking questions and when we got it wrong, squirting us with a water pistol. Fairly harmless, but he was never satisfied with any answer given, so we were quickly quite wet. I was on the far right hand end of the line near the kitchen door and when Walter got to the other end of the line, another brother handed me a loaded water pistol of my own. You see, the brothers also thought that Walter could be a bit officious and they also liked to see if pledges had any guts at all.

I quickly put it behind my back in my right hand. When he got to my end, he saw that I must have something behind my back and told me to give him whatever it was I had behind my back. You guessed it, I did, much to the amusement of all the other brothers and any pledge who could smile or snicker without getting caught. 

Walter asked me to show up at his room that night at 7:00 PM for further "training".  Since his roommates were similar in their outlook toward pledges, I figured I was in for a long night of exercise and steeled myself. 

He and his two roommates had me polish their shoes first and then run in place for about 20 minutes. At about 8, Walter had me stop, stand to attention and asked me, if I had it to do over again, what would I do. I replied, "I'd try to get a few more shots in".

He and his roommates all started to laugh and told me to get lost. 

Walter and I were friends for the rest of the year!

Davdan @ 2008-2018