After reading all the stories I felt compelled to tell you about the pranks I pulled while at Bates. The most notorious incident was undoubtedly the time in mid-March 1990 when i filled the Bill's front porch with over 3 feet of hot water, creating an outdoor hottub in the midst of a Maine snowstorm. The Bates Student ran a picture of everyone frolicking in the porch/tub in the March 30, 1990 issue on page 2. The idea had been lurking in my head for some time - I knew that if I could build a flat wooden 'gate' to close off the part of the porch where the steps lead down, that it would work. Once I had a strong gate in place and the front doors of the Bill were closed, I could drop in a heavy tarp and make the porch a watertight pool!!!
I canvassed the dorm (as was the tradition in those days of door-to-door keg solicitations) asking people for $2 to make an outdoor hottub in the porch. People were not very forthcoming. I got about $7. I set off for Hechinger's where I purchased five sixteen-foot 2x4s, several sheets of plywood, a 100 foot garden hose and a large sheet of 'heavy grade' plastic sheeting. The cost of the entire venture came to $65.
I returned to the front lawn of the Bill, where i laid the 16-foot 2x4s next to each other and screwed sheets of plywood to them, creating a 16-foot, reinforced plywood gate. The gate was propped inside the walls of the porch, blocking the steps and closing the entrance to the Bill. Then it began to snow.
I laid the heavy plastic sheeting into this pool form. People were getting interested by now - and also kinda ornery about having to enter and exit the building via the fire escape.
Anyway, I cut the hose into two sections, jammed one end of each piece into a shower head in the bathroom (1st floor) and ran them out the window and into the porch/tub. I turned on the hot water, and began filling the porch at about 1 p.m.
People SWARMED to the hottub. At one point we had to ask people to leave because their was so little room to move. . . . at least 100 people eventually joined the pool party.
Unfortunately, 'heavy' guage plastic isn't as strong as one might think. I had planned for the contingency that the plastic might leak, assuming that if water escaped, it would follow the path of least resistance, past the wooden gate and down the front steps, draining innocuously onto the Bill's front lawn. Unfortunately, I never put a level down on the porch. That's right, the Bill's porch slopes BACK INTO THE BUILDING. Now they tell me.
About 4:30 p.m., I noticed that the water level wasn't rising anymore (keep in mind we're still running two hoses continuously) and i went out front to see the water I expected to be cascading down the steps. There was none. Little bells were beginning to ring in Carson's head - ' WHERE THE HELL IS THE WATER GOING?'
At this point I got really scared and ran inside. Since the front doors where squashed shut with about 10,000 gallons of water against them, no one had even walked through that little foyer that leads up into the Bill and also DOWN INTO THE BASEMENT. You can guess which way the water went.
I immediately pulled the gate, which emptied the hottub in one big RUSHHHHH onto the front lawn of the Bill. But the damage, and I mean DAMAGE, had been done. In the basement, soaked ceiling tiles were crumbling and dropping everywhere, and the floor was under about 2 inches of water.
The deans had me in for a small talk. I remember they were all there, but the angriest one was Dan Lelande, who asked 'What were you thinking closing off the main access to a dorm with over 80 people in it? Don't you realize the fire hazard?' I told Dan that all that water was my insurance against fire and he almost blew. Anyway, the deans made me cut up my gate, and promise never to erect another one - but I never paid for the damage!!!