Mama told me not to come.
She said, “That ain’t the way to have fun, son.”
Randy Newman’s song about an innocent teenager’s reaction to his first wild party was recorded by Eric Burdon & the Animals in 1966, but it was the Three Dog Night version released in 1970 that shot to the top of the charts.
The teen describes “the craziest party there could ever be,” with liquor flowing freely in a darkened room filled with stale perfume and marijuana smoke, music blaring and his girlfriend “passed out on the floor.”
If only he’d listened to his mother’s sage advice, he wouldn’t have “seen so many things I ain’t never seen before.”
As crazy as the party was, however, there was one thing he didn’t see: someone launching a bottle rocket from his rear end. For that enlightening spectacle, he’d have had to be at the frat party held by the Marshall University chapter of Alpha Tau Omega in Huntington on the night of April 30, 2011.
Around 1:30 that night (dark and early May 1st morning), a student majoring in something other than physics attempted to perform that anatomically incorrect feat on the porch of the ATO house. It went off badly, however, startling a not-so-innocent bystander named Louis Helmburg III. Recoiling, the third Louis Helmburg fell off the porch and plummeted a whole three feet to the ground and got hurt.
We say “not so innocent,” because, after all, he was standing on the porch of a frat house at 1:30 in the morning watching a drunken frat guy try to butt-launch a bottle rocket.
Nevertheless, Helmsburg III has filed suit against the human rocket launcher, the ATO chapter at which the asinine event took place, the company that owns the frat house and now the university.
Did Mrs. Helmburg tell her son not to go to such a party? If she did, he wasn’t listening.